Good Video On Homosexuality And The Church

Good Video On Homosexuality And The Church April 28, 2014

My Patheos Catholic blog-pal Frank Weathers posted this video on Gay Catholic Whatnot.

Overall, it’s really good. Watch:

Some thoughts:

  • First, out of what central casting office did they get the priest? Can I get one like that for my parish?
  • Overall, this is truly excellent. If only for the production values. Lord deliver us from earnest Christian shlock! This is exquisitely produced, and it’s a virtue in and of itself.
  • It really is good overall, faithful to the Catechism–the whole Catechism–and humanity.
  • In particular, one very very important point: it doesn’t hesitate to admit that the Church has failed in many ways pastorally with homosexual person. This, I believe, is important. I do have some quibbles though.
  • Firstly, at times, the video does veer a bit too close to “oh poor you” condescension. Gay people aren’t victims, or they’re not more victims than anybody else. They’re human.
  • Secondly, the video seems close to endorsing, or at least uncritically repeats, dubious/pseudo-scientifical ideas about purported psychological origins of same sex attraction (my mother/father was distant, I didn’t get the same-sex attention I needed growing up and so it turned into same-sex attraction, etc.).
  • More generally, not all SSA people experience the “gay lifestyle” as this addiction-like prison from which they need to be freed; many of them are quite comfortable in this lifestyle and experience no distress from their orientation. I don’t think this video will appeal to them.

But again, overall, it’s a really good effort. If only this was the baseline for catechetical efforts!


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  • Faithr

    Well, I do think gays have been poorly treated for, you know, centuries, so probably I do think they’ve been especially demeaned in many ways. Of course people can be victims in all sorts of ways. But I think people need to hear about their struggles so that they realize the depth of despair they can feel. Also, to your point about the film maybe dwelling too much on the brokenness of their childhoods, they did have the one woman talk about how it was just a friendship that morphed into being lovers. She didn’t seem to have the same level of pain and alienation. I don’t know if all that many people living a gay lifestyle are so very comfortable with it. I think while some may be, because it is a dysfunctional way to live, it must have some darker levels to it that are currently not being portrayed in the media. The one thing that struck me was how they kept calling it SSA. I know gay people who take offense at that. They are gay! They want to identify as gay people and not people with same sex attraction. They don’t like the phraseology. And finally I will say that I was very impressed by the film and I am so happy to be Catholic!

  • $102828240

    I guess you’re right about this video being a little to “larmoyant” for some gays. Many gays I know are leading happy (often monogamous) lives. They don’t feel the rejection or loneliness that the protoganists of this video have experienced.

    • radiofreerome

      Thanks for teaching me an new word!

      • $102828240

        I suppose it is “larmoyant” and not “monogamous” that was new to you 😉

    • Sister S

      Monagamy is relative here. If the church, enacted a rite of christian friendship for gays and made it indissoluble, it would still be different from a civil marriage, where monagamy, means as long as we want to be in this relationship.

  • Excellent? Give me a break.

    There is no “third way” in here – just the same – old, same – old,hate the sin but love the sinner. Far from being “faithful to Catholic teaching (all of it)”, it does nothing of the kind – because Catholic teaching on the subject is so riddled with internal contradictions, it is impossible to be faithful to all of it.

    For example, John Paul’s renowned theology of the body makes it crystal clear that
    celibacy is a gift, which must not be imposed, but can only be embraced by those for whom it is possible. Yet the Catholic Church attempts to impose it absolutely on all gay men and lesbians.

    The Catechism states clearly that we much all embrace our sexual identity – but when gay or lesbian Catholics do, as a simple matter of honesty and integrity, we risk being excluded from Catholic employment and lay ministry.

    There is indeed a third way, as I have experienced in my own life – but it is not the way promoted in this video. It is however, a way that I have come to after extensive prayer, study and spiritual direction (including a six day silent, directed retreat of such intensity that my regular spiritual director (a Jesuit priest with a doctorate in spirituality) later described as a genuinely mystical experience, a direct encounter with God.

    That third way, which has brought me to an ever deeper involvement in the life of the Church and engagement with the scriptures, is to accept the truth of something that Pope Benedict referred to, in a reflection on the execution and later rehabilitation of St Joan of Arc: that sometimes the theologians of the Church are simply wrong – and that on this matter, they clearly are so.

    • Jesuits again. Why do Jesuits always, when confronted with hard to understand theology, do away with the theology?

    • Faithr

      You had your own personal revelation that just happened to make your life easier for you! How about that! When you are like Joan of Arc, able to lead an army to victory in a miraculous way and you give your life up for it, then we’ll reconsider the theology, hmmm?

    • AnneG

      Terence, you aren’t saying that “Thous shalt not commit adultery,” is in error, are you? Because if that’s what your revelation revealed, you may want to go on another retreat.
      Everyone, everyone, everyone is called to chastity.

    • Sister S

      You are trying to compare civil marriage to sacramental marriage.
      A sacramental marriage is not possible for everbody. Even heterosexual catholics who cannot enter into it are called to be celibate.

      If they can accept it, why can’t you?

  • I think I am not the intended audience for the video, I spent the first 20 minutes hating it and the last 20 minutes loving it.

    But yes, there are many so confirmed in sin that they are comfortable in it; without them, hell would be unpopulated entirely, because God doesn’t leave people behind who ask for his help.

  • Charlotte Ward

    I have to just say thank you for creating this video. I have never understood the whole Church’s teaching on this and really believe that this could be the next realization and healing in our society… for both those with homo and heterosexual feelings! I love how it said we are all called to this chaste life and honestly I hadn’t seen the whole picture of chastity without its other half. I am blown away and they have inspired me to continue pursing a chaste life both now and until the end. Thank you. Thank you. Praying for your movement and praying that we can be the Love, the hands and feet of Christ, loving all people— because we all have our crosses… a million applauses from me.

  • Aaron Taylor

    ” … More generally, not all SSA people experience the “gay lifestyle” as this addiction-like prison from which they need to be freed; many of them are quite comfortable in this lifestyle and experience no distress from their orientation. I don’t think this video will appeal to them … ”

    Right. But isn’t this the most important point? Unless the video will appeal to those people, it is largely preaching to the choir.

    • radiofreerome

      No, it’s a condescending feel-good film. It makes heterosexual Catholics comfortable with treating gays as lesser human beings by allowing those heteorsexuals to cry a few crocodile tears over the way those bad Evangelicals act.

      • Sister S

        There is no current civil definition of marriage that holds marriage to be lifelong – indissisoluble.

        If the church enacts a rite of christian friendship for gays and makes it indissoluble, it would still be of a different nature than gay civil marriage.

        • Dagnabbit_42


          The Medieval Church had among its liturgies (and could restore at will) a rite like that which you have in mind (I think). And, the Eastern Orthodox still have it as an active rite, although it’s not frequently used.

          But, I don’t know why you are applying that rite towards persons with SSA. It seems to me that the Church might recommend that persons with SSA avoid entering such a bond.

          The rite in question is much like a serious, adult form of “blood brotherhood” or “blood sisterhood” (though probably without cutting one’s palms with a pocketknife!). It is a covenant, because it is a form of adoption: One becomes “brother” or “sister” to the other person. One undertakes the other person’s family obligations; e.g. if your “brother” has an elderly mother who needs to be cared for, and the “brother” pre-deceases her, you are obligated to care for his mother.

          But persons who are sexually attracted towards one another are, of all people, the least appropriate candidates for such a rite. It is explicitly non-sexual: One does not have sex with one’s brother or sister!

          At any rate, it is possible for the Church to bring back such a liturgical practice at will, since it falls under the category of the disciplines (rather than the dogmas) of the Church. Just like they brought back the permanent diaconate, they could bring back this sort of “spiritual brotherhood adoption.”

          But I suspect that RIGHT NOW, they would fear to do so: They would not wish to, by offering such a rite, tempt persons to enter it for (sexual) purposes which distort or contradict the (fraternal) intent of the rite.

        • suigenerous

          Exactly. Civil marriage is not the sacrament of marriage. Civil marriage is not recognized as marriage in eyes of the Roman Catholic Church. Then why the objection to gay couples being married in civil ceremonies? Civil marriages with which the RCC has no interaction at all. My husband and I were married in a ceremony at our (liturgically high church, btw) Episcopal Church parish, licensed by our US state. Neither of us have any interaction with the RCC.

          I was raised Roman Catholic, as was my husband. We finally left for good when the RCC parish we went to had a demonstration in favor of Prop 8 in October 2008 on the grounds of the parish (that faced the local street) in a very liberal part of Los Angeles. They couldn’t have thought they were influencing anyone toward Prop 8 (our area voted 87% no on 8) – it was pouring salt in a wound.

          It is the height of hypocrisy for a church to not recognize civil marriages, and then work hard to delegimize these civil marriages which they don’t recognize as valid in their theology and practice. On top of that, the work to ban these marriages, or short of that stigmatize them in the broader society is limited to those of gay couples. When was the last time the RCC made an effort to ban divorce in civil marriage? And of course divorce has a much much larger effect in marriage and on society than gay couples will ever have.

  • Beth Turner

    Why are those ideas pseudo-scientific and dubious? I thought they were observations made based on evidence (correlation, that is), even if they don’t apply to all gay people.

  • AnneG

    I thought the video does a good job of outlining Catholic theology” no one has mentioned the issue of abuse and misformed sexuality because of premature sexualization and lack of formation, although I see that in these folks in the film and in those I know. Pascal, the psychology is not pseudo, rather, found in many, many studies of people with SSA and other sexual problems.
    No, it won’t appeal to everyone, nothing does. Each of us has our own path to God through Jesus. That should be the point and is the point of this film.

    • $102828240

      As far as I know, there is growing consensus over the fact that homosexuality is mainly a “hard wired” condition from birth. E.g. triggered by the fact that after having had several consecutive male babies, a mother produces an excess of female hormones during her pregnancy of another male child (as a sort of defence reaction against the male “intruder”). These hormones influence the development of the child in the womb, causing an enhanced probability of homosexuality. This is of course not the only explanation. There are gay men who are only child, or who just have elder sisters.
      And yes, some gay people have experienced problems like abuse, bad relations with parents etc. Maybe even more often then straight people. But the question is which way the causality works. Being different (maybe a little effeminate, often bad at sports, generally not fitting in, you name it) can lead to all kinds trouble. On this theory, in a more caring society, with more compassionate families, children with these kinds of differences will still turn out gay, but they are not more likely to suffer from psychological problems (e.g. like those the people in the film are telling us about). Bottom line is: what does the Church do now (we know what the Church did in the past) to create an environment for children to develop into happy, balanced persons. Who, when they turn out gay, can decide for themselves wether they follow the Churches teaching on homosexuality or not. And if they do, this is not because they become miserable when living a gay lifestyle, but because they love Christ and passionately want to trust His Church and it’s teaching.

      • The consensus does not develop in a vacuum. Personally I think the politics around the question is so hot that the science gets perverted pretty bad. The tail wags the dog and we get “science” that serves a political agenda but does not help us get at the truth. Any scientist knows that politically incorrect research data on homosexuality will end you academic career.

        Secondly, one beautiful thing about Catholic teaching here is that you don’t have to be “born that way.” If your theology is based on an assertion that you didn’t choose to be gay then any doubt raised in your mind on that question throws into question your salvation and your moral goodness. These men and women are not in that boat. Catholic teaching is true no matter how you arrives at your same-sex attraction. So you don’t have to avoid the question.

        Thirdly, the video does not say anything about causation. Some people told stories about strange upbringings. Some of them did not. If that is part of your self understanding then talk about it. If it isn’t then don’t. I think that is a healthier message. If you see you abuse as tied up with your homosexuality there are a lot of secular people who won’t listen to that. Homosexuality can’t be associated with anything negative. Again, with Catholicism it might or might not be. What is your story?

        • $102828240

          I’m not sure I get what you mean in your last two sentences. Maybe it’s because I’m not a native English speaker.

          • Sister S

            The origins of an attraction do not count here. Attractions are neutral, in catholicism. They are not good or bad.

      • Dagnabbit_42


        I think that the “growing consensus” you describe is sufficiently tainted by the politically correct dogmatism of academia, and by funding disparities, to be trusted.

        That doesn’t mean it’s all wrong. But the academic climate in which such consensus is formed is so closed and brutal and full of Salem-like witch-hunts that it is very unlikely to be completely right.

        I do not know whether it will be helpful, but I think my own view of the “cause/origin” of Same-Sex Attraction is more balanced:

        1. There are contributing, but not decisive, genetic factors;

        2. There are contributing, but not decisive, prenatal-development factors (especially hormonal);

        3. There are contributing, but not decisive, puberty-development factors (especially hormonal);

        4. There are contributing, but not decisive, social/cultural factors;

        5. There are contributing, but not decisive, family-intimacy factors;

        6. There are contributing, but not decisive, early-sexualization factors;

        7. There are contributing, but not decisive, experiential (habituation) factors.

        Which is to say:

        1. If you have the kind of genetic makeup which tends to contribute to SSA; and/or,

        2. If you have the kind of prenatal development, especially as regards balance of hormones, which tends to contribute to SSA; and/or;

        3. If you have the kind of development during puberty, especially as regards balance of hormones, which tends to contribute to SSA; and/or;

        4. If you live in the kind of society which tends — sometimes through approval, sometimes through repression, and sometimes merely by culturally regarding human sexuality in terms of individual pleasure rather than in terms of dynasty-building — to contribute to SSA; and/or;

        5. If you experience the kind of problems of familial interpersonal intimacy and acceptance which tends to contribute to SSA; and/or;

        6. If you experience sexual abuse or other kinds of early sexualization which tend to contribute to SSA; and/or;

        7. If you experience being brought to orgasm through same-sex activity and/or repeatedly misconstrue non-sexual attraction as sexual through “inaccurate transposition”;

        …THEN, the odds increase that you will experience Same Sex Attraction in the future.

        As I say: I don’t know if you’ll find that helpful or not.

        But it seems to me that THAT approach makes sense of the available DATA.

        By theorizing that developed sexual preferences can emerge from many sources, none of which are overwhelming, it accounts for the disproportionate number of SSA persons who encountered childhood sex abuse, or distant fathers, or whatnot, but admits that SSA does not “come from” such experiences…which it obviously doesn’t. (If it did, all gays would have had distant fathers or histories of abuse, which they don’t; and all persons with distant fathers or histories of abuse would be gay, which they aren’t.)

        Likewise, it acknowledges the fact that there seems to be a genetic component, but it is limited: Of any pair of identical twins, if one has SSA, the odds of the other having SSA go up significantly…but they don’t get anywhere near 100%.

        And, I think the last item — habituation — deals with a part of the equation that people too-often ignore; namely, the fact that when we do stuff, we develop habits…especially when those actions bring significant pleasure-rewards in the form of orgasm or even mere emotional intimacy. Human sexuality is habit-forming (obviously!) and the habits associated with it are hard to break (ugh, I just had an 80’s Peter Cetera Chicago flashback). Fetishes — of many weird kinds, all of which one can locate somewhere on the Internet — form strong habits, especially when they are transgressive and associated with a mixture of eroticism and fight-or-flight fear-response. Same Sex Attraction is not merely a “Fetish”; but with all human sexual responses it shares the same neurons, with their capacity for habituation.

        • $102828240

          Thanks for your well balanced comment. I think I agree with you on the multifaceted causes of homosexuality. My point was that the video is implicitly focussing too much on the last 4 or 5 of your list. And so it suggests all/many gay people are having major issues with parents, sexual abuse, not fitting in etc.

  • radiofreerome

    “Disordered affections?” Utterly evil. What’s next? Will the Catholic Church make lobotomies for gays a sacrament so gays will cease to love whom we love?

    I’d rather be killed.

    • Sister S

      The church sees all sexual acts outside of a male- female marriage as disordered.
      It’s not the people, but the actions.

      • radiofreerome

        The Church doesn’t demand that heterosexuals be treated as untouchables for what they MIGHT do. The Church does demand that homosexuals be treated as second class citizens and untouchables whether they are celibate or not. It is evil.

    • Dagnabbit_42

      And, the Church sees all voluntarily contracepted sexual acts as intrinsically disordered.

      So, the married couple who engage in sexual intercourse when the wife might be fertile, using a condom to prevent conception, are engaging in an act which is disordered in a fashion similar to the way in which gay sex acts are disordered.

      To the degree to which they are aware of the disordered nature of such acts, and still commit them, they thereby sin; moreover, they do not have the excuse of a misdirected sexual “wiring” or “transposition” as a homosexual couple would. (What I mean is: Some people genuinely experience sexual attraction specifically towards same-sex persons; but nobody genuinely experiences sexual attraction towards having condom-sex as opposed to non-condom sex. The former is under obvious emotional influence; the latter is always “in cold blood,” so to speak.) Consequently, the moral culpability of the contracepting married couple is arguably greater than that of the persons with SSA.

      And yet, so many married persons claim to be Catholic despite rejecting this teaching and making no conscious effort to overcome their difficulties with it. That they make no effort to overcome their difficulties with it and to work their way towards an acceptance of it makes the claim to be “Catholic” objectively false, I think.

      At any rate, I think a person with SSA need not be concerned with the such persons when they claim to be “Catholic” and proceed to opine one way or the other about the Church’s teaching regarding same-sex attraction. Their hypocrisy undermines their credibility.

      Obedient Catholics, on the other hand, are a different matter. If they are Catholics with SSA who live chastely; or (to a lesser but non-negligible degree) if they are married Catholics who live in accord with the Church’s teachings on contraception in spite of their initial misgivings or the difficulties that arise as a result, then I think their words and opinions need to be heard charitably.

      • radiofreerome

        The institutional church actively engages in unjust discrimination against gays, celibate or not, in employment, education, military service, etc. The Church does this at all ages. It is reprehensible.

        The Church supported known banning gays, celibate or not, from military service. The Church support allowing charter schools to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, not activity. The church supports the right of any employer to fire gays and lesbians celibate or not by fighting to keep that prerogative legal.

        The Church enables you as a Catholic a blackmailer and a bigot if you choose to be.

  • More generally, not all SSA people experience the “gay lifestyle” as this addiction-like prison from which they need to be freed; many of them are quite comfortable in this lifestyle and experience no distress from their orientation. I don’t think this video will appeal to them.

    Again, not all the people in the video saw the gay lifestyle as a prison. One man said he was happy having sex with his partner and they chose to stop because of what the bible said and what the church said. That led to them breaking up.

    The question of Catholicism is, “Is it true?” The question of, “Can I see some real short term benefits?” is sort of irrelevant. I say “sort of” because logically it is irrelevant yet practically it matters a lot.

  • Sue

    I very much doubt this will see the light of day here but here we go. Putting celibacy to one side for a second… Catholic doctrine insists that homosexuals should be treated with respect and sensitivity. You can take the video on face value – which might make some people feel a little better about being part of the alleged compassion of the Church, or if you are even a little bit curious why some people within and outside the Catholic Church are being heavily critical of this film click on this link. It’s a lengthy read so you need a cup of coffee. False compassion is worse than no compassion at all I feel. Remember, everything you read is backed up by The Third Way participant’s own words which you have been provided links to. A sad state of affairs I feel. Having said that, I know and am related to many wonderful Catholics – love to all if you are reading this. You know me – this is nothing personal. I can never let a bully etc go unchallenged – and I presume that’s why you might half like me ; -)

  • Dagnabbit_42

    IF one is so angered by this video that one cannot respond calmly; or,

    IF one is so enthusiastic about it that one is bewildered by — and forced to oversimplify or write off with contempt — the response of those whom it angers;

    THEN, that one is among those of whom it can be truly said: They cannot fruitfully discuss this topic, because they do not either sufficiently KNOW, or sufficiently LOVE one another…yet.

    Not sure what to do about that…except: Pray that the Holy Spirit, through shared experiences in non-threatening venues wherein we are not distracted by divisive topics and can come to see one another as people, will draw us towards one another and towards Jesus Christ, that we may know and love one another.