Boston Catholic paper withdraws column suggesting same-sex attraction is the work of the devil — UPDATED

Details:

The column, which appeared Friday in the Archdiocese of Boston’s official newspaper, The Pilot, was titled “Some fundamental questions on same-sex attraction.” It was written by Daniel Avila, an associate director for policy and research for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In the column, Avila says “the scientific evidence of how same-sex attraction most likely may be created provides a credible basis for a spiritual explanation that indicts the devil.”

It also says “disruptive imbalances in nature that thwart encoded processes point to supernatural actors who, unlike God, do not have the good of persons at heart.” It says that when “natural causes disturb otherwise typical biological development, leading to the personally unchosen beginnings of same-sex attraction, the ultimate responsibility, on a theological level, is and should be imputed to the evil one, not God.”

The 182-year-old newspaper withdrew the column from its website on Wednesday, saying it had failed to recognize the “theological error” before publication. It posted an apology from Avila saying the column didn’t represent the position of the Conference of Catholic Bishops, whose stated purpose is to “promote the greater good which the Church offers humankind,” and wasn’t authorized for publication.

Read more.

You can read Daniel Avila’s statement right here.

UPDATE: The column that was pulled can be read here.

UPDATE  II: The author of the column on Friday quit his job with the USCCB.

Comments

  1. Eugene Pagano says:

    Oops, the mask of benevolence slipped off and had to be put back on!

  2. As someone who holds to the Catholic teaching on marriage being reserved to a man and a woman, and homosexual acts as gravely disordered (although please can we get better language for this???)–this. is. sick.

    I have a healthy respect for spiritual warfare as a reality, but you could just as easily say that the orientation is the result of nature, a mild disability, something, anything other than this.

    Frankly I think this demands more than an apology from the writer.

    And editors, read your copy, for crying out loud.

  3. Okay. I’m a little confused. Could someone please clearly and explicitly point out the “theological error” contained in Daniel Avila’s column?? I am being serious here. I have undergrad (ND) and graduate (Ange) degrees in theology and do not see a theological error in his writing. I can see a difference of opinion. When did we stop believing that the three causes of temptation are the devil, the flesh and the world and that these often overlap?
    Thanks in advance for any clarification.
    M

  4. naturgesetz says:

    Eugene Pagano

    Thinking, however incorrectly, that someone or a class of people has been victimized by the devil in no way implies malevolence towards that person or class.

    But to distort the meaning of what someone writes in order to portray the writer (or his church) as malevolent, is itself a malevolent act. Your bigotry and dishonesty are showing.

  5. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Matthew…

    It’s hard to judge, since the column is no longer available online. But based on the available excerpts, the author seems to suggest that homosexuals are created by the devil. Moreover, it infers that homosexual orientation in and of itself is sinful.

    Church teaching is that homosexuality is not sinful; homosexual acts are.

    The author’s statement on the Pilot website — offering his apology — also makes clear that all people are created “in the image and likeness of God and have inviolable dignity,” no matter what their sexual orientation.

    Dcn. G.

  6. Hidden One says:

    What, precisely, is Mr. Avila’s theological error? I don’t have any degrees in theology.

  7. @M — The theological error is in using the adjective “supernatural” to describe works of the devil. Properly speaking, the adjective should be used only for works of God. The devil’s works are “preternatural”.

    Seriously, though — it surely would be too much to attribute all or even most cases of same-sex attraction to direct extraordinary action by the devil, *but* we are taught that illness, suffering, and death came into the world because of sin. That would apply to SSA no less than to alcoholism or XYY syndrome. On the other hand, the temptation to sin in general comes from “the World, the Flesh, and the Devil,” and it would be foolish to assume that *all* cases of homosexual temptation can be traced to the Flesh alone.

  8. naturgesetz says:

    Matthew

    Pardon my boldness as one who has taken courses in theology but am by no means an academic theologian, if I make a suggestion. Daniel Avila’s column is speaking of same-s*x attraction. I’d suggest that same-s*x attraction is not itself precisely a temptation, any more than opposite-s*x attraction is itself a temptation. One with SSA will find his/her s*xual temptations generally directed toward those of the same s*x, whereas those who do not have SSA will generally be tempted in ways involving persons of the opposite s*x.

    Now, since Daniel Avila is not writing about temptation itself, what is he writing about? He is taking for granted that SSA is biologically determined: “the most widely accepted scientific hypothesis points to random imbalances in maternal hormones levels and identifies their disruptive prenatal effects on fetal development as the likely and major cause.” That is the context of his words quoted in the excerpt. He goes on to write, “In other words, the scientific evidence of how same-s*x attraction most likely may be created provides a credible basis for a spiritual explanation that indicts the devil. Any time natural disasters occur, we as people of faith look back to Scripture’s account of those angels who rebelled and fell from grace. In their anger against God, these malcontents prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. They continue to do all they can to mar, distort and destroy God’s handiwork.” — Emphasis added

    (This is getting long. I’ll quote a bit more in another comment.) The asterisks are becaus the blog’s filter is very prudish and blocks repetitions of the actual three-letter chain. The blog’s insane program also just told me to slow down because I’m posting comments too quickly even though it’s 25 minutes since my last post!

  9. naturgesetz says:

    Matthew
    (cont’d.) Daniel Avila continues, “Therefore, whenever natural causes disrupt otherwise typical biological development, leading to the personally unchosen beginnings of same-s*x attraction, the ultimate responsibility, on a theological level, is and should be imputed to the evil one, not God.”

    In order to get away from the “God made me this way, so I can follow my inclinations” argument, he says that the devil causes whatever physical basis there may be for SSA, and considers it merely one instance of a general principle that natural disasters are the work of fallen angels! If this attempt at theodicy is not theologically incorrect, it is at least startling.

  10. Fr. Maximilan says:

    As pointed out, without the original article it is impossible to see if there was a theological error or not. However if he was simply pointing out that homosexuality itself is evil, then he has nothing to apologize for as all disordered sexual desires are evil. That does not mean however that those who suffer from the evil of homosexual orientation disorder are themselves evil, just that they themselves tragically suffer from this evil.

  11. Actually, Asmodeus is the demon who is most often inciting and involved in homosexual, male especially, lust. A prayer to St. Raphael the Archangel, his nemesis and his better, will often help the oppressed soul, unless God wishes that soul to remain afflicted for fruitful reasons of His own.

  12. @naturgesetz

    What’s with the “same-s*x attraction”? The filters don’t force you to write it that way, as they might on some sites.

    I don’t think I would agree with you about SSA not being a temptation. After all, any temptation basically boils down to two propositions: “Here is something you can do,” (which is almost always true) and “This will make you happy,” which is, at least in the long run, false for any sin. It seems to me that SSA fills that role.

  13. naturgesetz says:

    Howard,

    If the filters don’t force the s*x, that’s a recent change. It used to be that repetitions of the word drew an error message, “Hmm. Your comment seems a little spammy. We’re not very big on spam around here.”

    If you are right about SSA being a temptation, then opposite-sex attraction is a temptation, since it says the same things, and the second suggestion is equally false except when one’s spouse is involved. If “OSA” isn’t simply a temptation then it seems to me that “SA” isn’t inherently a temptation.

    There is a problem of precision here. When the term SSA is used, I understand it to refer to an abiding “orientation” rather than an specific incident of finding someone attractive. The latter would clearly be a temptation, but Avila is writing about the underlying condition which gives rise to temptations of a specific kind.

  14. Dan Buckley says:

    If homosexual acts be “gravely distorted,” would it not follow that the temptation to act in a gravely distorted manner would result from a presentation of a false (as in “father of lies”) good as conducive to happiness? The typical sources of temptation, world, flesh, and devil are hardly mutually exclusive, especially when a preternaturally superior agent can bring them all to bear in his assault upon a soul. I find it appalling that so many are reluctant to call evil by its name and are willing to make excuses for it in the name of “charity.” There is no charity in failing to admonish the sinner and permitting him through our silence to be comfortable in his sin.

  15. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Fr. Max…

    To clarify: according to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith :

    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.

    Dcn. G.

  16. Fr. Maximilan says:

    Indeed.
    However it might bear repeating that any “objective disorder” (CDF) that results in an inclination, disposition, or orientation, to engage in “intrinsically disordered acts” (CCC) of “grave depravity” (ibid) is itself an evil.

  17. Has anyone determined the percentage of homosexuals who developed homosexual tendencies only after having been molested by a same-sex predator? This could also include children and very young adults who were tempted by various entertainment media to seek a same sex partner for their very first sexual encounter. There are hormones that are released during this first sexual encounter that causes a very strong emotional bond and thus affects future feelings, something similar to the hormone oxytocin that is released when a mother nurses her child. These hormones are the work of God, meant to ‘cement’ our love for our spouses and for our children. This is where the devil enters in. Take an innocent child, add a homosexual struggling with his or her tendency, and then add in an unrelenting attack by Satan on the homosexual until the child is victimized, and there you have it: another person who will always be programmed, as it were, to think in terms of a homosexual experience when they desire sexual gratification. If that doesn’t make same-sex attraction the work of the devil, then nothing does.

  18. @naturgesetz

    From the Catholic Encyclopedia: “Nor have the inordinate desires (actual concupiscence) or the proneness to them (habitual concupiscence) the nature of sin; for sin, being the free and deliberate transgression of the law of God, can be only in the rational will; though it be true that they are temptations to sin, becoming the stronger and the more frequent the oftener they have been indulged.”

    Sure, I have no problem in saying that concupiscence oriented toward the opposite sex is also temptation.

  19. naturgesetz says:

    Howard

    Thanks for supplying the vocabulary, via the CE. IMO “actual concupiscence” deserves the name “temptation,” but “habitual concupiscence” does not. And I think the Avila piece was concerned with habitual concupiscence.

  20. If same-sex attractions and desires are of the devil, then they are merely temptations.

    We don’t get to choose our temptations.

    Therefore, homosexual orientation should NOT be an impediment to ordination.

    This seems to be a case of “All sins/temptations are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

  21. Deacon Tom Gotschall says:

    What I’ve not yet seen in any of the posts thus far is a word that immediately comes to mind with respect to any attraction of any sort (s*xual or otherwise) is “concupiscence” (see CCC glossary and #1264, 1426, 2515). The glossary of the Catechism describes concupiscence, “Human appetites or desires which remain disordered due to the temporal consequences of original sin, which remain even after baptism, and which produce an inclination to sin.”

    Since all people are made in the image and likeness of God, I should be open to the beauty and attractiveness of any person, man or woman. I should also be open (to a lesser degree) to the beauty and attractiveness of a good book and good food and good exercise, etc.

    Certain attractiveness-es are “ordered” and others are “disordered”. An attractiveness to desire a consumption of copious amounts of food or alcohol (by way of two examples only) is disordered. If I remove the alcohol or otherwise have mastery over the possible temptation, then the disorder that may be in my life is made moot.

    An opposite s*x attraction may be ordered but it also may be disordered (in cases where temptations toward scandalous behavior is intense, even when tempted within a marriage against charity with one’s spouse.)

    A man may have an appetite or desire to have multiple wives. This is also disordered. If the “two become one” as in a sacramental marriage where the sanctifying graces flow to the married couple, the husband must not be divided among his wife with another.

    Same s*x attraction in terms of s*xual temptations is always disordered because the result of SSA intimacy can never result in offspring (there is no possibility to being open to life as a result…a disorder to natural law) and the unity attempted is biologically violent against the others body.

    I suggest that if we try to understand what is concupiscence for ourselves when we do our examinations of conscience, we’d have less need for such apparent “rapid “””damage control””” by the Pilot, Mr. Avila and others. God forbid we should minister to those very people to whom we are pandering…

    Mr. Avila evidently erred procedurally and possibly in the precision of his explanation. However, I suspect that for those who were “hurt and confused”, their hurt and confusion is possibly very misguided. I worry that the apology Mr. Avila gave has led some to think, “We put that homophobe in his place!” That could be eternally more damaging. All things in charity…May God be with us.

  22. Fr. Maximilan says:

    Please understand that inordinate desire is not the same thing are objectively disordered desire.

  23. http://www.CatholicCulture.org has posted a link to Google cache with the original article: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:8sYawDySTckJ:www.thebostonpilot.com/articleprint.asp%3FID%3D13929 Not sure how long that will stay there so save it to disk.

    Avila’s original thesis that it is untenable (and offensive) for gays to claim that God intentionally makes homosexuals contrary to His created order is definitely sound. However, from there Avila introduces some weak argumentation and an incomplete secondary premise: that the disorder must be traced to a supernatural influence.

    He starts by referencing natural weather phenomena as demonic activity. Catholic theology holds that such phenomena can be of purely natural origins or even initiated by God for divine chastisement and judgment. But he does implicitly raise the interesting question of whether purely natural processes can create “intrinsically disordered” conditions. It’s difficult to accuse nature of acting in that way when through natural selection it brutally removes creatures that refuse to breed from the gene pool. But if you introduce agents of free will into the equation, it changes the whole scenario.

    What Avila fails to account for is that demons are not the only non-divine agents of free will at play. There is the homosexual himself as well as his parents and other humans present (or absent) during development. One cannot completely remove the possibility of individual demonic influences, but the nurture theory on homosexuality stresses the deficiencies in nurture during early development. Fathers and mothers make choices that have consequences whether intended or not. The response of the child to circumstances also plays a part even if those responses begin to occur before the child reaches the age of reason and before the child becomes morally culpable for those responses.

    Reducing the situation to the sole responsibility of the devil over-simplifies things and fails to account for human actions.

  24. Is this a case of the “secular” media being “low” as was claimed about the Huffington Post story of yesterday? Or is the Globe serving the community?

    I would have rather the column stayed up and someone else write a robust column about why it was wrong. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. And talking in the Catholic community about these issues are the best way to shine light on the issue.

    And I am curious if “The Pilot” covers this story as a media story in its next few issues.
    Angles to cover:
    –Why did the editor run it and then retract it;
    –Who made that decision to retract;
    –What were the errors in the column – as that is what a lot of people with opinions are talking about here;
    –Was this an opinion column or a news item? If not news, what are the boundaries for an opinion column?
    –How are decisions made to run opinion columns?

    Fingers crossed the Catholic press will raise to the occasion and write about it instead of leaving it to the Globe and the AP.
    And if the Catholic press ignores it, will it be tarnished as “low” ?
    We shall see.

  25. I would think that all objectively disordered desire (ordered towards the wrong objects) is inordinate desire (“insubordinate” to right reason), but not all inordinate desire is objectively disordered desire. Is that a wrong use of the terms?

  26. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Drew…

    Something I learned in my experience in diocesan media: bishops tend to see the newspapers, magazines, TV and radio programs which they oversee as being extensions of themselves. These media entities often do not operate independently of the hierarchy they serve. I haven’t looked at the masthead for The Pilot, but I suspect it lists Cardinal Sean O’Malley as publisher. In which case, he has a vested interest in removing from his newspaper an opinion piece that contradicts Catholic theology or that somehow (in his judgment) reflects badly on him. To do otherwise infers that he approves of the content.

    But I agree: all involved should be forthcoming as to why the essay was in error, and why and how it was retracted.

    Dcn. G.

  27. Fr. Maximilan says:

    The intrinsic sterility of homosexual sodomy is but part of the reason it is objectively disordered and a grave evil. If however someday science somehow alters that reality, the conduct itself would still be an abomination in the eyes of God. In fact it is so evil that in Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition it is one of the “4 great sins that cry to Heaven for vengeance”.

  28. Thanks for your comments.

    Be well.

  29. You would have a point only if no other persistent temptation were an impediment. It may be (I really do not know) that no other persistent temptation is singled out for particular attention, but even if that is the case, I would expect it to be merely a reflection of the fact that the specific question of homosexual temptations has become more prominent and urgent over the past few decades. I would hope, though, that prudence would dictate that other temptations should also be seen as impediments: an unusually large and persistent temptation to anger, or to greed, or to sloth, for example.

  30. Fr. Maximilan says:

    Half correct. The term “inordinate” refers to too much or exceedingly. It is possible for a man to have an inordinate or insufficient desire for his wife. However it is incorrect to use the term when referring to sexual desire for other men for the same reason it is incorrect to use the term when referring to sexual desire for children, or a member of the family, or the non-living, or other species, (you get the idea). Because it is objectively disordered, there really is no such thing as an “inordinate amount” of gravely disordered sexual attraction for other men or children, because any amount is wrong and an evil.

  31. Richard Johnson says:

    “In fact it is so evil that in Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition it is one of the “4 great sins that cry to Heaven for vengeance”.”

    Yep…along with willful murder, oppressing the poor, and denying the worker his/her wages.

    The cafeteria is open. Enjoy.

  32. Patrick Thornton says:

    @Richard,

    I don’t think anyone is in favor of willful murder, oppressing the poor, or denying wages. At least, I’ve never heard of anyone calling for those actions.

    Re: the article,

    From the snippet of the original article, there do not seem to be theological problems. Evil entered the created world through the actions of the devil. Natural evils exist because of this “fall”. Natural evils include same sex attraction. So, in that sense same sex attraction (like any other natural evil) came about because of original sin, of which the devil most certainly had a hand.

  33. Fr. Maximilan says:

    Indeed all 4 are abominations in the sight of God. Sadly and tragically, (although quite predictably) it is usually the abomination of homosexual sodomy that “cafeteria catholics” leave off their tray.

  34. Richard Johnson says:

    Judging from the comments on the post regarding the Catholic Worker Movement and OWS, I’d say that the buffet line in the cafeteria has two sides, and both are quite full.

  35. Susan Peterson says:

    The devil can’t create anything, so one can’t say that “homosexuals are created by the devil.” However, homosexual inclination could be said to be the result of the fall in the same way that smallpox and diabetes are; they are the result of the distortion of all nature, as well as human nature, which were the result of the fall. And the fall was instigated by the devil, although Eve and Adam had to consent to his temptation.

    From the brief exerpt I read, I am not sure you can say this was a theological error. However, it was not carefully stated.

    I don’t think it was withdrawn because it wasn’t carefully stated, or because it was a theological error, however. It was withdrawn because it was politically incorrect and the editors are spineless.

    Susan Peterson

  36. Susan Peterson says:

    I see that Patrick Thornton already said the same thing I did. Apologies for not reading his comment first.
    Susan Peterson

  37. Fr. Maximilan says:

    You provide no specifics upon which you have formed your judgement, and unless I missed it I only saw one post from you on that thread which also did not counter or support the implied charge of “cafeteria” catholics. Hence I am not really able to address your concern.

  38. And this is controversial how? Let’s look at the historical examples of homosexual culture. The Greeks and Sambia tribe involved elites raping boys. The modern homosexual culture developed shortly after the 19th century narcissistic movements and continues to indulge in non-monogamous, exploitative affairs.
    Look, some decent people that get drawn into destructive cultures. These people aren’t evil, but the culture is. And if some people have a biological response to be attracted and addicted to homosexual culture not unlike how some people have a biological response to be attracted and addicted to alcohol or pornography then it’s best to avoid those cultures.

  39. I hope we aren’t to infer from this retraction that the USCCB holds that homosexuality is antecedently willed by God.

  40. Deacon Greg, Don’t you believe that this was withdrawl for PC reasons? The Catholic Church seems to do everything possible to dance around the SSA issue. From what I read, there is nothing here that is in conflict with Church teaching in any way.

    Those who support special rights for homosexuals do not accept love the sinner, hate the sin or that the ‘act’ is immoral and grave sin or gravely disordered. Nothing short of making it as normal and equal as sex between a married man and woman will be accepted and anything less than this will be attacked.

    A local priest on his blog put out with a great deal of thought and charity the teaching of the Catholic Church on homosexuality and was attacked with a vengence. I have no doubt this was withdrawn because of the same attacks of those who want Church teaching changed.

    Of course Pope Benedict just last year again stated that the teaching of marriage can only be between one man and one woman as non negotiable is not what many want to hear. They will not rest until that teaching goes away.

  41. SSA is an impediment to ordination only if the person clearly makes a point that the Catholic Church teaching on the subject is wrong or if they are committing the act which is gravely disordered.

    And yes, if a seminarian shows signs that they are theifs or lust after women with uncontrolled passions, I suspect they will be out as well. Some things cannot be tolerated when they lead to grave sins. While we would love all seminarians to be without sin and saintly men, we would have none in residence. We should at least hope that they follow all aspects of church teaching and accept it as defined truth so that they can bear strong witness of the wonder of Church teaching, especially in the non negotiable areas. This seems to have been lacking over the last few decades leading many into dangerous error.

  42. \\Let’s look at the historical examples of homosexual culture. The Greeks and Sambia tribe involved elites raping boys. The modern homosexual culture developed shortly after the 19th century narcissistic movements and continues to indulge in non-monogamous, exploitative affairs.\\

    Of course, rape and promiscuity have never been part of heterosexual culture, have they?

    And every time I turn on the TV, I get a flash of non-monogamous exploitative heterosexual affairs.

  43. Actually, a certain document issued when Pope Benedict was head of CDF said that same sex ATTRACTION was what was “intrinisically disorodered”, not merely the acts.

    If the attractions or feelings are what are disordered, they should be remediable by either psycho-therapeutic or spiritual processes.

    We know that neither works. Now what?

  44. Avila’s first mistake was reading Simon LeVay, whose “scientific studies” have notoriously lack either proper controls, or any controls at all. It’s been tough seeing him taken to task for this through the years on the Op-ed page of the New York Times.

    Next, the approach to a “gay” gene is one that betrays a shallow understanding of genetics and epigenetics as disciplines. There may well be subtle anomalies in biochemical pathways, and not ‘smoking gun’ genes to point toward. The truth of the matter is that we just don’t know anything more than the first six inches of depth in an ocean of brain anatomy, biochemistry, genetics and epigenetics, as well as their interplay. What we CAN say is this…

    Homosexual men and lesbians choose to act freely when they choose mates and partners. They are endowed with free will and act with free will when choosing this person over that person. {An exception would be the gay men addicted to the group s*x of the bath houses, where many have had several hundred to thousands of partners. There, compulsion is clearly an operative pathology}

    Getting back to those gays and lesbians who freely choose, they maintain the capacity to choose a celibate life of fidelity to God’s command. They choose not to.

    Whatever the combination of physiology, environment, past traumas (including sexual abuse), and demonic temptation, it doesn’t do to label gays and lesbians as made by satan. They were made by God, for God. We are to approach them in this light and not shrink from the Gospel challenge which calls upon their same capacity for free will choices that heterosexuals possess.

  45. Michael Patrick says:

    Sorry to change the topic but I’m looking for something.
    I think it was on this blog that I saw a piece refuting the circumstances surrounding Next Gingrich serving divorce papers on his first (?) wife in hospital while she was undergoing cancer therapy.
    I actually think it was his daughter who wrote the piece.
    If this is the blog where could I retrieve it for others to read?
    I don’t support Gingrich but I also don’t support the man being condemned for something that didn’t happen the way his daughter says it did.
    Thank you.

    [Michael...right website, wrong blog. You're thinking of this post over at The Anchoress. Dcn. G.]

  46. naturgesetz says:

    “If the attractions or feelings are what are disordered, they should be remediable by either psycho-therapeutic or spiritual processes.”
    — I don’t see any reason why that should be so. If the feelings arise in some degree from physical causes, such as a genetic predisposition, psychotherapy and spiritual processes won’t reach such causes. And even if the disorder is purely psychological, with no admixture of physical factors, it can be so deeply rooted that the treatment is ineffective. Alcoholics can, and many do, learn to avoid acting on their disordered inclination to drink, but the disorder is usually not remedied, as I understand what I’ve read and heard, and that is why, even after years of sobriety, they refer to themselves as recovering alcoholics. They know they could always relapse.

  47. naturgesetz says:

    Greta, I don’t think there is any good reason to jump to the rash judgment that the article was withdrawn because of unwillingness to proclaim the Church’s teaching on homosexuality. The hypothesis that the devil intervenes directly in the womb and turns some people into homosexuals is not part of official Church teaching. And IMO it’s a pretty bizarre attempt at an explanation.

    Besides, if the Pilot were afraid of offending homosexuals, they never would have run the article to begin with.

  48. Jack,
    Part of and most prominent examples are two different things. Certainly we’re capable of falling into all kinds of evil. However, some cultures are particularly more destructive than others.

  49. I’m sorry, but I can’t help but side with those in this thread who have suggested the removal of Avila’s post looks a lot like a PC move, plain and simple. The Church cowering before a public angry with the truth. I just read the article and there is nothing in their that is explicitly contrary to the faith.

    No, Avila is not suggesting that homosexually oriented persons are “created by the devil”, nor is he suggesting they are all possessed by the devil, nor is he suggesting they are all evil. All he is doing is explaining that God is not the proximate cause of a homosexual orientation. If we can lay that blame on anyone’s shoulders, it would be the devil’s, not God’s, is Avila’s message.

    Now, does this mean that in every instance of someone born with a homosexual orientation (if it really works that way to begin with, which I strongly question; homosexuals are largely made, not born that way), we can say it was the devil who actively physically altered their gene pool in every case and directly caused disorder? Avila does not go so far as to say. It’s probably safest to say that while entirely possible in individual cases, that is not usually the way it works. (The devil is strong and can influence nature, but not THAT strong that he can just go around tampering with any and every gene pool he wishes to at any time.)

    But the thing is, Avila doesn’t quite “go there” any way. The most explicit he gets is in this regard is probably with the sentence, “In other words, the scientific evidence of how same-sex attraction most likely may be created provides a credible basis for a spiritual explanation that indicts the devil.” Ultimately, all Avila is saying is that if we are going to “point the finger” at any intelligent agent in terms of responsibility for homosexual orientation, it should be the devil, not God. God does not create anyone to be gay.

    Where is theological error in that?

    The Pilot should be ashamed not of Avila, but of its own failure to withstand a little zeitgeist.

  50. In one of the posts above, Cassandra said, “Reducing the situation to the sole responsibility of the devil over-simplifies things and fails to account for human actions.”

    That’s just it. I don’t see Avila doing that in the article. His message is not, “The devil makes them do it” or “makes them that way (all by himself).” It’s, again, “If we have to point the finger at an intelligent ORIGIN for homosexual orientation (references to secondary or tertiary causes such as maltreatment by parents, etc. aside for the moment), we would be right to point at the devil, not God.”

    Not that I am some sort of infallible interpreter, but I feel compelled to say that I appreciate Avila’s wording and would encourage others to slow down a little when reading him to make sure they’re letting the man speak for himself and not accidentally distorting his message.

    Peace to all.

  51. Fr. Maximilan says:

    Your own argumentation works against you. Just because there may be a possibility that a deep rooted disorder might not respond to therapy does not mean it should not be tried. Your “it might not work, so why bother” is simply untenable. And all the recovering alcoholics that I know, have used therapy, “spiritual processes” or a combination of the two, to change and heal.

  52. naturgesetz says:

    Fr. Maximilian, you are putting words in my mouth, and you seem to have misunderstood what I actually said.

    Notice please, that I was replying to Jack. Jack asserted that neither psychotherapy nor spiritual processes worked to remedy homosexual attractions. But he also asserted that if those thoughts and feelings are disordered, they should be remediable by such means. The logical inference is that they are not disordered.

    I was attempting to refute that inference by challenging one of his premises.

    I never said or implied that psychotherapy or spiritual processes shouldn’t be tried. All I said was that even if they don’t work, that doesn’t prove anything about whether the feelings and thoughts are disordered.

    Since your reply pretends to address what I said, but actually fails to do so, it is inane as a reply.

  53. Hello!
    I don’t know if it’s ok to think this way, and I don’t want to say anything which would be in error, but in praying about this recently, this is what I got:
    As a homosexual person who beleives in and is faithful to the teachings of the Church, God has given me the grace to remain chaste and celibate, but right now, I can’t know why I ended up this way in the sense of absolute knowledge of genetic causes or of environmental / psychological causes. But because of the hope God gives me, I know that He will make me like His own Son in Glory when we are raised up on the last day. To me, that means that those wounds that I bear now will be glorious like Jesus’ own wounds. The brokenness I experience now, which hems me in to a life of celibacy, will shine in some glorious way then. I do not know what that will mean or look like, but God knows and I have to trust Him. So the end which God made and redeemed me for gives me a better answer, and better hope. I hope what I’m saying isn’t somehow in error. This question is very painful for homosexual persons, but praying about it, not for some sort of final answer about “why, ” but rather, praying for peace and for a deeper trust in God helps a lot.
    John

  54. Fr. Maximilan says:

    naturgesetz,
    Please forgive any misunderstanding of your response.

  55. Satan isn’t responsible for people begin gay. Satan is responsible for:

    - pedophile priests raping thousands of children (in the Unites States alone)
    - bishops moving more pedophiles to places where they raped more children
    - bishops covering it up
    - bishops lying about it
    - all Catholics shunning the victims

    Satan is also responsible for making people think that God hates gays more than God hates child rapists and liars in His church.

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