“A gay man I consider a saint…” — UPDATED

This morning Mark Shea tackled a tough subject with a kind of grace and compassion that couldn’t help but leave me impressed.  There’s a benevolent wisdom here, and mercy, too:

One of the people I admire most in the world, who I regard as an inspiration and, very likely, as a saint was a gay guy who lived here in Seattle named Perry Lorenzo. You can get something of a sense of the man from his blog. Dunno if he was celibate or not and, frankly, regard it as none of my business. All I know is that the guy was clearly a man who loved Jesus, loved his Catholic faith, and taught a huge number of people about it, both gay and straight, in a way that was immensely attractive and uplifting for everybody who encountered him. He was also one of the most learned people I have ever met and a profoundly humble man. He was, for many years, the director of education for the Seattle Opera. Had a brilliant knack for speaking the Catholic tradition to the cultured despisers of tradition here in Seattle. His funeral, which he planned himself as he was dying, was one of the most beautiful and Christ-centered liturgies I’ve ever experienced. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if half the congregation was not Catholic: a testament to his greatness.

Some Catholics (and some of my gay readers) will probably be surprised to hear that I’m not interested in whether or not he was celibate. Not my business. That’s between him and God. (I had a reader write me in some degree of scandal after I posted on his death because he apparently had a partner he lived with. If memory serves, I expressed to my reader a deep lack of interest in that fact since a) Not. My. Business and b) merely living with his partner is not proof of anything anyway, either about his relationship with his partner, nor about his relationship with God.

So do I contradict myself, since it’s not a secret that I agree with the Church that homosexual acts are sinful. I don’t see how. If Perry was an active homosexual, it’s none of my business and certainly not mine to judge. After all, I also agree with the Church that my own acts of gluttony are sinful and even gravely so. But I don’t believe God has abandoned or rejected me and I trust his grace to help me slowly become conformed to Christ, so why should I believe for a second that somebody like Perry, who manifested such abundant and beautiful fruits of the Spirit was not pleasing to God and was not doing his best to strive for God? On the contrary, I regard him as a role model and greatly admire his deep, generous and true faith. I hope he prays for the Church in Seattle and I think he is (not was, God rest his soul) one of the great ornaments of the Church.

Read it all. And visit Mark’s blog to join in the conversation in the comments.  It will challenge you and definitely make you think.

UPDATE: Mr. Shea has posted a follow-up, to revise and extend his remarks.  Check it out.


  1. Diakonos09 says:

    Wow. If all of us Catholics (and especially we clergy) had Shea’s attitude and charity I do not think we would be facing half of the “gay ecclesial battles” that have popped up these past years. How especially humbling and refreshing for Shea to aknowledge that there are many other “grave” and “disordered” struggles in Christian lliving (e.g., the gluttony example) and yet we do not condemn those persons who give in and stuggle with these the way we so easily do with gay disciples. Thank you, Mark Shea.

  2. I was fortunate to meet Perry Lorenzo on several occasions on several summer trips to Seattle. He was an incredible public speaker, an educator, who brilliantly spoke on various subjects pertaining to opera with the Seattle Opera, where he headed the education department. In his talks (actually three hour, or one hour seminars) he would occasionally reference his previous job teaching in Catholic schools in the Seattle area. He often spoke nostalgically about those days, and the lessons that he learned from his students and some parents, somehow tying it all into the operatic subject at hand. The audiences were always packed, maybe 700 or more persons, yet he created an intimacy by which there was a sharing among the participants as I have never seen in any other setting. Among the audience members who had heard him on previous occasions, there was an air of expectation that he always surpassed. I am from the other Washington (DC) and I often wished that we had him in our area. In his talks, he would examine all sorts of human motivations, spiritual deficiencies, and also spoke of grace. The closest other speaker in effectiveness with his audience, and spirituality , that I ever heard besides Perry Lorenzo was Scott Peck years ago, another wise and wounded man with a great soul. Perry Lorenzo had a special gift of awakening his audiences to see the spiritual, to see God, in action everywhere in life.

  3. pagansister says:

    It would be wonderful if everyone, Catholic or not, would have the attitude towards gay men and women that what they do in their private life—whether celibate or not—is no one’s business. May the good Father rest in peace. I agree with the author of this article—what he did was between him and his God, and no one else.

  4. Mark Greta says:

    My wife Greta met a man while visiting hospital patients almost two decades ago. He was there for attempting suicide. She learned that he was gay and that he was very involved in the gay activist community and also had a live in who had left him prompting this attempt. He had been raised by two atheist parents and knew or cared nothing for God. The next thing I knew, this man was living in our home and had formed a close relationship with my wife. Over the next few years he became a Catholic and became a very powerful force in those trying to leave the gay lifestyle and to also work on those in the Church who hated “both” the gay person and the gravely disordered act. He came to see in Catholic teaching in its complete and authentic form, answers to many issues which had plagued his life for a very long time. He helped both sides find a lot of common ground. He never thought that leaving one in grave sin, not matter what the sin, was in any way a good thing.

    Over the last few days, I have been drawn away from the hurt and anger over losing my wife and this anger has been evident in many of my actions and thoughts for well over a month. This good friend is now in heaven along with my wife Greta and I think they have been trying to help me overcome the grief and anger. This post helped me remember this wonderful man. He made it a point to those not driven by same sex attraction that trying to be nice and tolerant of the grave evil so as to in some ways condone it was not helpful to those in this grave sin. To those who thought they were part of God’s police force, (he once awarded me a badge to make a point), he taught that if we cannot find a way to make the point with love of the person shining through, to leave it to others. I pulled out my badge, and have decided it is time to retire for the only one who was able to turn my thoughts to love is no longer with me. She too was a victim of this from time to time when she lost a battle to save a baby she thought she should have been able to save and then saw something in the world that seemed unable or unwilling to see the holocaust surrounding us in this country. In fact, she was going through a tough time when the Deacon finally banned her from this blog for exposing that anger. She said it helped her wake up to the anger that was beginning to destroy her. She left the blogging world and spent the time in prayer for the many lost souls she had been fighting in the comboxes. I think I am going to follow her advice and leave it to others to fight the combox battles. I am banning myself.

    Thus in closing out, I leave behind a few last thoughts. Deacon, I think you have an wonderful gift to teach and write. I wonder if posting things that you know to be points that will bring out this anger, without bothering to teach the full beauty of the Catholic Church at the same time, is a gift or simply a way of provoking more noise and anger.

    To those I have offended in my anger, I apologize for my lack of talent and skill to make the point on Church teaching, but encourage all to think about their faith and the wonder of the Catholic Church. I will be praying for those here to find a way to leave behind the thought or desire to defend that greatest of all horrors in our country, the culture of death and all those who keep it alive at the cost of 4,000 babies each and every day. we all know how to end this legal holocaust but it involves stopping to support the party of death and many cling to it no matter how many babies die. Each will have to stand before Christ with the blood of those infants hoping the blood of Christ can wash them white as snow. God Bless everyone and good bye.

  5. Deacon Norb says:


    May your healing be complete!

    Romans 1:8

  6. Mark I think you miss a very important teaching of the CC in Shea’s article, and that is culpability of sin. I don’t think for a minute that MShea is suggesting that homosexual sin isn’t a sin,nor should we work to move away from it. We are all human with “human habits”, some harder to break than others.

    We learned from Judas (vs Peter), that it was all about “getting back up.” Does anyone think God would prefer we all go hang ourselves in dispair for being so addicted to a human weakness that once we fall, we are damned? Of course not. Even a gum chewing habit takes an average person 21 days to break. God is our loviong father, not the gottcha space monster. Just as a child under the age of reason cannot be culpabile for sin, neither can an addicted adult be head fully culpabile.

    On a personal note Mark, it’s a shame that as much as you preached pro life, and all of the good work you and Greta did, you never once (despite my asking you several) times,
    gave any of us any information as to where all this pro life activity was taking place.

    It’s an enigma to me why something as important as pro life work would be kept to hushed on a Catholic Blog.

    All said, I wish you well, and thanks for fighting the good fight!

  7. Typo, meant to say “not work to move away from it”, sorry.

  8. No, indeed. Not Mr. Shea’s business, not my business, not the business of the person reading this comment.

    We all need to be reminded every so often that MYOB is a really good habit. This post was one such reminder.

  9. naturgesetz says:

    God bless you too, Mark Greta.

  10. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    Agreed, It is not our business what goes on behind closed doors. It is between God and each individual. That, of course is taking the narrow-minded All-Amrican cultural attitude that we are all merely individuals whose deeds, actions, and example only affect one’s self.
    However, we are all part of a community and in our modern America community to announce that one is Gay is taken to mean broadly and widely that one is homosexually active and thus, by word is, in effect, endorsing the sin of being homosexually active and encouraging that sin. Whether the person intends it or not (or whether Mark Shea intends it) calling a person who apparently made no secret of his being “Gay” a “saint” is, in my opinion, to become a major promoter of a serious sin and become part of the pro-homosexualist movement.
    Going back a number of years homosexual activist groups set as the first strategy in their movement for getting society to regard homosexual behaviour as normal instead of a sin was to get homosexuals to “come out of the closet.” Sadly, they are getting plenty of encouragement from some here.

  11. naturgesetz says:

    Moral theology is not the totality of pastoral theology. Conversion and sanctification are not necessarily instantaneous. I think God is patient and confers the grace of conversion when a person is able to receive it, meanwhile preparing the way for it.

    Furthermore, I think you are incorrect in your opinion that proclaiming oneself gay is equivalent to proclaiming oneself sexually active. It may or may not be a problem, but terms such as “gay,” “lesbian,” and “homosexual,” are broad and ambiguous. They can refer to people who are sexually active with same-sex partners. They can also refer to people who are same-sex attracted and celibate; as well as to those who struggle to remain celibate.

  12. I have not heard the Lord give any exceptions to his words: Judge not lest ye be judged. (Mark 7).
    I also urge you to re-read the story of Jesus with the adulterous woman. “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” John 8:7

    I think that alot of Catholics, and almost all the hierarchy, cross the line on “teaching” and go out judging and hurling tons of stones.

  13. naturgesetz says:

    Drake, I think in this country, it is overwhelmingly the laity who are the serious stone-throwers. At least, “Always Our Children” is diametrically opposed to stone-throwing.

  14. Yet, the homosexual lobby, lifestyle, and mindset destroys countless lives and souls.

  15. pagansister says:

    Even though we disagree on many things, Mark Greta, I will miss you and your words. I wish you only the best. Stay well.

  16. Michael P says:

    The man in question in other words the man who has SSA (same-sex attraction) it sounds to me like he lived and exuded Christ outwardly and it is truly difficult to do that without Him. However my only concern is that he was living with another man who has SSA, most likely his partner. If we were speaking about Katie and Jim living together we really wouldn’t have much of a conclusion to draw but to say yup they are sleeping with one another or at the least bringing on the near occasion of sin….both are sins. So um I am sorry that is exactly where the tippy-toeing ends for me with this story.

  17. Fuquay Steve says:

    “and go and sin no more.” Why do we forget that part?

  18. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    As almost always in a debate such as this the quotation from the Gospel about the woman caught in adultery is used without the final part of Jesus’s words to the woman: “Go! And sin no more.”
    And, as I said, we exist as more than individuals. To call someone a saint who apparently has said he is Gay and is willing to leave the impression he might be sexually active will be taken by almost everyone as endorsement of homosexual acts.
    As far as judgement goes–Christ’s words were not meant to endorse an “anything goes” attitude toward immoral behaviour, but his words are distorted and twisted repeatedly these days to justify just about any sin of one’s choice and as an argument that noone should ever label any behaviour as wrong or sinful.
    If judgement is ALWAYS wrong–as some people virtually imply–then we must do away with democracy, democratically enacted laws, and trial by jury.

    the teaching that only God can know fully the soul of a person isn’t supposed to be an opening to justify

  19. I also met Perry and heard his lectures, also coming across country to attend the summer Wagner performances and agree.

  20. Barbara P. says:

    perhaps when Jesus said Go and sin no more he was also talking to those who judged the woman and wanted to kill her.

  21. Magdalene says:

    Not celibate? Not a saint. Simple as that. Sexual relations outside of true marriage is mortally sinful no matter how good a speaker or how nice a person is. Their soul hangs in the balance. If one is gay and lives with a partner, human nature would not lend itself to celibacy.

    All politically correct opinions cannot change facts.

  22. Donna G says:

    I just find it incredibly distasteful to think about, or be concerned about, what people do in the privacy of their own bedrooms. It is God’s business, but it is certainly not mine. My business is with the state of my own sinful life.

  23. George R. Kadlec says:

    Some quotes from the Saints about homosexuality:

    Saint Catherine of Siena, a religious mystic of the 14th century, relays words of Our Lord Jesus Christ about the vice against nature, which contaminated part of the clergy in her time. Referring to sacred ministers, He says: “They not only fail from resisting this frailty [of fallen human nature] . . . but do even worse as they commit the cursed sin against nature. Like the blind and stupid, having dimmed the light of their understanding, they do not recognize the disease and misery in which they find themselves. For this not only causes Me nausea, but displeases even the demons themselves, whom these miserable creatures have chosen as their lords. For Me, this sin against nature is so abominable that, for it alone, five cities were submersed, by virtue of the judgment of My Divine Justice, which could no longer bear them. . . . It is disagreeable to the demons, not because evil displeases them and they find pleasure in good, but because their nature is angelic and thus is repulsed upon seeing such an enormous sin being committed. It is true that it is the demon who hits the sinner with the poisoned arrow of lust, but when a man carries out such a sinful act, the demon leaves.”

    Saint Augustine is categorical in the combat against sodomy and similar vices. The great Bishop of Hippo writes: “Sins against nature, therefore, like the sin of Sodom, are abominable and deserve punishment whenever and wherever they are committed. If all nations committed them, all alike would be held guilty of the same charge in God’s law, for our Maker did not prescribe that we should use each other in this way. In fact, the relationship that we ought to have with God is itself violated when our nature, of which He is Author, is desecrated by perverted lust.”

    Saint Bernardine of Siena, a preacher of the fifteenth century, makes an accurate psychological analysis of the consequences of the homosexual vice. The illustrious Franciscan writes: “No sin has greater power over the soul than the one of cursed sodomy, which was always detested by all those who lived according to God. . . . Such passion for undue forms borders on madness. This vice disturbs the intellect, breaks an elevated and generous state of soul, drags great thoughts to petty ones, makes [men] pusillanimous and irascible, obstinate and hardened, servilely soft and incapable of anything. Furthermore, the will, being agitated by the insatiable drive for pleasure, no longer follows reason, but furor. . . . Someone who lived practicing the vice of sodomy will suffer more pains in Hell than anyone else, because this is the worst sin that there is.”

  24. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    Barbara, One look at the whole passage in the Bible makes clear that your interpretation is absurd. But even if his words were ALSO directed at the men that doesn’t take away from Jesus’s strong directive to sin no more. It is amazing how quickly Jesus’s great compassion for sinners and willingness to forgive sin is warped and twisted by some into a justification for sin and becomes a determination to not even name sinful acts for what they are: wrong, evil, and frequently destructive to health and society.

  25. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    George…the saints are not speaking of homosexuality, but of homosexual acts. Do not confuse the sin with the orientation.

    From the Catechism:

    2357 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.

    2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.


  26. If Mark Shea isn’t concerned with whether or not the gentleman in question was celibate then how can he consider him a saint? A saint is, by Catholic definition, a person who lived a life of “heroic virtue.” Not that they never sinned, but that they lived a life of virtue to a heroic degree. It’s one thing to struggle against sins of impurity, it’s another thing to live a life where one isn’t celibate and you’re gay (or an unmarried heterosexual; I seriously wonder if Mark Shea would say that he thinks someone who is straight is a saint but that he doesn’t care whether or not they’re celibate). If you make a public statement that you consider someone a saint then their sinfulness (or lack thereof) becomes your business. Indeed, you’re the one who made it your business especially since we have a duty not to cause scandal to our brethren.

    I’m impressed by Shea’s comments, too. But maybe not for the same reason as Deacon Kandra…

  27. The part that I am missing is that if this man is not a notorious sinner in his community, how does Mark Shea even know about his orientation? It seems to me that a truly saintly celibate homosexual (or heterosexual, for that matter) would not even feel the need to make his orientation another person’s business? That is, if this man’s celibacy is truly no one’s business then why is his orientation?

  28. naturgesetz says:

    Well, one can struggle (or not) against sexual sins but continue to fall all one’s adult life, but make a good confession at the end and be enrolled among the saints in glory. Perhaps such a one will never be canonized, but he is still truly one of All Saints (and Mark does not claim to have authority to canonize).

  29. Doug Pearson says:

    Frankly, I think that the “refreshing” attitude is exactly why we do have the battles that we have in the Church. The Church teaches something, and the clergy wish it were otherwise… now we have confusion and hurt feelings because the clergy did not echo the Church’s authentic teachings. I can hardly see how this approach can be considered charitable or prudent. As to idea that all sin is the same, I would urge further study of this issue by Mark and yourself. As far as I remember, there were no towns destroyed by God in the OT for over eating.

  30. Doug Pearson says:

    Jesus also told her to desist from the sin that had brought her to that point. Do abortions happen behind closed doors? Should we not make moral judgments about abortion and simply say that the doctors who do them need to work it out with God and all of the folks that think otherwise are judging them?

  31. Doug Pearson says:

    You may consider taking a reading comprehension course.

  32. bernice follett says:

    Only the Pope can declare a person a Saint. Stop misleading people. Pray for the virtue of humility.

  33. Ann Couper-Johnston says:

    True, only God knows what intentions a man has, but homosexual acts are still sinful.

    The gay rights lobby does NOT help matters by being aggressive in demanding that we accept their view, and if you care about the Faith, and if you care about your fellow human beings, you want to counter this, for in the long run you want people to know the Truth that sets them free (whoever they are). It’s very difficult to keep your cool against this unjustified aggression, especially when such words as homophobic are bandied about – I am not irrationally scared of homosexuality; I merely think homosexual acts are morally wrong. Homosexual acts are, indeed, sinful. So are adultery and fornication. The difference is not in the sinfulness of the acts (or, come to that the sinfulness of eating more than is healthy) but in the fact that the one sin (the homosexual act) has a powerful and vociferous lobby demanding that it be accepted as good; this in turn maybe attracts a more aggressive response from those that disagree.

    The argument that you are born that way doesn’t wash; as far as I know, no-one has yet discovered a genetic basis for it. Even if they had, being “born that way” does not give you carte blanche to behave that way. There is a gene that predisposes you to alcoholism and you can be tested for it; if you have it the only safe thing to do is not to drink alcohol. We do not excuse those who are so afflicted; they are subject to the same laws, and the same penalties if they offend against them, as the rest of us. To accept the homosexual’s argument that he is born that way and cannot help it is to deprive him of his human dignity, because in doing so you are assuming he has no choice as to what he does. He has: he is not an animal acting on instincts he is unable to control, but a human being with free will.

    In saying he can choose we are saying that choice is possible, but it may not by any means be easy! It’s darn hard to do the right thing sometimes, as anyone knows who has tried to give up smoking or cut down on the snacks, and the homosexual, like the smoker or the glutton, needs support and encouragement to quit.

    Another thing that might help one’s compassion (without falling into the trap of condoning sin) is to remember the definition of sin. If I remember rightly (and would the deacons, whose knowledge of such things should be better than mine, correct me if I’m wrong) sin, to be such, has to be committed with knowledge and consent. Before rushing in it may be helpful to consider that. Given that we all live in a secular environment where the mention of any sin (apart from those against political correctness!) is considered tantamount to discrimination and therefore taboo, just how strong is our sense of sin? It most likely doesn’t feature much in the average person’s thought, and even among Catholics it may seem a very insignificant voice given the secular clamour. If you don’t know something is sinful you can’t very well be guilty – especially if there is a loud lobby telling you that that sin is perfectly acceptable and even behaviour to be celebrated (as in “gay pride”). Secondly, can anyone who is addicted to something be said to have intent? As addiction implies that the situation is beyond your control, whether the person is doing it with intent is at least open to question.

    Neither of these factors diminishes the sinfulness of the act objectively, but subjectively it perhaps gives us some space to approach the individual with compassion. Unfortunately, when communicating in a general fashion, we have to speak of what is objectively true and the teaching of the Church for everybody and that means we may come over as harsh; when we are speaking to an individual we may be able to choose an approach that takes better account of the nuances.

    This brings me to another matter which the deacon may like to comment upon (and you will be glad to know I am nearly finished with my contribution! ;-) ):

    I often reply to remarks on the Internet; as most of my friends are Catholics, I write as I would speak to a fellow Catholic assuming that as my friends they share my views and accept Church teaching. However, the Internet is a space where anyone may go, and for the average person Catholic teaching may be a bit harsh if it’s how I like it – straight down the line. I don’t want to add to the wishy-washy teaching out there (there’s way too much already) but do wonder, occasionally, if one ought to bear in mind the wider audience …….

  34. Barbara P. says:

    so are you saying Jesus did not forgive the men who judged her?

  35. Deacon Norb says:


    You are totally incorrect. You would be more correct in saying “Only God makes a person a saint” but you did not say that. Of the literally tens of thousands of saints listed on [catholic.com] I would seriously doubt if more than a third of them were ever declared saints by any pope at all. Most of them were acclaimed saints by “sensum fidei” — the consensus of the faithful.

    In fact, everyday faithful all across the world have their own locally acclaimed saints. In our area it is “Saint Clarita of the Valley” and I have met a few folks who do claim that miracles have been accomplished because of local intercession to her sacred memory.

  36. As a Catholic, you should be concerned with how your article comes across to others. You speak truth that we should not judge others sins, but you contradict your own statement by proclaiming a known gay man a saint. It is true that we cannot judge a person, but we can definitely judge a person’s actions (and we are called as true believers of Christ to do this). Moreover, not all sins are the same. Just look to the basic Catechism to see that sins are divided into different types of sin (original vs. actual) and (mortal vs. venial). Furthermore, some mortal sins are more grievous than others (i.e. murder). I hope you can review your article and ask yourself, “Is this going to promote the Catholic faith or is this going to confuse the poor souls who are already struggling?” I’ll be praying for you.

  37. Fiergenholt says:

    Ann C-J:

    Deacon Greg can answer for himself but I have been a part of this BLOG — in some way or another — for several years. He is very tolerant of diverging views and welcomes interaction with all sorts of folks — there are hard-coore “anti-Catholic-Fundamentalists” and even some “white-witches” who regularly contribute. Comments literally come from all over the world and I have noticed recently some folks from Australia who have jumped on board.

    There are relatively few guidelines Deacon Greg insists upon and one of them in courtesy and respect. You can read the rest by tapping the appropriate buttons on this web-page’s header.

    For the rest of us, however, we have adopted some informal community rules. I get really upset when comments are too long and I am not afraid to challenge bloggers who go over a “one topic; maximum three sub topics; maximum 250 words” limit. Since I am recognized in my area of the world as a church historian, I also get rather upset when com-boxes include facts I know are simply untrue. Any commentator who uses “IMOH” gets my personal respect sooner than any “my-way-or-the-highway” contributor — even if he/she is correct.

    But it is fun, isn’t it!

  38. Katie Angel says:

    There were no towns destroyed for homosexuality either. Sodom was destroyed for its hostile lack of hospitality toward the stranger – a much graver sin at that time.

  39. Lord High Adml. Hadrian Dumblewinker Ivorytooth Jr., Esq. says:

    “I’ll be praying for you.”

    The ultimate in condescension and passive aggression.

  40. Mark Shea, yes it. is. your. business, as a brother in Jesus. You are obliged to pray and fast for him, if you love him, and pray for the opportunity to talk with him if God desires you to be the one to do so. Other than that, public silence is necessary, because, as you say, you.don’t.know

  41. Matrimony is a public sacrament and any misuse or abuse of that sacrament, even though done privately, is a public business. Even if no homosexual acts are done when two gay men live together, there is at least the likelihood of scandal, which affects the greater community.

  42. this is why the mainstream catholic church is no longer catholic but heretical, ever since vatican ii everyone is a saint and there is no talk of confession or mortal sins. change the mass and sacraments and clergy you change the church period. communists and freemasons have been very successful in the churches demise. sad, but only a couple of the comments here reflect any true catholic understanding at all.

  43. even before my comment above is deleted, this is for the moderator, any normal roman catholic would consider a title of a article A GAY MAN I CONSIDER A SAINT ,VERY BLASPHEMOUS. IF YOU THINK THIS IS BETWEEN YOU AND GOD YOU ARE WRONG. THIS TYPE OF SIN EFFECTS EVERY BELIEVER. DELETE THESE TYPES OF ARTICLES NOW AND TRULY REPENT AND CONVERT !

  44. halo, if a gay man lives a celibate life, he can be canonized a saint if he indeed lives as a saint. But that is for God, through the Church, to declare. The salient point here is that we don’t know anything for sure, so silence and intercession is how we are obliged in truth to respond.

  45. Diakonos09 says:

    The saints also are not infallible nor are their words on par with Church teaching, even though they may often be very enlightening for many. The saints, like us, like in time and none of them you quote lived in an era which benefits as our era does from pyschological developments (which the Church acknowledges as valid) nor would any of them even slightly understood what is meant by “innate sexual orientation”. All they would be able to comment upon would be what would appear to them to be heterosexually driven persons who are freely choosing to act contrary to their connaturality. Its not accurate or helpful for us to judge the past according to present knowledge or to accept advice from the past which is ignorant of present knowledge.

  46. Scandal. What a foolish concept in Church law and tradition. It deals with the reactions of the unknowing, the gossipy, those looking for the splinter in the eye of another, rather than the beam in their own. The concept of “scandal” does not deal with the heart and mind and grace within the individual who is allegedly scandalizing others.

  47. DDPGH. In the Act of Contrition which a penitent prays before being given absolution by the priest at confession, we say: “I firmly resolve with the help of Thy grace to sin no more and AVOID NEAR OCCASIONS OF SINS.’

    To continue living with someone of the same sex that one is attracted to, even with a resolve to be chaste, is a near occassion of sin. MShea should have taken that into consideration before canonizing this man in his blog.

  48. Fuquay Steve says:

    Since Mark Shea is all knowing, he can make whomever he wants a saint, he’s that powerful in his eyes (that’s the problem as I see it). I am not a saint in Marks world, nor do I want to be.

  49. Drake,
    As Christians we are to avoid giving scandal. Especially the scandal of glorifying sin or evil. There are young people among us who must be taught the difference between good and evil.
    Legalized abortion is a scandal. So is homosexual “marriage,” euthanasia, adultery, bribery, white collar crimes, etc. Young people must be taught that they are examples of bad behavior, of sin, and will lead to no good.
    You know what the Lord said about those who corrupt the young, that it is better for them to tie a millstone around their neck and jump into the sea. Living together without benefit of marriage, whether opposite sex or living as same sex partners, when tolerated, sends the wrong message to young people.

  50. Fiergenholt says:


    One of the very serious reasons why folks general in the church do not talk much about mortal sin can be explained by something spelled out in the most traditional of pre-Vatican American documents — the Baltimore Catechism.

    In order for a mortal sin to exist — three conditions must be met:
    –The evil must be objectively and universally evil (all times and all places);
    –The sinner must know that what he or she is doing is an objective evil; and
    –They must — with full recognition of will — do it anyway.

    What we historians have found is that different cultures and different times have different understandings of what is an objective evil. For instance, in the first half of the twentieth century, bi-racial sexuality (including dating and marriage) was considered a horrible evil BUT it was locked in time and space — not universal. Thus, also, when folks in that era looked at the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, they automatically assumed it was caused by their known sexual deviations — not because the far larger crime in that Semitic society was “violation of hospitality.” Whether you did or did not sexually abuse a friend or a family member is one thing but violating a guest in that way could get you killed.

    Back to the definition. The ONLY way a third-party observer can declare a serious evil as a mortal sin is if that observer had access to that person’s “state of their will.” That is something only God knows, not you.

    BTW: that Baltimore Catechism definition also works in civil law as well. It is called “willful and wanton misconduct:” (1) “misconduct” means want you did was evil; (2) “wanton” means you knew it was evil; and (3) “willful” — you went ahead and did it anyway.

  51. It is interesting that Mark Shea would refuse to judge scandal but would judge someone a saint. While he is right that we cannot condemn someone for not knowing the state of their soul. BUT he is WRONG in to judge when he canonizes someone as a saint. Here he judges one way, but not another.

    It makes me question Shea’s motivation. Is it about not judging, or just about not on issues uncomfortable issues. Is it about readership? I don’t know – but I often find him inconsistent in ways that grab attention. He likes to be confrontational on some issues, but then soft and pastoral on others. In truly understanding him, and anyone, one must look at the totality of what they say to understand their entire message. When I do that with what Mark Shea says, I am not usually enthusiastic.

  52. pagansister says:

    Interesting that 2 men living together in a sexual relationship is a really, really bad sin, but if a man and a woman are living together in a sexual relationship, it too is “bad” but not as bad as those 2 guys (or perhaps 2 women). Degrees of “sin” I suppose! Again, I find it no ones business except the folks involved and their God.

  53. pagansister says:

    Well said, Donna G.

  54. True — if Perry Lorenzo actually had a homosexual orientation, and if his housemate was actually his ‘partner’ or, in any case, if Lorenzo was sexually attracted to him. If Shea had first-hand knowledge that any of these were the reality, then he had a duty to not look away, a concomitant to duty to refrain from both public appropriation and condemnation, and to confront the situation privately through prayer if he was a personal friend of Lorenzo or was in direct ministry to him. Otherwise, if Shea admired Lorenzo from afar while somehow having first-hand knowledge of his circumstances, he could have acknowledged the peril Lorenzo was in and prayed and fasted for him. And remained publicly silent.

  55. pagansister says:

    I wonder if among those who the Church recognizes as “Saints” were some (male & female) who might have been homosexual. Just a question. IMO, it is entirely possible. I’m in no way judging this fellow in the article or trying to put him up as a candidate for saint (no one would listen to me anyhow).

  56. Fiergenholt says:

    Well — we do know of canonized saints who were pipe or cigarette smokers (or is that only an evil of the late twentieth century?); we know of male saints who hated women — we probably can find some women saints who hated men and — horror of all horrors– even some religious women who hated priests.

  57. I have read above several times – relationship outside of marriage, not a saint – how about St. Augustine? The word saint goes beyond what the church says to include a person of virtue. I do not know the individual Mr. Shea wrote about, and I do not know his virtue, virtue has many meanings but its prime meaning appears to be goodness or good quality. Again I don’t know the individudal in question so I agree with Mr. Shea – who am I to judge?

  58. naturgesetz says:

    I have no idea how and why the man’s orientation was disclosed. I don’t think it matters, and I don’t think it is remotely justified to suggest that he must have been a notorious sinner for it to have become known — even though it’s nobody’s business, lots of people nowadays are open about it, perhaps in some cases to overcome the unchristian prejudices of narrow-minded bigots by showing them the example of a decent, respectable person who has that orientation. But I think it is important for all Catholics to understand the important points which Mark Shea makes in his post.

    First, homosexual orientation is not homosexual activity, and the orientation itself is not sinful.

    Second, the fact that two homosexual men are living together does not prove that they are engaging in sexual sin, and anybody who concludes, as a fact, that they are sinning has himself committed the sin of rash judgment.

    Third, homosexual sin is not some kind of “super-sin.” Pastors, confessors, and spiritual directors are justified in treating such sinners with a shepherd’s care just as they do with people who struggle to overcome other sins.

  59. I keep hearing that Sodom was destroyed for the sin of inhospitality. This is incorrect and has only been defined this way recently. Read through the Gospels and the letters of St Paul if you need it spelled out for you irrefutably.

    Regarding the men who were going to stone the woman caught in adultry, Jesus did not forgive the men who were going to stone her, this is why: Jesus held up a stone and said “The one among you who hasn’t sinned, throw the first stone.” One by one the men left until the only ones there were Jesus and the woman. Jesus asked her where her accusers were and she said they had left. Jesus then said “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”

  60. naturgesetz says:

    Some people have suggested that living chastely with one to whom one is sexually attracted is necessarily a near occasion of sin. I answer that what is a near occasion of sin is not the same for everybody, and while it could be a near occasion of sin for some, for others whose willpower is strong and whose prayer life is deep, it may well not be such an occasion of sin.

    Some people have suggested that living chastely with someone of the same sex necessarily gives scandal because people will conclude that the couple are engaging in sexual activity. I answer that such a conclusion would constitute the sin of rash judgment, and one is only obligated to avoid giving scandal to people who judge morally. I further answer that scandal consists in leading others to sin, and the fact that some may rashly judge the situation does not in itself encourage them to emulate the sin they presume to be occurring.

  61. Mark Shea says:

    Rubbish. Homosexual rape is the particularly acute form of “inhospitality” Genesis describes. Sodomy is called a sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance for a reason.

  62. Fiergenholt says:

    Mary B:
    “I keep hearing that Sodom was destroyed for the sin of inhospitality. This is incorrect and has only been defined this way recently. Read through the Gospels and the letters of St Paul if you need it spelled out for you irrefutably.”

    Gee whiz. I just said in an earlier post I was a church historian and that one of my gripes was folks who claim to “know” what is factually true when they really do not.

    AD twentieth century western Europeans simply have no concept of what was right and wrong in a Semitic culture that existed four thousand years before.

    Carefully read the four-thousand year old words of Genesis 19:8b. “They are guests in my house and I must protect them.” Violation of hospitality was the supreme sin of that culture and time. PERIOD.

  63. Why doesn’t Mr. Shea and the readers go to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph #2357, and read the last sentence. Have we not had enough imbecility in the Church in the last fifty years?

  64. Fiergenholdt. “What we historians have found is that different cultures and different times have different understandings of what is an objective evil. For instance, in the first half of the twentieth century, bi-racial sexuality (including dating and marriage) was considered a horrible evil BUT it was locked in time and space — not universal.”

    Except in questions of polygamy, adultery, incest with the opposite sex and divorce, it is easy to determine objective evil in human sexual relationship if one takes the Ten Commandments as the universal code of human behavior because they are rooted in the natural law.

    The natural law in sexual relationship is man+woman. Anything outside that is unnatural. There are no moral codes that say bi-racial sexuality (including marriage) was ever evil – that was a cultural norm you referred to, not moral. Moral norms transcend time and space. It is the cultural norms that can be locked in time and space.

  65. Fiergenholt. Unless the intent was to commit a slow suicide because of self-hatred, smoking may not be sinful at all. And “hate” has to translate into something concrete (in thoughts, words, or deeds) in order to define it as sin. Saying, “I hate it when you chew your food with your mouth open,” is not nearly as serious as when you deliberately plan to murder an unborn baby because you hate the idea of being pregnant for nine months.

  66. naturgesetz. “I answer that what is a near occasion of sin is not the same for everybody, and while it could be a near occasion of sin for some, for others whose willpower is strong and whose prayer life is deep, it may well not be such an occasion of sin.”

    Naturgesetz, remember living with someone whom you had been sexually intimate with involves TWO people – you and him. You may be so strong as to resist the temptation to have sex with him again, but is he strong enough to resist you? He will remain a temptation to you and you to him. He may not be a near occasion of sin for you, but how are you so sure that you are not a near occasion of sin to him? There are two souls in danger here – yours and his.

    You also wrote, “one is only obligated to avoid giving scandal to people who judge morally.”

    And how do you tell which people judge morally? Do children judge morally? Are you not obligated to avoid giving scandal to children?

    You also wrote: “Scandal consists in leading others to sin, and the fact that some may rashly judge the situation does not in itself encourage them to emulate the sin they presume to be occurring.”

    If a situation is glamourized or glorified in the media – such that it promotes sympathy and tolerance for the sin, it will desensitize vulnerable people’s ethical sense and may encourage emulation. Don’t say it can’t happen. Newspapers, books, movies, and now, the internet are powerful media that can portray good as evil and evil good.

  67. Fiergenholt you said, “Gee whiz. I just said in an earlier post I was a church historian.”

    You’re a church historian but only has one line in the Bible to deny that the sin of Sodom was not sodomy but inhospitality? Can’t it be a combination of sodomy and inhospitality with sodomy being the greater sin?

    Although inhospitality is a sin, it is clearly the homosexual behavior of the Sodomites that is singled out for special criticism in the account of their city’s destruction.

    The Letter of Jude Chapter VII records that Sodom and Gomorrah “acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lust.” Ezekiel says that Sodom committed “abominable things” (Ezek. 16:50), which could refer to homosexual and heterosexual acts of sin.

    Lot (being ever oh – so hospitable!) even offered his two virgin daughters in place of his guests, but the men of Sodom rejected the offer, preferring homosexual sex over heterosexual sex (Gen. 19:8–9). Ezekiel does allude to a lack of hospitality in saying that Sodom “did not aid the poor and needy” (Ezek. 16:49). So homosexual acts and a lack of hospitality both contributed to the destruction of Sodom, with the former being the far greater sin, the “abominable thing” that set off God’s wrath.

    But the Sodom incident is not the only time the Old Testament deals with homosexuality. An explicit condemnation is found in the book of Leviticus: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. . . . If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them” (Lev. 18:22, 20:13).

  68. Andy – Saint Augustine repented, was sorry for his sins, went to confession, and was forgiven by God (through his confessor.) Proof that Saint Augustine was sorry for his sins is that he and his mistress SEPARATED. MShea’s sainted friend apparently stayed with his male lover even as he appeared to be an exemplary practicing Catholic.

  69. pagansister says:

    IMO, Mark Shea, any form of rape ought to be a sin. What 2 consenting adults do to each other is no ones business. Key words here are “consenting adults”. Just a question: Who is supposed to do that vengeance you mention?

  70. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    How about mentioning the whole story as in Gen. 19:4-5 (New Jerusalem Bible) “:Send them out to us so that we can have intercourse with them.” The whole passage clearly regards homosexual relations, forced or otherwise, as something evil.
    Somehow I think it the arrogance of the modern mind –a mind awash in homosexualist propaganda–especially in some institutions of higher learning– that thousands of years later it can understand the Word of God better than the prophets, St. Paul, and all the Church Fathers and Church Doctors across the centuries.

  71. ‘approbation’ would have been better than appropriation

  72. Of course those things are possible. But where is the evidence for them occuring? Shae doesn’t even make that argument. He says that it’s simply not any of his business while at the same time referring to the gentleman as a saint. That is, at the least, problematic. If you’re going to call someone a saint (even if, or perhaps especially if, you don’t have the authority or competency to canonize them) then you shouldn’t play fast and loose with what that nomenclature means. Mark’s comments were probably well meaning but, at bottom, poorly thought out. And that is all of our businesses since Mark has made a public statement on the topic and presents himself as a Catholic public figure.

  73. Marie – Of course you know they were lovers, and continued to be lovers up until his death. Is it not possible that they lived together but were not physically involved? I know that St. Augustine repented to the extent of denying the child he fathered and the woman he was intimate with. Yet we do not judge him. But a person who has SSA we know cannot be celibate, cannot be truly chaste. The rush to judgment does each of us a grave wrong, but I fear for the person making the judgment.

  74. Fiergenholt says:

    Best we can tell, the incident about Sodom and Gomorrah would have occurred historically somewhere around two thousand years before the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. That story would have come down through time in an oral format for maybe a thousand years before it was transcribed into a written text during the Court of Solomon — maybe 950 years before Jesus. It is a pretty lurid story and thus those primitive cultures would have remembered it: partly — no doubt — because of the “tabu” attached to violating natural law here and thus having God’s searing judgement fall on those cities.

    Note, however, there is no reason to suspect that these sins were one-time to the day/hour of the biblical story. Even to this day, as you already have said, the names Sodom and Gomorrah have been locked in out myths and legends as wildly immoral with homosexual activity. Even in our available text from Genesis, we have suggestions that this overall immoral environment had been going on for some time.

    Lot was required by the moral guidelines of that primitive era, to protect his the victims. YES, his guests were angels — but his logic was not so much the immorality of the well-known and long-time homosexual actions of that city but because of the immediate incident of the “violation of hospitality.”

    Violation of Hospitality — in the mind of any primitive society, especially in the Middle East — is FAR FAR more evil than any homosexual actions. It was, in this case, the “straw-that-broke-the-camel’s-back” in this story.

    I stand by what I said.

  75. pagansister says:

    IF anyone has ever played the game “telephone”, then they know that the original sentence or words that started the game never are the same when it is said to the last person. So I ask—how can a story as old as Sodom & Gomorrah be anywhere near what actually MAY have happened?

  76. Anthony says:

    Any sexual relations of any kind outside of marriage, even lustful thoughts, done with full knowledge and full consent, are intrinsically bad and explicitly forbidden. This is not up for debate. God, His Church, the Bible, etc. have all made this clear. We cannot judge this man’s intentions nor total culpability, but such actions in certain circumstances must actively be avoided. We cannot water down the truth. Sex in marriage is only meant for the procreation of children, everything else is a waste and destructive. (This is all in the Catechism: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P88.HTM )

  77. Anthony says:

    That’s fine as long as you don’t actively or passively promote or approve of sinful behavior. If you let your neighbor stumble in sin without trying to help but instead encourage it, you yourself are guilty.

  78. After reading the article and many of the comments, I don’t know what to think. Are we just supposed to ignore those around us that are presumably living unchastely since it’s none of our business?

  79. Anthony says:

    It’s one thing to say (truthfully) that the Saints don’t always 100% scientifically explain everything perfectly as God would ideally want. They weren’t perfect, and neither are we. However, it’s another thing to imply that everyone who came before us (esp. Saints!) were stupid rubes who “didn’t know their left from their right”. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you are smarter or more experienced than they were. It doesn’t matter if they had smartphones or other such distractions nor that couldn’t explain quantum physics, these were very wise individuals.

    If the Saints, the Catechism, priests, bishops, Popes, the Bible, and laity all decry something as sinful, it should be avoided. Adultery is a sin against the sixth commandment, and that can never be ignored.

  80. Anthony says:

    Keep in mind that lust (and lustful thoughts) isn’t just forbidden to homosexuals, and some here apparently seem to overlook that fact. Anything done outside of marriage is sinful.


  81. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    I think the problem is the phrase “presumably living unchastely.” Emphasis on “presumably.” What something appears to be is sometimes different from what it is.

    I’m reminded of a story I posted here not long ago about a priest who was excoriated by a parishioner who saw him answering e-mails on his cell phone while he was kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament.

    The priest, in fact, was reading the Liturgy of the Hours.

    Sometimes, the worst sin we can commit is to reflexively believe the worst about another person, based on imperfect knowledge. I’ve done it myself, and I’ve experienced it myself.


  82. Anthony says:

    We know that truth the same way we know any truth, by tradition and experience. Or are you suggesting that nothing is true and nothing can be affirmed?

  83. Mark Shea says:

    How do you know this? I certainly don’t. And I’m the only source of information you have.

  84. Mark Shea says:

    “Presumably living unchastely”? I presume they were chaste. Why would you presume otherwise?

  85. Fiergenholt says:


    You know, I really enjoy having you as a regular on this blog.

    The biggest difference between the game of “telephone” and the oral traditions of the Jewish Scriptures — both Jews and Christians should believe — is the direct intervention of the Lord High God.

    – The event of Lot and Sodom and Gomorrah is generally located in time around 2000 bce but the actual textual written account in what we know today as the Book of Genesis was not composed until 950 bce or so.

    –The Law of Moses, as compiled in the Pentateuch, was orally composed between 1400 and 1200 bce but was not codified in writing until after the Babylonian exiles returned. Maybe those five books were finally edited around 450 bce.

    –The very first written account of the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth was not written down in hard copy until after the torching of Rome by Nero in 64 ce — even though those events happened likely from 28 ce to 34 ce.

    NOW, why do we Jews and Christians believe in the spiritual truths of those stories? Because the Lord High God protected those stories by having us humans incorporate them into our weekly liturgies. The eternal oral whirlwind of those who worship the Lord High God brings its own validity to the table.

    There have been doctoral dissertations written on the whole idea of “In the beginning was the Voice.”

  86. As for, Who is a Saint? Only the Pope can declare a person a saint after a lengthy roman canonization process I suppose. But Paul calls us all “saints”, right? (Oh boy.) Calls us, “the sweet aroma of Christ”. (Oh my.) He say’s “you are God’s temple”. (Come On! Stop it!) I here you saying. Or is this just good poetry? This stuff comes from Saint Paul himself, but doen’t believe a word of it, huh. Just because we doen’t feel like saints sometimes, dosen’t me that God looks at us any differently than…say…Francis of Assisi. I can see some of you frowning as I type. Well, all I can say is that God is not out there somewhere. (Pointing away from myself) God is in here (pointing to myself) (pointing to you too :) And I know some of you could be told this all day long everyday – and won’t believe it. It just sounds to blubbery, wishy washy, childish, to … protestant maybe. You know why, because you would have to point at everybody. You would have to include everybody. Yeah, even the gays. Even the gays!And until you can include everybody you’ve excluded yourself. But even then, God will find away to get at you. He will. …down the nights and down the day’s, down the arches of the years, down the labrynthine way’s of my on mind… God Bless. May God keep us all close.

  87. Revealed truth. Or do you think God is incapable of communicating effectively?

  88. As you say, Mark, you do not know. So be quiet on the subject. If God would give someone the call and grace to intervene directly, then he/she should do that – privately. But we cannot canonize or condemn any individual, publicly or privately. We do not know. Public actions or words are another topic, justly liable to commendation or condemnation.

  89. God is also definitely ‘out there’, a separate Trinity of Persons, the eternal and almighty, a destination of sorts, to Whom we turn, Whom we seek. God ‘within us’ is a choice each person must make daily, hourly, minute by minute — ‘If you love Me, keep My commandments’, which is made possible by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus and by being baptised into His body, the Church. We in Him, He in us.

  90. Mark Shea says:

    In other words, no person with same sex attraction may ever be praised publicly, because that could offend your pharisaic sensibilities.

  91. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    According to some history books I have read the “telephone” game only works the way descibed here with non-oral cultures that have come to rely on writings and recordings to pass information on correctly. Some primitive oral cultures still exist and the “telephone” game was played with some from such a culture and the words were uncannily the same at the end as at the start.

  92. Stephen E Dalton says:

    I find this notion that Perry and his buddy were chaste hilarious. Sodomites are known to be super-promiscuous and I don’t believe these guys were any exception to the rule.

  93. Why did you equate ‘praise’ with canonization? No person may be considered a Catholic saint publicly unless we know definitively if that person lived a life of repentance, ie disavowing sin and also attempting to not sin, as the Church defines sin. Also God alone declares who is canonized, through and according to the cononical procedures of His Church.

  94. Mark Shea says:

    Steve: “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.”

    Go and read this cautionary story, Steve. You are Rev. Hyde. Repent of being the vile little bigot you are before it is too late. You insult one of God’s finest children. May God forgive you.

  95. naturgesetz says:

    Stephen, even if what you say is true, you don’t know that Perry was a sodomite. So your comment is a complete non sequitur. And you have no solid basis for refusing to believe that “these guys” were an exception to your self-proclaimed “rule.” In other words, you appear to be guilty of the serious sin of rash judgment, which justifies Mark Shea’s characterization of you as a “vile … bigot.”

    Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church 2477 and 2358, and repent of your lack of charity and your false witness.

  96. Stephen E Dalton says:

    Messers Shea and Naturgesetz, Perry Lorenzo was an admitted sodomite. He openly claimed he was ‘gay’. He lived with another sodomite. Scriptures such as Romans 1:18-32 and books like The Rite Of Sodomy and Sacrilege show sodomites are super-promiscious. To believe that perverts who have thrown off the God ordained rules of how sex is to be used in marriage will limit themselves to one lifetime pardner is beyond belief and what is actually known about sodomite behaviour. Please, get your heads out of you know where and read the books I’ve mentioned so you will not make fools of yourselves defending the indefensible.

  97. Deacon Greg Kandra says:


    Do not confuse the sin with the sinner. Please.

    Read the catechism, beginning at 2357.

    Your hatred of sin is laudable. Your hatred of other Christians struggling with sin isn’t.


  98. Mark Shea says:

    No. He didn’t claim to be be gay. At least, not in my hearing. He didn’t broadcast his orientation because he wasn’t all about himself, but about Christ, the Faith, and the Western Tradition, which he loved. As I say, I didn’t even know about his companion till after his death. And no, I don’t know that his lived with is companion, so you don’t know that either. All you know is that his companion describes them as “monks in love” (meaning they were celibate). In a promiscuous gay community like Seattle’s, that really stands out as a witness to their commitment to the Faith (not a popular stand to take in the gay Catholic-hating community here in Seattle). I repeat therefore: you are a vile little bigot Steve who has libeled a good man. Learn from Rev. Hyde. It may be that your words here will be all that is remembered of you someday.

  99. Katie Angel says:

    But offering to allow them to rape his virgin daughters IS hospitable?

  100. Katie Angel says:

    So, one should not have relations with one’s spouse unless one is desirous of procreation? Does that mean that once I reached menopause, my late husband and I sould have stopped our intimacy? What if I were infertile? Would we be expected to refrain from marital relations? This is the biggest bunch of hogwash I think I ever heard. Sex in marriage is about renewing our love through physical union AS MUCH, if not more, than it is about making babies. Either you have never been married, or your marriage is awfully stale, if you think that the only reason to make love is to have a child. We would have welcomed children, if God has chosen to bless us with them, but it never happened. We ended up adopting our godchild and raising her and we thought, perhaps, that was the reason we never had any biological children.

  101. As I understand it we (Catholics) are no to confer either sainthood nor condemnation on the departed. We can let the Church as an agent of God make that call. God usually gives us a clue to the saints (miracles. incorruptible bodies). In the meanwhile if we claim someone as a saint they do not get the prayers they may need should they be sizzling in Purgatory.

  102. Deacon Norb says:


    “In the meanwhile if we claim someone as a saint they do not get the prayers they may need should they be sizzling in Purgatory.”

    Sentences two and three are fine. I’m not sure I agree with sentence one at all and I am absolutely positive I disagree with your last one. “Sizzling in Purgatory” has no basis in Catholic teaching at PERIOD. If you can support your first and last sentences from CCC, let me know the citations.

  103. Sentence one: I was taught all my life that we cannot know if someone, on death, was or was not in the state of grace. You must be in the state of grace or must make a “perfect” Act of Contrition to merit salvation. This is a fundamental teaching of our Faith!! So how can we know about someone’s last moments? How can we determine? We can only guess…
    You tell me that “sizzling in Purgatory” has no basis. Where did you come up with that?. My info comes from the New Advent’s dictionary (on the internet). There, under P for Purgatory you will scan down to “purgatorial fire”. There you will discover that the following saints: St. Thomas, St. Augustine (Enarration on Psalm 37, no.3), Gregory the Great, and St. Bonaventure maintain a belief in purgatorial fire. So these mere saints are my support (check for yourself), then let me see your opposing claim (citations).

  104. How long have you been a deacon and where did you study? Your challenge puzzles me…
    and I have given you a reply below..

  105. Deacon Norb— your questions have been answered, STILL waiting for your rebuttal.

  106. naturgesetz says:

    Stephen, “sodomite” is not a synonym for homosexually oriented. “Gay” is an ambiguous term which can in common usage mean either homosexually oriented or homosexually active. And homosexual activity may or may not include anal intercourse. So to call someone a sodomite just because they are called gay, or call themselves gay is unjustified; and to believe someone a sodomite just because they are called gay is the sin of rash judgment. Unless you know for a fact that an individual engages in anal intercourse, to call him a sodomite is sinful.

    Since you cannot possibly know that he was a sodomite, your “knowledge” about the promiscuity of sodomites is totally irrelevant.

    Please stop using words incorrectly and sinning in your words just because it gives you pleasure to display how deep your hatred is.

  107. Deacon Norb says:

    Well — let’s get started:

    –Your sentence one: “As I understand it we (Catholics) are not to confer either sainthood nor condemnation on the departed.” I agree with you that we are not to condemn the departed but the church has had a LONG traditional practice of identifying saints by “acclamation,” often shortly after their deaths. In fact, the huge crowd in the courtyard of St. Peter’s after the death of Pope John Paul II was dogmatically correct. The Church CAN instantaneously acclaim someone a saint. It chose not to do so in this case.

    –It has certainly “acclaimed” saints far more times than it has used the current practice of “canonization” as we know it. That “canonization” process did not really start until the Council of Trent: 1545 – 1563. You might try — if you have the energy — looking through a selected number of the THOUSANDS saints listed on [Catholic.com] and determine the ratio of those who have been forced to go through that convoluted process of “canonization” versus those who were “acclaimed.”

    –Notice I said “identifying.” I suspect, but obviously no one in this world will never know, that the actual number of the holy men and women of God who are already “processed” for eternal life are many MANY times more than out poor human church even has the resources to identify.

    –One final point — we do not “confer” sainthood. Only God does that. We attempt to identify known humans with “heroic” virtue so that we can venerate and emulate them. And — yes — we have — on occasion — identified individuals as “saints” who valid church historians now have doubts ever existed in our temporal world. Two come to mind: Saint Philomena and Saint Christopher.

    –But our human confusion goes the other way as well. I have baptized at least two infant girls with the name of “Paige.” Probably 99+% of so-called knowledgeable Roman Catholics concerned about using saints names for baptism would have started screaming at me because I approved that name. It is important to remember: (1) Bishops/priests/deacons do not “name” children — parents do. (2) The custom of using a saints name for baptism is customary — not dogmatic. (3) Besides, if you really want to follow that custom, then you need to have the courage to look up saints names on [Catholic.com].

    More later if I have the time.

  108. Fiergenholt says:

    Ah, yes! the legends of “purgatorial fire.”

    Patt — I hate to tell you — Deacon Norb already answered your last challenge. You, however, did not have the courage to look it up. There is absolutely no reference to the “fires of Purgatory” in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: CCC. Find the citations if you can and post them.

    Those insights you provided from the teachings of those saints you mentioned are nothing more than “private revelation.” They are not dogmatic or doctrinal at all.

  109. Deacon Norb says:

    “f” — buddy ! Where did you come from? I thought you were on your annual pilgrimage to Western Nebraska to search out and photograph active Minuteman Missile silos? You cannot find a WiFi cell out in those boondocks there, can you?

    For Patt: My buddy “f” is correct. I already told you my source — CCC– and I stand on what I said. The fact that there is a “purgatorial state” for all who are less than perfect when they die is solid Catholic doctrine. There is nothing in defined doctrine that says that this “purgatorial state” is a place of fire. Like any other “private revelation,” you — or any other layman — are welcome to believe that fact as long as you keep it to yourself and do not force that fact into the public discussions as a point of magisterial teaching.

    FYI: I have been a correspondent to this blog for almost four years; been a deacon for over 30 years; have an earned doctorate.

  110. Yes, I quote mere saints as I have said. Father Schouppe, SJ wrote a book on Purgatory, describing it as a place of suffering, and many revelations by saints have spoken of Purgatorial fire. We can believe in revelation or not. I too–will stick to my sources and I remain undaunted by your replies. I’ll follow saints who get an Imprimatur on their pronouncements on such subjects. A lot of changes continue to happen in the Church and I hardly trust much of what continues to evolve over the past 40 years. A lot of errors continue to swirl along with the watering down of the Faith. I believe in Church doctrine and have said nothing contrary.

  111. F–it seems the Deacon can type his own replies… without your input. He sounds like a big boy.

  112. pagansister says:

    Anthony, I’m suggesting that the person who is continuing the oral tradition probably changes and embellishes it somewhat.

  113. pagansister says:

    Thanks for the “history lessons” Fiergenholt. Interesting indeed.

  114. Deacon Norb says:


    You probably already know that the Gospel of Mark was the first one actually written (AD 64). It is also the shortest. The Gospel According to Matthew was the second one of the four actually written (after AD 70) and it is slightly longer. The longest of the Synoptic Gospels is Luke — the last one of the Synoptics committed to a written text (likely after AD 74).

    NOW, examine any story found in all three and you will find that Mark’s account of any given story is always the shortest. Compare the three accounts of the Temptation of Jesus in the Desert and you will see what I mean.

    There are no “Infancy Narratives” in Mark; Matthew’s narrative of the infancy of Jesus — where Joseph is the hero — is shorter than Luke’s — where Mary is the heroine.

    The evidence of an oral compositional paradigm in the creation of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures is overpowering.

    BUT you already knew all that!

  115. Monsignor Charles Pope wrote:”Purgatory, The Biblical Roots of a sensible Teaching”. In the article he sites: Cor. 3:13-15 . Monsignor’s words expelling the passage: “Hence there must be some place of purifying fire through which some pass in the life to come. Our Catholic tradition calls this Purgatory”. again “on the day of judgement what is imperfect or unbecoming will be burned away.”

  116. Deacon Norb says:

    To continue:

    There are FIVE levels of Spiritual “truths” (bad word but I’m not sure what other one works) in our church:

    –Christian Doctrine: these are the infallible truths that are not only taught by Roman Catholicism but also by all of Christianity: examples include, the Virgin Birth of Jesus of Nazareth; Jesus was truly God and truly man; Jesus truly died and was truly raised. — in other words the truths of the Apostles Creed and Nicene Creed.

    –Catholic Dogma: these are infallible truths taught uniquely by Roman Catholicism: the importance in salvation history of the role of Lady Mary of Nazareth; the importance in this world of the ministry and power of the Bishop of Rome (our Pope).

    –Catholic Magisterial teachings: these are those truths that have passed the test of time and are imbedded in such human expressions as the Papal Encyclicals; proclamations of the various Church Councils; etc. Bottom line: teachings of the popes and councils.

    –Good order and discipline: These truths are time and place constrained to our everyday human experience worshiping in our temporal world. The individual bishops themselves have the final decision here: posture and language and music at Mass and other ceremonies; colors of vestments; who is ordained to what office; how are diocese and parishes humanly organized; what architecture is approved; what saints are venerated. In essence, this category covers the public “face” of our church in our own specific time. Each individual bishop has a great deal of authority here but he can — and very often is — counter-manded by his successor bishop. The Code of Canon Law does help in providing guidance here but — in case you did not know it — bishops have the rarely used right to “abrogate” sections of Canon Law so that they do not apply to the laity in their own diocese.

    –Private prayer and devotion: Our church really does not care how you pray. You can pray in every language under heaven (and even heavenly ones); you can pray standing on your head (although I have no idea why you might want to); you can pray with a prayer shawl or a rosary or not; you can pray using someone else’s composed words or not; you can even pray for the intercession of a local “saint” who has not yet been canonized. The church really doesn’t care, EXCEPT if you try and move your own private devotion into the public domain. Bishops are very jealous about that authority.
    Now to the question at hand: An “imprimatur” is only required for books of ceremonies and liturgy; books that are used to teach in theological settings (such as seminaries); local editions of Sacred Scripture; and a few very minor other items. The “imprimatur” is not a POSITIVE assertion that everything in the book is dogmatic or doctrinal and that you must believe it in order to be saved; what it is is a NEGATIVE assertion that nothing in the book offends or violates Catholic dogma or Christian Doctrine.

    Can two books, with diametrically opposed viewpoints on the same issue, both be validly issued “Imprimaturs”? YES — providing that nothing in either book violates those top two listed “truths.”

    Truth of the matter is, I doubt if the books you cite were given “imprimaturs” after the promulgation of the recent Code of Canon Law in 1983. Like I said, those works are in the area of private prayer and revelation. Certainly important to you but not at all part of the public voice of our church.

  117. Anthony Nichols says:

    I have read the Article and as a Roman Catholic, who happens to have Same Sex Attractions (SSA), I too would have to say I was confused. Even though I have SSA I would not want people to assume I am sexually active (I’m not by choice). On the other hand I would not live with another male, weather I was attracted to them or not, to avoid scandal. Now I know that its between me and GOD btu I know that as a Catholic I must be aware that what I do, what I say, and how I live, wether seen or unseen can cause another to immitate me for the good or for the bad. Can I have Friends who are also SSA? Yes if we can be non-sexual. Can I live with someone who is also SSA yes if I am not sexually attracted to them and they to me, However being that we have SSA it can cause scandal and other may assume we are sexually active which is not good because wether we are or not we are endorsing a living situation that is not good.

Leave a Comment