Boston priest assures gay Catholics "you are welcome here…"

Controversy has been swirling around a Boston parish that was planning to host a mass tied to Gay Pride Month.

This weekend, the pastor spoke out — and alluded to the controversy — during his homily:

Sunday Mass at St. Cecilia’s Church in the Back Bay brought the first standing ovation any parishioner could remember.

During the first Mass since the Archdiocese of Boston canceled one planned for next weekend in support of St. Cecilia’s gay and lesbian churchgoers, the Rev. John J. Unni preached a fiery message of unconditional love and what he called “acceptance of all.’’

“You are welcome here, gay or straight, rich or poor, young or old, black or white,’’ Unni said as he paced up and down the center aisle. “Here, you all can say, ‘I can worship the God who made me as I am.’ ’’

“This parish is a great example of people who are civil and exhibiting a real fellowship,’’ said Terrence C. Donilon, a spokesman for the archdiocese, in a phone interview yesterday. “But that doesn’t mean we can be put in a position where we look like we’re endorsing Gay Pride activities.’’

Unni, who has been at St. Cecilia’s for seven years, said the Mass has been postponed indefinitely. He said he will discuss the goals of the “All Are Welcome’’ Mass with the parish and address fears about the service or recent backlash.

Read more.

"I think I would have been happier had the CDF handled the nuns the way ..."

Vatican challenges “interpretation” of cardinal’s remarks ..."
"Blaming "Islamics" for this is like blaming the Pope for the Holocaust Denial of Hutton ..."

One killed, 44 injured in Catholic ..."
"It smacks to me of hyper-sensitivity, a veiled spiritual and intellectual pride, with regards to ..."

Pope Francis: “A Christian who complains, ..."
"Oh, no, we never change our mind, and we always agree, even on points of ..."

Vatican challenges “interpretation” of cardinal’s remarks ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment

75 responses to “Boston priest assures gay Catholics "you are welcome here…"”

  1. Wow another priest of integrity who is feeling the heat for speaking the truth. There is nothing in his welcome that denies Catholic teaching. God bless Fr Unni!

  2. What Deacon Den said. I might add that the Holy Spirit of Wisdom blows where she will, the fire of the Holy Spirit burns where it will. Sometimes things are destroyed, but then new life springs up.

    Each human person should be treated with the dignity that God has intended for each of us.

  3. To qoute G.K. Chesterton,

    “We do not really want a religion that is right where we are right. What we want is a religion that is right where we are wrong.”

    What I really don’t want is for people to accept me for who I am. What I would rather have, is a religion that teaches me to be better. I can honestly tell you that I know well who I am, and I’m not one bit impressed with it. Sorry, but taking pride in sin just doesn’t float my boat. If we don’t recognize that we are all sinners, we are not going to recognize Christ. I’m sorry, but I will not subscribe to the interpretation that homosexuality is “celebrating diversity”.

    I think it’s ignorant to say that homosexuality is diversity, when it’s actually damaging to the Church. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck then it must be a duck. As Christians we are we are called by out by our baptism and confirmation to make moral judgements~! It is a false charity to not do so. Living in a ‘monogomous’ but sinful homosexual relationship is still an intrinsic evil and mortally sinful! Does not anyone care to speak the truth in love?

    What happened to friendship? Why is sexual expression so touted, legalized, and promoted–when it is not blessed by the marriage of one man and one woman as is God’s plan?

    Are not souls at stake?

  4. The problem is that many people seem to think if you say to homosexuals “You’re welcome here,” it is the same as if you said, “Enjoy gay sex with my blessing.” They seem to think that every welcome to homosexuals must begin with,”Repent, you sinners.”

  5. One problem is, of course, that many homosexuals do engage in illicit sex, and they are the only group whose identity is based on sexuality. (Unlike racial or ethnic minorities.) So some caution is needed to avoid giving the impression that we are condoning immoral behavior.

  6. Somehow we all need to accept 1.) that God loves homosexuals as much and as unconditionally as he loves anybody else; 2.) that sinners of all kinds belong in church; 3.) that homosexual conduct is not some kind of super-sin which is worse than anything else (except maybe voting for a pro-abortion politician) and must be abandoned before one is welcome in church (unlike other sins which one may struggle with from within the community), 4.) that God is patient and sometimes draws people slowly with his grace, 5.) that we must strive to be channels of God’s love and grace, and woe betide us if anything we say or do ever drives away someone God was drawing step by faltering step to himself, 6.) that everybody knows the Church’s moral teaching on homosexuality, so it is not necessary to beat them over the head with it every chance we get, and 7.) that what will be more likely to help is a gentle presentation of the reasons for the teaching — such as John Paul II’s Theology of the Body — on occasion.

  7. So Deacon Greg, I had to make three comments to post what would have been only one if the spam filter hadn’t found it to be “spammy.” It wouldn’t even let me post #’s 4 and 5 as a single comment. Can you find out what’s the matter? Is it that I use compound and complex sentences with parentheses and the like? Having comments labelled “spammy” is pretty irritating.

    [I asked my editor about that, and it may be that the software has an aversion to “sex.” Seriously. She’s encountered that problem herself and says that comments that use that word, or a variation of it, cause problems for some reason. Dcn. G.]

  8. romancrusader — Yes souls are at stake. Therefore we must evangelize. We do not evangelize by presenting a hostile face. We do it by embodying the saving love of God, drawing people into communion with us and giving the Holy Spirit time to work on their hearts. Sometimes we have to “eat and drink with sinners.”

  9. Planning to host a mass “tied to Gay Pride Month” seems to be much more than saying “All are Welcome”. It seems to go well beyond “welcoming all” to implying acceptance.
    All are sinners and all are welcome at any Eucharistic liturgy. That doesn’t mean that we condone sin.

  10. Naturgesetz, you said: “One problem is, of course, that many homosexuals do engage in illicit sex…”

    Umm…Many heterosexuals also engage in illicit sex. Seriously.

  11. Naturgesetz, you also said: “…they are the only group whose identity is based on sexuality.” I know several individuals who are gay and lesbians, and they actually identify themselves many different ways — e.g., as Irishmen, Jewish, gardeners, mothers, fathers, teachers, accountants, etc. Yes, in the context of sexual diversity, it’s the LGBTQ label that ends up being applied — especially by those who would discriminate against members of that broad, diverse community. The discrimination is based on the fact that they are gay, not because they are gardeners, etc. So maybe that’s why folks in that community would like to see and hear that they are welcomed in the church, at Christ’s banquet?

    Also, for what it’s worth, I’ve heard many straight folks say things such as, “I’m a red-blooded American male [meaning heterosexual, one assumes], and I always love redheads [or blondes, or whatever].” In other words, gays aren’t the only people who see their sexual orientation as an essential part of who they are.

  12. “You are welcome here, gay or straight, rich or poor, young or old, black or white,’’ Unni said as he paced up and down the center aisle. “Here, you all can say, ‘I can worship the God who made me as I am.’ ’’

    I cetrtainly support that. We are all sinners.

    And the Archdiocese was quite right to put it’s foot down to make sure we are not supporting gay sex.

    Otherwise I want a pre-marital sex pride month or a contraceptive sex pride month – with a endorsing homily of course.

  13. Steve — I’m not sure whether we really disagree here. My three successive posts were intended to be a single one.

    We don’t have announcements that “St. Romuald’s Parish welcomes heterosexuals,” or “Accountant Pride” Masses. But that is because there is never a question that they are welcome. We don’t have “Adulterer Pride” Masses either, because that would explicitly condone sinful behavior, whereas with “Gay Pride,” there is not an explicit endorsement of sexual behavior.

    What really annoys me is that there are lots of people who are convinced that the Catholic Church hates gays. Somehow, we’ve got to overcome that false image if we are going to evangelize, and if we want to have any hope of holding on to our teenagers who are in danger of being lost to the hedonists.

  14. I agree that cancelling a Mass tied to Gay Pride was the correct move. That is not a movement that promotes the Christian ideal of sexuality and would definitely send the wrong message to those looking for validation of the lifestyle. What the Church wants to validate is that the orientation, separate from the behavior, is not sinful and no one should experience discrimination based on orientation alone.

    I have to suspect an agenda on the part of the organizers to have come up with the association in the first place.

  15. One line in Father Unni’s comments is particularly erroneous in Boston and Mass. He said “We are being called to do not what is easy, but what is holy.”
    Well, it IS holy to uphold Christian moral teachings. And it IS unholy to give people the impression that any kind of sinful acts are OK if you fabricate an excuse or are part of a political movement.
    As for what is easy—certainly not upholding traditional moral values in Massachusetts. The state Supreme Court is controlled by virtual Gay activists, the people’s right to vote on many moral issues-including Gay marriage- has been crushed, the educational establishment trashes traditional moral values and attacks parents who don’t want to go along with the new morality (while keeping some of what they are doing secret from parents). In the meanwhile Catholic Charities has been driven from being able to do traditional adoptions because it can’t morally become party to adoptions by Gay partners.
    Considering all this, and knowing how the media would handle the story, it took courage for the archdiocese to take action.

  16. Naturgesetz, thanks for your very civil response. I guess we do agree on some things; we have some common ground.

    And I get what you’re saying about how the Catholic church does not really “hate” gays, as some claim. However, I do think the church has slid backwards when it comes to dealing with (e.g., providing pastoral care for) and welcoming people of different orientations. When I was in college twenty-five years ago, I was proud that my church–unlike some of the fundamentalist groups on campus–did not provide a blanket condemnation for people who are gay. The teaching at that time was that sexual activity outside of marriage (no matter the gender of one’s partner) was sinful. One’s sexual orientation was, in and of itself, considered morally neutral. People were viewed as potentially holy regardless of their orientation. (Think of Mychal Judge, the NYFD chaplain who went into the towers to minister to first responders on 9/11 and consequently lost his life. That certainly seems evidence of a saintly life. He happened to be gay.)

  17. [Sorry…I hate this crazy spam-filter!]

    In more recent years, however, conservative elements within the church (including the Curia) have asserted that someone with a homosexual orientation is by their very nature “disordered.” That is hardly welcoming language. It is, in fact, nearly dehumanizing language. Imagine a heterosexual being told that he or she is “disordered” based simply on a sexual orientation that seemed innate. How many of those folks would come back Sunday after Sunday when the hierarchy of the church talks that way?

    And yet the hierarchy has gone so far as to try to purge seminaries of priesthood candidates who are chaste yet are of a homosexual orientation — and that action has been taken under the guise of dealing with the problem of pedophilia and the cover-up of pedophilia by bishops. Talk about an insult that the church has hurled at gays and lesbians who are chaste, devout, and unwilling to reject the persons God created them to be.

  18. Steve,

    You need to do some research in the natural law. Homosexuallity is disorderd not because some “conservative element” decided that it was, but because that’s what it is in the natural law. It is closed to procreation.

    Otherwise the rules are the same for all unmarried persons, whether gay or straight. Outside of lawful marriage, i.e., marriage between a man and a woman, you don’t do it.

    And, looked at another way, having special welcomes and special Masses for the gay is singling them out for special treatment and therefore is discriminatory to the single faithful straight person.

  19. I wonder if I would have been “welcomed” with the same effusiveness had I shown up to that mass with a “Bush-Cheney” t-shirt.

  20. The Church teaching that homosexuality is “disordered” is self evidently demonstrated by the almost obsessive need for the gays to be acknowledged for their orientation. Standing in direct contradiction to this mindset is the gospel message calling us to lose ourselves for the sake of the Kingdom.



    In 1986, Cardinal Ratzinger released the above instruction which spells out the Church’s loving obligation to homosexual persons, and the pitfalls to be avoided in that outreach.

    I tried to post some excerpts, but they were deemed too spammy.

  22. I think Mr. Flapatap here raises an interesting point. Catholics of a certain political orientation love congratulating themselves on their prophetic boldness in standing up for individuals, groups, or causes that are already very popular with the members of the parishes they attend. Nothing wrong in expressing support for a worthy cause, but it hardly requires courage to profess your agreement with everyone who is likely to hear you. What really requires courage is standing up for a position endorsed by the Church that makes fellow parishioners and other Catholic friends uncomfortable. I seldom see that happen, even from the pulpit.

  23. Steve, the teaching has not changed since you were in college 25 years ago. The word disordered in not new. The Church applies it to straight people as well: masturbation, anal sex and oral sex (to climax) are all intinsically disordered.

  24. Steve said:

    “In more recent years, however, conservative elements within the church (including the Curia) have asserted that someone with a homosexual orientation is by their very nature “disordered.”

    I think what you may be referring to is an attempt to prevent men from entering the seminary who ‘identify’ as gay, meaning they have certain views about the lifestyle or culture being normal. That is as it should be for a Catholic priest.

    The reality is that homosexuality IS disordered. So is alcoholism, yet it is believed that many people are born with a predisposition to it. Yet you don’t see alcoholics out there embracing it and organizing and trying to get others to celebrate their disorder and view it as ‘normal’. Most of them are well aware their behavior is abnormal and destructive even though they may love it too much to give it up.

  25. Why is God blamed for disordered attractions?
    God made all people true. But, God does not “make” one an alcoholic, mentally handicapped, a gambling addict, attention deficit, or homosexual, etc.
    All illnesses and disorders are effects of the fallenness of humanity as a whole. God tolerates these things because struggling with them we can grow in holiness.

    There is a big problem when clergy do not uphold what the Holy Spirit taught through the Church 2000, 1000, 500, etc. years ago.

    This is America, so teach what you like! But do not blaspheme the Holy Spirit with your own fantasies. And do not pretend your Catholic when you attack the perennial doctrine and morals of the Church.

  26. Well, since I don’t want to be filtered out I won’t use the “s” word, but one line in Kenny R’s post (#20) caught my eye: “the almost obsessive need for the gays to be acknowledged for their orientation.”

    I would suggest that the Church and any community within the Church is duty bound to welcome and acknowledge one and all *in spite of* any orientation they might have. What else does the story of Mary Magdalene teach us? Jesus came to seek the outcasts, and included in his chosen 12 apostles one of the most outcast in that society: a tax collector, Matthew.

    But Kenny R is also correct to point out that the gospel message calls us to lose ourselves for the sake of the Kingdom.

    Hate the sin, but love the sinner. What’s so hard to understand about that – and yet we so often fail to do it? But we also need to remember Jesus’ admonishment to the women caught in adultery (John 8) to “go and sin no more.”

    God bless.

  27. My goodness – overcome by technology. Putting the John 8 reference in parentheses makes a simley face.

    Who knew?


    God bless.

  28. Momor, given the way you’ve described the filtering process that seminaries have been pressured to use, a candidate who is gay can do one of two things if he wishes to stay (because, that is, he believes strongly that he has a vocation from God to be a priest): He can lie, or he can practice denial: “No, I’m not gay; I just struggle with same-sex attraction, that’s all.”

    Neither of those options is a healthy one, I’d say. Being gay or being straight are not sinful states of being. Being unfaithful to one’s vows within one’s state of life — being unchaste — is a different story.

    The idea that one should not self-identify one’s sexual orientation honestly during seminary formation is troublesome. And yes, I do think a witch-hunt mentality is at work here, and it’s likely to lead to less honesty in the priesthood, not more. If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the last decade or two, is it not that we need priests and bishops to be honest, not ready to rationalize away or cover up the truth? (Being gay is not a truth one should need to be ashamed of, no more so than one’s self-knowledge that one happens to be straight.)

  29. Steve,
    that’s not the truth. Who r u to tell Rome how to do it’s job? You don’t even know what a witch hunt is.

  30. Steve # 16 & 17 — There is a subtle difference between what you wrote and what the Vatican said in 1986 and in the Catechism. The actual documents of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1975 (quoted in the Catechism of the Catholic Church) and in 1986 speak of the “inclination” and the “acts” as disordered.

    You paraphrase the teaching as saying “that someone with a homosexual orientation is by their very nature ‘disordered.'”

    The difference is that you are talking about the person, whereas the Vatican is talking about “acts” and the “inclination” to engage in them.

  31. Steve — continuing my comment:

    The orientation may seem innate. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. But even granting that it is, I don’t think that we can insist, knowing all we do about genetically transmitted conditions, that there can never be a disorder that is innate — that everything innate is perfect.

    I understand how just hearing the word — even applied only to acts and inclinations, not to the full person — can give rise to a defensive reaction. This is an area where we have to avoid getting defensive on our part as well. We need to be calm and patient as we try to point out that the word is an attempt to be philosophically precise and objective, without any emotional overtones when we use it.

    What it comes down to is that if it is acceptable for us to say “that sexual activity outside of marriage (no matter the gender of one’s partner) was sinful. One’s sexual orientation [is], in and of itself, considered morally neutral,” — which is still the official position — then there must be some way of saying why the activity is sinful. And that is what these statements try to do, IMO.

  32. Steve,
    There is another option for the homosexual man who feels he has a vocation: he can admit to the Truth – that he suffers from a disordered sexuality that has no chaste physical expression. I don’t think a man with this moral compass would be denied entrance to the seminary if it was discerned that he had a priestly vocation.

  33. Homosexuality is not just about sex and sexual attraction. Sometimes it is but for many it is also about loving another human being. I have read so many touching stories about homosexual men lovingly ministering to their partners who are dying from HIV – I could never call a love like that disordered.

  34. Fran,

    I think calling the Holy Spirit “she” is intrinsically disordered. When has God ever self-identified as a female? Seriously. I think it was CS Lewis who wrote that in relation to God WE are all female.

  35. Barbara Peters.
    You have hit on a key point. The separation of love and sex. For too many people an inability to practice gay sex is interpreted as an inability to experience love. It is anything but. One need only think of the profound love in relationships that are not defined as sexual or in relationships that are no longer sexual due to life circumstance.

  36. Thanks Chris, perhaps you are not familiar with Ἁγία Σοφία, or Hagia Sophia, aka Holy Wisdom? Or perhaps the ruach, or breath of God as is explained here. Ruach (רוח הקודש) is a feminine word in Hebrew, and a name for God.

    I can keep going but I think you will see that while you may disagree, what I say is not incorrect and certainly not intrinsically disordered.

    Thank you for your charity and kindness, always of God. Peace and good to you Chris.

  37. “What else does the story of Mary Magdalene teach us? ”

    What does the “story”of Mary Magdalene have to do with anything in this discussion?

  38. Being gay is not a choice. This is how some people are wired. The American Psychological Association has reviewed hundreds of studies. People cannot change their sexual orientation. And there is mounting scientific evidence that being gay is biological. Gay men and straight women have brains that are similar using brain scans. There are countless sins in the Bible. The few verses that refer to sexual activity between men refer to rape, not romantic love. Setting that aside, the Catholic Church has done a remarkable job of looking the other way when it’s parishioners use birth control, commit adultery and get divorced. Not to mention the shining continual sin of covering up pedophiles. Recent polls show that over 60% of Catholics agree with same sex marriage. The Church itself is stubbornly behind the times and out of touch with scientific facts as well as the true meaning of love. The Catholic Church spends far too much time and money agonizing over same sex marriage when it harms absolutely no one. Take care of your own sins and your own soul.

  39. What else does the “story” of Mary Magdalene teach us?

    That what is in our past (which includes both our lifestyle and our state of life) is not what defines who we are.

    Gay, straight, holy person, robber, possessed by demons [ John 20, Mark 16:9 ] or rapist, we are all God’s creations.

    Sexual preference does not define who we are to God, although it may to humans.

    God meets us where we are, with all the baggage we carry with us, and offers to all the same opportunity to change and to be saved.

    My kind of “story”.

    God bless

  40. Interesting reading the comments above. IMO, God didn’t make mistakes. Therefore how can being born homosexual be considered “disordered”? It is not, IMO, a “chosen lifestyle”. Would a person choose to be condemned for how they live by choosing to be homosexual? I wouldn’t think so. The friends I have knew from a young age that they were attracted to a person of the same gender. Both couples I know are just like any other married couple. The physical side of love is just part of a loving relationship, not the whole why to express love. To condemn that is telling someone to not fully love the other person.

    Someone above said that since there is no possiblilty of procreation with same gender coupleing, it is “disordered”. Why should every act of love have to have the chance for a pregnancy? IMO—-making love is not just for making babies. It is also for pleasure between 2 consenting adults.

    All should be welcomed in a house of God, no matter who they happen to love.

  41. Fran, A feminine aspect of God, but the God-as-she is the rallying cry of too many rad/lib/fem dissenters. The Holy Spirit is not a “she” as we have females. The Father and the Son are Father and Son.

  42. I’ve know young men that knew they were gay from a very young age. I think it’s sad that because of that, so many are depressed and some young men will even commit suicide than tell their parents. It isn’t like they want to be different, they just are. Nowadays it’s a little better, hopefully less will hide in a marriage they shouldn’t be in or make up reasons for not getting married.

    I understand why same-sex marriage is not something the church can ever condone, but it’s hard to tell someone who loves their partner they can’t have the love, hugs, closeness, hetrosexuals have. Civil marriage doesn’t bother me but I can see why the Catholic church has it’s stand.

    I always said, since my teens, if I had 3 questions to ask Jesus or a saint, one would be why gay men and women have always existed if it is “disordered”. They aren’t evil, just different. So many hurt feelings, sadness, anger, insults, it’s wrong. Religion is a reason many use for hate crimes, another sorry result.

  43. To me, there is a simple solution.

    Cardinal O’Malley shows up for Sunday Mass at the parish with a Catechism of the Catholic Church. He then reads the pertinent paragraphs of the CCC regarding homosexuality and then offers Fr. Unni the opportunity to publicly assent to each paragraph. Since the pastor publicly made a profession that he fully accepted the teachings of the Magisterium at his installation as pastor, this should go smoothly. If, on the contrary, the priest tries to weasel out, then fire him immediately.

    This way outreach can continue to LGBT folks, but nobody is under the illusion that the Catholic Church is going to modify Her beliefs on the matter.

  44. Jude,
    If you think that the Catholic Church’s teachings on homosexuality will change it will never change! By the way, the sexual abuse scandal involved the abuse of post pubescent males THAT IS NOT PEDOPHILIA! IT WAS MOSTLY HOMOSEXUAL PREDATORS PREYING ON YOUNG BOYS — THE SORT OF THING THAT NAMBLA FAVORS. Get your facts straight. Your ignorance is showing.

    Pedophilia is actually higher among homosexuals as the Christian Research Journal points out.

    There’s no gay gene!

  45. pagansister — #40 “IMO, God didn’t make mistakes. Therefore how can being born homosexual be considered ‘disordered’?”
    Are you prepared to say that because God makes no mistakes, any condition that a person is born with is good, that nothing that one inherits, such as hemophilia, is a disorder? If one inherits a tendency to alcoholism, it would be denying God’s goodness to fight it?

    If we were in heaven, it might make sense to say that every person is born perfect in every way. But in this imperfect world “born this way” does not prove “good.”

    The unchosen homosexual orientation does not compel sexual activity.

  46. A person is not considered disordered, but a person’s behavior can be disordered. No one is created evil and the Church does not claim that gay men and women are evil. They are not on a fast track to hell. Gay sex is no more sinful than straight sex between unmarried opposite sex couples, masturbation, or viewing pornography. Like all sexual sins it is easily forgiven in the confessional.

  47. God Jesus Holy Spirit Bible Saints
    Defines a person who is a man laying with man as being wrong!
    Defining man as both men and women.
    If they are not practicing their sexual preference and stand strong against failing of the flesh!
    Then they can be welcomed to mass and be a part of it!
    If not then they need to see the wrong in what they do before they can be part of the mass! We have to pray for them to find the fire of the Holy Spirit to see the truth about their choice!
    This priest opens the door to this type of behavior then why not open the doors to those who like children and animals!
    Isn’t that great!
    The point is that you do love and care for the poor, weak, down and out.
    Teach them how to live a God filled life!
    We all fail in one way or another but we choose to walk our journey of faith and correct those sins.
    Catholic Faith does not include this type of action by this priest!
    He’s step over the line and the question is should he remain a priest?

    The title to this article indicate that someone can be gay and be catholic! The truth is they can’t be catholic if they are gay!

  48. Rick said:
    Gay sex is no more sinful than straight sex between unmarried opposite sex couples, masturbation, or viewing pornography.

    I’m not sure about that. Not all sexual sins carry the same weight. For example, the catechism considers gay sex “intrinsically disordered” and acts of “depravity.” It doesn’t say that about sex between men and women who are unmarried, or about pornography.

    Dcn. G.

  49. The act is intrinisically disordered and using pornography and masturbation are both instrinically disordered.

    While the gay sex is intrinsically disordered, the relative guilt of the activity is weighed in the same way as all sin is weighed in the confessional: is it done freely, with full consent, and clearly knowing it is wrong? Theoretically, it is possible for straight sex between an unmarried couple to be more sinful than sex between two men.

  50. Let me add something from a historical perspective.

    My doctoral field has had me studying a lot of medieval religious manuscripts. Among the most interesting are called “Penitentials.” These were “how-to” manuals for confessors in the days before required graduate work in moral theology. Normally this manual contained long lists of sins — each with a corresponding — supposedly appropriate — “penance” listed next to it that a confessor would refer to when needed.

    Solitary sexual activity or homosexual activity always had far more serious “penances” than heterosexual activity because of the distinction between “natural” and “un-natural” activity.

    This did lead to some genuine oddities — at least from a modern person’s perspective. Fornication itself was not even listed: fornication which led to a pregnancy had the penance of marriage (but nothing more than that). Adultery was considered a crime against God — the fact that it was a crime against the other party in the marriage was never considered. Rape — and what we modern folk call statutory rape — was not considered anywhere near as serious as masturbation because it was “natural.” Even between married couples, the only position that was permitted was the “male-on-top” because that was considered “natural” — every other position was “un-natural.”

  51. Romancrusader – #44: You said: “…By the way, the sexual abuse scandal involved the abuse of post pubescent males THAT IS NOT PEDOPHILIA!”

    Truly, I cannot believe people are still promoting that canard.

    Here are the numbers that George Weigel (no raging liberal) pulled out of the John Jay study: “Most of those abused (51 percent) were aged eleven to fourteen and 27 percent of victims were fifteen to seventeen; 16 percent were eight to ten and 6 percent were younger than seven.”

    Look at those numbers, please, and add them up. A full 73% of victims of sexual abuse by priests were aged fourteen or under at the time of the abuse. (Yes, I realize puberty for males occurs roughly around thirteen or fourteen. But that fact hardly makes those kids “post-pubescent.” Even the oldest kids in that demographic group were in the midst of puberty — they were not in any sense young adults. They were kids. Children. People who prey on children are pedophiles.

    You are doing the church a real disservice when you say that the problem wasn’t pedophiles, but gay people. Again: 73 percent of the victims were far from the age of puberty or just barely at that age. They were victimized by child molesters. Conflating homosexuality and pedophilia is a reckless, even dangerous, thing to do.

  52. Gay people don’t try to rape or coerce men or woman any more than hetrosexual genders. Pedophiles and sociopaths do.
    My husband was a police officer in a large city ofr many years and never saw gay men and women doing more crimes such as molestation.
    When you become a counselor, priest, teacher, coach, with the desire to molest and befriend children and young adults (still very impressionable) and hurt them, you are sick, but not a certain sexual identity. Some like boys, some girls, some either/or.

    When you know you have priests or religious using their power to hurt, they should be reported the same as a teacher or parent or uncle…maybe now they will but before the shame and “that couldnt be!” from others, was too much of a hurdle.

  53. 2 Timothy 4:3

    “3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”

  54. “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

    26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error”

    Romans 1:24-27

  55. 1 Timothy 1:9-11

    “9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.”

  56. Note–The Boston Globe has gone into its Gay propaganda mode promoting this story (and they wonder why their circulation is plummeting).
    They ran a story on this Mass situation yesterday inside the newspaper with Father Unni portrayed as the “White Knight” with a full color picture of him.
    Today, the Globe ran virtually the same (now old) story with a full color Father U. picture on the center of the front page. In addition, this newspaper, which has no orthodox Catholic columnists (but a full stable of anti-Catholic attack dog columnists) ran an editorial ordering the Church to follow policies approved by the Globe.

  57. Same-sex marriage harms no one? (Jude-#38) I suggest he discovers the works of economist Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse of the Ruth Institute. He’ll learns that same sex marriage harms the children for whom marriage was instituted to protect. Additionally, by allowing government to redifine a fundamental institution such as marriage only serves to continue its growing control over our personal lives.

  58. #46 naturgesetz: OK, let’s try it this way. Of course babies are born with birth defects—-and/ or with some tendencies that can challenge them—some you mentioned. I have heard folks say that their physically or mentally challenged child has been a ‘gift from God”. Sometimes there are miscarriages, because there the egg and sperm mix wasn’t going to be that gift from God. It would be a disaster. Now, the idea I was trying to put forth was— being born homosexual is, IMO, no mistake. It is just the way it is. Explaining birth defects etc. That’s not for me to explain. No medical training here. If the parent or person needs an explanation for a physical or mental problem with themselves or their child—they can check with their creator. This may not make sense, but I still go with—being homosexual and acting on that is IMO not a “disorder”. It’s already been mentioned that heterosexuals also have what might be considered “disordered” physically lives! Who is to say just what is “disordered”? Apparently the church?

  59. OOPS! should be———-might be considered “disordered” Physical lives (not physically lives).

  60. Steve # 53

    Re: age of puberty.

    The ages between 10 and 14 for boys and girls is so varied with regard to physical maturity and appearance it’s hard to draw hard and fast rules about pedophilia after about 10.

    I was at a Catholic school 8th grade (13-14 yrs) graduation recently and was astounded at the wide range of physical development among kids the same age. There were girls that already had the development and height of an adult woman and 4-5 boys who stood at least 5’10”; a couple of them looked like high school athletes with broad shoulders and deep voices and I could see they had begun shaving already – they could have easily passed for 17. Then there were both girls and boys who were still small and slender and looked like they hadn’t even begun puberty yet.

  61. pagansister — Everybody is a gift from God. It does not follow that there is no disorder about them. To say that physically or mentally challenged people are a gift from God does not require us to deny that they are living with some sort of, possibly innate disorder. Similarly, the fact that one has homos**ual (avoiding the spam filter) appetites, does not prove that those appetites inherently good, rather than disordered.

    Yes, there certainly can be many other disorders in people’s inclinations and behavior. This is why I get exasperated with people who treat homos**ual activity as if it were a super-sin that requires us to be constantly in people’s faces about their need to repent.

    You may not think that the Church has made an adequate case for its position that homos**ual inclinations and activity are, in fact, disordered. But as I explained, I don’t think the case can be made that they must be okay simply because God created us all.

  62. In Church documents the word “disorder” is a philosophical term (from natural law theory) not a medical or mental health term. Conflating the meanings causes a lot of confusion. In calling homosexuality intrinsically disordered, the Church is not using the term from a mental health perspective. The natural law states that there are two purposes to all sexual activity, procreation and unification of the spouses. All sexual acts must potentially include the possibility of procreation and unification. Masturbation and anal and oral sex are not, from the Church’s perspective, unitive and procreative.

  63. The rest of my spam:
    All bodily organs have a natural purpose: the mouth to consume food and water, and the bowels to eliminate waste. The natural law purpose of male and female sex organs is to “fit together” in a way that genitals and oral or anal sex do not fit together.

  64. “The Church itself is stubbornly behind the times and out of touch with scientific facts as well as the true meaning of love. The Catholic Church spends far too much time and money agonizing over same sex marriage when it harms absolutely no one. Take care of your own sins and your own soul.”

    So I guess we could call the Scriptures behind the times too since it condemns gay behavior. The true meaning of love is what has been proclaimed by the church from the beginning–love God and love your neighbor. Simple.
    To say that same sex marriage harms no one is simply out of touch with reality.

  65. Rick: #65: What 2 consenting adults do in private, no matter what “mix” of gender, is absolutely no one’s business. Not just same gender folks do what you speculated. Is that wrong in your eyes too? As to what one person does with their own body (not drugs etc. hopefully) but physically in the privacy of their own room is also, IMO, not wrong or anyone else’s business. As far as I know, no hair grew on any boy’s (or man’s) hands from engaging in that “sin”. (or a girl/woman’s either).

    Intimate relations are not just for making babies. You mentioned that the church wants unification between 2 consenting people—well, no matter what the mix, that can happen.

  66. Pagansister–I was defining what the Church means by disorder–that it does not mean a mental or physical disorder. I’m sorry if the Church’s definition offends you.

    Yes, when a man and woman engage in masturbation, and oral or anal sex to climax, it is considered a grave sin. Those acts, regardless of the sex of people involved, are considered intrinsically disordered from the Catholic moral perspective. I agree someone’s sex life is not my business. I really don’t want to know. By the same token, I do not think people celebrate your pride in their personal sins at Mass.

  67. pagansister #67 — The thing is, our bodies are God’s gift to us, created for a purpose. Even when we are alone or with another consenting adult, we are not morally free to misuse God’s gift of being his image and likeness. In other words, even if what we do is nobody else’s business, it may still have a moral dimension because we are called to live as God’s children all the time. And so it is entirely appropriate for the Church to set before people the moral standards which we have learned from revelation and reason reflecting on the world and revelation.

  68. rick #68: “——-I do not think people celebrate your pride in their personal sins at Mass”. Interesting statement. Celebrate what? Personally I don’t think what we were discussing is sinful. The church does and I often wonder how many teens (male and female) have felt guilty over something such as masterbation, when it is a natural happening in many teens lives. Teens have to deal with a lot in those years, and calling something like that a bad thing, IMO, only adds to their already complicated lives. Just my opinion. As for consenting adults and their physical lives—again, their private lives—and if they think what they do is “sinful” maybe they won’t do it.—then again they might and confess later. Whatever works for them.
    BTW, why would the Churche’s definition “offend” me? It is what it is—the Churche’s point of view.

    naturgesetz #69: Guess the Church has confession for a reason. However, what happens if after doing what the priest tells you to do (Hail Mary’s, Our Father’s etc.) each week you continue to enjoy yourself, it means that apparently the “punishment” really isn’t doing any good. Life can be tough, I guess. :o)

  69. Pagansister, I apologized because I interpreted your response in comment 67 as taking offense to the Church’s teaching. You seemed more miffed at me than the Church though, asking why I’m interfering in private sex lives. I was only trying to explain what disorder means from the Church’s perspective. Nothing more, nothing less. I was just trying to give a factual definition.

    I have a little medical problem (disorder?). My sight is poor and I have problems editing. My last line in comment 68 should have read: “By the same token, I do not think people should celebrate their pride in their personal sins at Mass.” I have plenty of sins: lust, pride, sloth and indifference. I don’t think the Church should celebrate that I am such an experienced, multifaceted sinner. The Church is helping me to move on to something better.

  70. rick #71:
    Appreciated your defining the Churche’s meaning of “disordered”. You did it well. Also, I didn’t mean to sound “miffed” at you—just contining to try and understand the Churche’s point of view.

    Also thanks for the correction of the last line in #68—as it makes sense now. Don’t apologize–I just thought it was an unusual statement.

    As for those of use who most certainly not perfect? We just keep on doing the best we can! :o)

  71. Chris…

    Telling people at mass that all are welcome is “not Catholic teaching”?? Since when??

    Dcn. G.

  72. First of all I am a Catholic Christian man with same sex attraction. I returned to the Church 5 years ago after 35 years away, 15 as a gay activist.

    I admire this priest very much. He is a man of obvious courage and integrity. There is one thing he stated which could be misconstrued, however. The reference “Here, you all can say, ‘I can worship the God who made me as I am,’ ’’ would seemingly allow actively practicing gays and lesbians to be part of his parish on all levels. And that is not Catholic teaching. It may not be what he meant but most from my community would hear it that way.

    The Church must welcome LGBT people in her doors and must do FAR better at it, to be sure. But not by changing her theology. We are called to celibacy and that is Church teaching even from Jewish Sacred Tradition. It has not changed. But it is also sinful to make those who are not at that same place where I may be to feel less welcomed and we do it in spades, not just as Catholics but many other Christian denominations.

    I would gladly attend his parish. In a heartbeat. Why? Because “holier than thou” attitudes can be sinful as well. And most LGBT people I know, and I have struggled with it even as a celibate who follows the Church teaching more literally, wonder deep inside if we are truly “welcome.” The stigma of being gay is still ingrained in our society and obvious from some of the posts here. Christians are still not afraid to torment others in Jesus’ name.

    His heart is in the right place and so is his welcome of all, even if they are not where some of us are in our journey towards God. I applaud him.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.