Another Gay Person I Regard as a Fine Catholic

Another Gay Person I Regard as a Fine Catholic August 10, 2013

…turns out to be Simcha Fisher’s brother! And his name turn out not to be Steve Gershom but Joseph Prever.

Thanks to Pope Francis’ recent remarks, I can now repeat a point I made a while back: namely that, like it or not “gay” is now the word commonly used in English to denote someone who experiences homosexual attraction, whether they act on it or not. Sorry, but that’s how English usage is, just as “love” is a word of broad and imprecise meaning too. So to speak of a “gay” person may be to speak of a chaste or an unchaste person. You can’t make assumptions. You have to ask (if you want to pry into somebody’s sex life, that is). Or you have to take their word for it if they tell you. So when Steve/Joey says “Catholic, gay, and fine with it” and goes on to explain that Catholic (and the Church’s complete teaching on, among other things, chastity) is the most important thing for him, then you accept that and rejoice in the fact that a gay guy loves Jesus Christ and his Holy Church and is obedient to His teaching. You don’t obsess over the fact that he says “gay” and not “same-sex attracted”. You don’t leap to stupid accusations that speaking well of a gay Catholic is dissent from Church teaching and gin up a pitchfork-waving mob about it. You be glad that there is a robust witness to Jesus Christ in the midst of a community that is searching for the love of God in all the wrong places. You, in a word, get out of Fortress Katolicus and into the the work of evangelization and welcome gay people who want to help.

That said, Joey is right: The brunt of the hostility he’s going to face–and is facing–will come not from the small hothouse of Combox Inquisitor “Conservative” Catholics for his being gay. It will come from unchaste, rigidly intolerant gays for his being Catholic and choosing to be chaste. People like Joey are massively threatening to such people, because they show that it can be done and should be done. The Spirit of the Age is not tolerant of such crimes. He’s a brave man. He should have the support of all people who love Jesus and love the Faith.

Update: My friend Ron Belgau disagrees with me and Joey about it being hard to come out as chaste than as gay:

I actually doubt that Joey is right. I’ve been out as a gay Catholic who supports Church teaching for more than 15 years now. By a very large margin, the worst reactions have come from conservative Catholic inquisitors. If they only lived in comboboxes, they would be irritating, but ignorable. The unfortunate problem is that they also run Catholic institutions.

When the unchaste folk manage to be as destructive as the orthodox, I’ll let you know. But by far the worst instances of bullying and discrimination I have experienced as a Catholic who openly professes the Church’s teaching on homosexuality have come from the orthodox, not the unchaste.

It’s worth remembering that it wasn’t the tax collectors and prostitutes who conspired to murder Christ.

Fair enough. I’m not going to argue with experience. It’s a shame and a scandal if Ron’s experience is a broad one in the Church. Gay people who are faithful to the Church’s teaching bear a cross and should be honored, not punished, for it. What is the matter with people?

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  • Ron Belgau

    I actually doubt that Joey is right. I’ve been out as a gay Catholic who supports Church teaching for more than 15 years now. By a very large margin, the worst reactions have come from conservative Catholic inquisitors. If they only lived in comboboxes, they would be irritating, but ignorable. The unfortunate problem is that they also run Catholic institutions.

    When the unchaste folk manage to be as destructive as the orthodox, I’ll let you know. But by far the worst instances of bullying and discrimination I have experienced as a Catholic who openly professes the Church’s teaching on homosexuality have come from the orthodox, not the unchaste.

    It’s worth remembering that it wasn’t the tax collectors and prostitutes who conspired to murder Christ.

    • chezami

      Fair enough. No arging with experience. I’m sorry to hear that. It’s wrong and evil.

      • bearing

        Haven’t you observed that some Catholics frequently still traffic in stereotypes, slurs, and cruel jokes about people who identify as gay, or whose dress and/or appearance falls outside of gender norms? This must be terribly hurtful to people who are trying to navigate a difficult situation, trying to figure out where “identity” ends and “choices” begin.

        And it isn’t appropriate, either, to talk in a dehumanizing way about people who are enmeshed in an unchaste lifestyle and not trying to get out of it at this time. We are called to see people as people first, not just the sum of their most obvious behaviors. Even though the world rejects the notion, we Catholics are supposed to view people who identify as gay and who experience same-sex attraction as people who live with a difficult condition, not as defective, lesser beings nor as incorrigible reprobates who somehow made themselves the way they are on purpose. They are no more nor less flawed and in need of redemption than any of us.

        Re: labels, I choose not to describe anyone with the label “gay” or “homosexual” because I do not have a say in anyone else’s identity, and I prefer to ust the terms “experiences same-sex attraction” or “identifies as gay.” But I would never presume to tell someone how he must describe himself.

    • Ron Belgau

      I should add that I’ve also had many positive experiences with supportive orthodox Catholics. But then again, my negative experiences with the unchaste have been mostly confined to irritating comments in comboboxes, while the orthodox have managed to reach out and do damage in real life (in part because I live my life in Catholic circles, and so Catholics have many more immediate opportunities to do harm than the unchaste do. I suppose if I worked at a gay bar, I might get fired for holding the views I hold, but that’s not where I have decided to live my life).

      I don’t want to suggest that the experience in the Church is overwhelmingly negative–it is not, and many have been supportive. But the idea that the orthodox will receive this better than the unchaste just isn’t borne out in my experience. Many orthodox will be supportive, much more supportive than the unchaste. But the worst negative responses, in my experience, have come from the orthodox, not the unchaste.

      Again, if I immersed myself in the world of the unchaste, I would probably run up against a lot more discrimination for my chastity. But that’s not where I live my life, and so I have to deal with the small number of orthodox who are actively hostile, and the larger number who are afraid to speak or act in defense of chaste gay people when one of the small number of bad eggs is on the rampage.

    • JohnMt427

      I’m curious, exactly what type of hostility have you received from the so-called Catholic inquisitors that in your estimation tends to be some of the worst reactions you got? Did they do things like call you an expletive? Did they shun you? Act weird around you?

      I can only speak from my experience, but the worst reactions I have witnessed came in the form of ignorance (like insisting that we should not use the word “gay” to describe such a person), and lack of tactfulness either in the form of being weirded out and withdrawing from the person, or becoming overly condescending and preachy.

    • Ed Mechmann

      I’m very sorry to hear this Ron. I work for the Archdiocese of New York, and we have had several men from Courage speak at our pro-life events. The response has always been overwhelmingly positive and supportive. There are more people who support you than oppose you!

  • Thinkling

    Yesterday a lot of folks linked to Joey’s story with a money quote. Paraphrased, “It is harder to come out as chaste than to come out as gay.” This is true, and it speaks volumes and volumes about our culture.

    I will be quoting that statement for a long time. God Bless Joey and all those who carry a similar cross.

  • Tom Sundaram

    I would corroborate what Ron says from what I have seen since my friend and classmate Joshua wrote his articles in First Things AND as a Dominican novice in San Francisco talking to gay Catholics.

    I would also note that the moral gravity is something to consider. When someone who does not come from the Catholic tradition of respecting chastity as a virtue and a desirable thing, or celibacy as a practice uniting God and creation on the Cross in a powerful expression of the Divine love, says that chastity is weird or undesirable, all this says minimally nowadays is that they have never met someone who has lived out genuine chastity in their life. This is, I think, the majority of my generation, those in their 20s, and younger too, I suppose. It’s tough times for chastity and therefore for those struggling to be chaste, and everybody knows this already. So it bears the excuse of general ignorance and the bad examples of St. Patrick’s Day Past.

    But when Catholics — Catholics professing to be models of orthodoxy and orthopraxy — Catholics taking it upon themselves to state the Church’s doctrine and its pastoral implications in a public and global medium! — dare to judge their brothers and sisters in the Catholic faith, publicly, from, as you put it, Fortress Katolicus, I think angels take on bodies just so that they can shed tears for human ingratitude. Sure, one might encounter honest but painful ignorance far more often than we encounter open material treachery against the Mystical Body of Christ; but only one of these ends up getting you chewed on by Satan in Dante’s Inferno. And every time we use the letter of Church teaching to subvert the message of the saving love of Our Lord, we do something far worse than those who lash out only from the mere voice of natural ignorance. We make the house of Our Lord a den of thieves, who steal His words but leave the Word Himself out in the cold. And where else would He be, but with the people we cast out because of the mistaken view that if we dare allow them to use a word, the entire edifice of the Church’s moral teaching will fall apart?

    There’s a lot of trying to work out the salvation of others nowadays; why is there so little fear and trembling?

  • JohnMt427

    We should try to have compassion toward everyone, even to the so-called Catholic inquisitors. They too act out of emotional pain and ignorance.

  • Question:
    If a man and woman have sex outside of marriage it is a serious sin (grave matter). The same is true for any homosexual sex (grave matter). So in the eyes of the Church, and therefore the eyes of God, they are basically the same kind of sin. Fornication is fornication. Is this the correct understanding?

    Seems many think heterosexual fornication is “not so bad” (venial?), but homosexual sex is much more serious.

    • Dave G.

      Probably not. Most I know who still cling to more traditional approaches to sexuality don’t shrug their shoulders when it comes to sex outside of marriage, sleeping around, having affairs, or anything else. But heterosexual sex is different, since sleeping around or having affairs or sex outside of marriage are corruptions of what can be good and consistent with the Faith’s teaching. Homosexual sex, however, from a traditional Faith POV, can never be consistent with the Faith’s teaching. Hence there is likely a difference in how it is perceived.

      • No doubt the perception is different, but sometimes perception
        and reality don’t match-up. If they are both mortal sins, I guess my question is really about if some degree of mortal sin exists (different levels of severity).

    • James M

      All sins of lust used, without exception, to be regarded as mortal, at least the in 1920s – all, without exception. “Parvity of matter” did not apply. This seems not to be the case any longer. If it is no longer the case, it would be interesting to know why it is not.

      Lying, by contrast, did admit of being venial – which seems strange, since the devil is called the “father of lies” (cf. John 8.44). Gay sex has a very high “yuck factor” – IMO this is a sufficient explanation for the distaste it has traditionally aroused: it’s too alien, and too completely taboo, to most people, not to seem horrendous. Some Catholics have a lot to say about how it is one of four “sins crying to heaven for vengeance” – but the other three are apt to be overlooked. Which is amusing & a bit sad.

      Some forms of human action are too alien for one reason or another for those who do them to be treated as quite human. But people can imagine themselves committing adultery or fornication, so those are treated much more sympathetically, or even regarded as amusing. Paedophilia – now that it is admitted to happen; it used not to be, or was thought of as something much more innocent – is joining the class of “unspeakable” actions; and rape looks set to go that way too. All of which, if correct, casts a rather lurid light on social attitudes.

  • oregon nurse

    I suppose I’m just one of the dense orthodox, but what gives about objecting to same sex attracted vs gay, especially in Catholic circles? One connotes the orientation and is morally neutral, the other connotes the lifestyle and is morally suspect. Why would you want to be misunderstood by other Catholics or even non-Catholics?

    • Matthew

      I think you should add a clause after each usage of “connotes”, say rather “connotes TO ME”. You treat the word gay as having objective, universally agreed upon content. Like it or not general society, i.e. that group of people that generally determines what words mean by their usage, has decided that “gay” denotes all people with same-sex attraction both the chaste and the unchaste.

      • oregon nurse

        Do you have proof of your claim of what general society thinks gay means? Perhaps you should qualify it with “I think, or IMO”.

        Among Catholics SSA is pretty commonly used to indicate the orientation and that an assumption is NOT being made that the person is involved in homosex behavior. And Catholic is the context we are mostly talking about here. If a person is living a chaste life according to a Catholic understanding of that word and doesn’t want to be mistaken as someone who is not, then it will be more enlightening to refer to oneself as SSA among other Catholics rather than gay. That’s all I’m saying. If calling oneself gay vs SSA is that important, I’ll simply say it makes no sense to me unless there is a desire to identify with with all that gay entails.

        To me it is similar to a chaste heterosexual using the term boy or girlfriend (morally neutral) vs partner (morally suspect). Either may be used to denote a similar relationship but they carry different connotations in popular meaning with partner usually implying someone you are living with. If you don’t want people to think you are shacking up with someone when you aren’t then you generally don’t use the term partner.

        • AtalantaBethulia

          If a heterosexual person with a boy or girlfriend, which you have deemed as a morally neutral term, can be chaste and still be called straight in the everyday vernacular, why then can’t a homosexual person who has a boy or girlfriend (morally neutral) be called gay, in your opinion?

          There seems to be a presumption that gay = sexually active no matter what, but straight does not. Why is that?

        • Dan C

          Quite frankly, SSA is a made up term among conservative Christians in blog land. Most Catholic in real life who go to Mass, use the term “gay.”

          What is it about conservative Christians and gays? Every gay needs to confess their sex life before being taking seriously in a Christian conversation and distinguishing between gay and SSA is a conservative code to do that.

          In a Christian conversation on masturbation, no one is confessing their last mastrubatory experience, or on Christian conversation about heterosexual sexual ethics, one does not ask insist its members identify their adukterous behavior or abstinence fro it.

          SSA is conservative code for gettting gays to constantly affirm that they are “Catholic and chaste” a seemingly rewuired confession for a gay in a Christian conversation on gays. It is transparent and demeaning.

          • oregon nurse

            “Quite frankly, SSA is a made up term among conservative Christians in
            blog land. Most Catholic in real life who go to Mass, use the term

            Your opening sentence is incorrect, the second one is pure speculation not backed up with any proof, and I’m not a conservative or a traditionalist. I think any further reply would be a waste of time.

            • Guest

              Dan C frequently has very good things to say, though he unfortunately is hung up on criticizing conservative at every opportunity.

    • chezami

      Make the distinction all you like. Just don’t don’t have conniptions and leap to conclusions when somebody says “gay”.

      • oregon nurse

        By the same token, chaste homosexuals who refer to themselves as gay shouldn’t take offense if people assume they are engaged in homosex behavior.

        If you use an ambiguous term you have left the door open for your personal label to mean whatever the hearer thinks it means. That is why I think we need clear terms with unambiguous meanings if we are to be able to have rational discussions. I think SSA comes the closest at this time to denoting orientation vs behavior.

        • AtalantaBethulia

          I find this odd. If I say I’m straight or heterosexual, does this connote that I engage in sexual activity? No. It doesn’t. Do people assume this? I surely don’t about others. So why is it different for gay people? And why should we have a special label for gay people to delineate between those who are and those who are not having sex? Is there a different label for heterosexuals who are and who are not having sex? Is it any of our business in polite general conversation? What about married people? By this token we should have special names clearly delineating what is going on with married people and their sex lives so that we have “clear terms with unambiguous meanings if we are to be able to have rational discussions.”

          MSED: Married, sex every day

          MUBC: Married, uses birth control

          MURM: Married, uses rhythm method

          MHOS: Married, has oral sex

          MNS: Married, no sex

          MSOSO: Married, sex on special occasions

          Because if we use an ambiguous term like “married” “you have left the door open for your personal label to mean whatever the hearer thinks it means.”

          • oregon nurse

            You are on a Catholic blog so please don’t try and be coy with me. If you think it’s a silly thing to discuss you certainly don’t have to participate.

        • chezami

          Ah! So the onus is on them not to be judged, not on you not to leap to conclusions and judge them. How… convenient for you.

          • oregon nurse

            There’s no onus. People are free to label themselves however they want. But don’t use sexually ambiguous labels and then get upset if you are misunderstood (I’m especially talking about parish life here). If you choose to label yourself with an ambiguous term that many, if not most, people associate with what Catholics consider fornication and a sinful lifestyle then all I’m saying is don’t be surprised if you are thought to be fornicating. It’s not rocket science. It’s not judging. It’s definitely not an excuse to complain that others are bigots and you’re being treated unfairly or people are nosing in your sex life. If you label yourself gay, it is YOU who have brought your sexuality into the conversation. I’d rather not know.

            All that aside, it still doesn’t address how to have a conversation with clear terms where everyone agrees on the meaning. I have yet to hear any better ideas on that.

            • AtalantaBethulia

              Re: “If you choose to label yourself with an ambiguous term that many, if not most, people associate with what Catholics consider fornication and a sinful lifestyle then all I’m saying is don’t be surprised if you are thought to be fornicating.”

              And what people here are explaining is that the problem rests in the assumption, not the term.

              If someone says they’re gay. And one thinks: Gosh, I don’t know if that means they are having sex or not. That makes one a busybody, it doesn’t make the term unclear.

              Because the analogous situation would be if someone says they are straight, it seems reasonable that most people interpret that to mean: he’s not gay; he likes girls. Rather than one automatically thinking: Straight means he has sex with girls.

              Homosexual is analogous with Heterosexual – They both indicate whom one is attracted to. They do not imply behavior.

              Gay is analogous with straight – They both indicate whom one is attracted to. They do not imply behavior.

              Promiscuous = Promiscuous.
              Monogamous = Monogamous.
              Not sexually active = Not sexually active.

              • oregon nurse

                Anyone who labels themselves gay is the one who brought their sexuality into the conversation. I suspect you see nothing abnormal or morally wrong with same sex behavior so your arguments hold no sway with me – we are not starting from the same moral foundation and will simply talk past each other. I suspect, like so many others who hold morally relative views, that you equate an abhorence of a sin with abhorence and intolerance of the sinner and therefore you reject even the conversation about behavior. But that is not the Catholic view and I’m not interested in your arguments from your progressive moral position.

                • AtalantaBethulia

                  Discounting people’s reasoned points and summarily dismissing any further conversation with them based on assumptions that you will disagree with them on other points is not particularly a positive way to engage in reasonable nor civil conversation.

                  Re: “Anyone who labels themselves gay is the one who brought their sexuality into the conversation.”

                  This is a conversation about words and their meaning and which ones are accurate and appropriate. You have stated you would like people who are chaste and gay to use the moniker SSA. This brings their sexuality into the conversation no less than does using the term gay.

                  • oregon nurse

                    We are already talking past each other because I think gay behavior is sinful and you apparently do not. We have no common ground for this discussion. You may disagree and that’s fine.

                    • AtalantaBethulia

                      I’m simply asking you how it is fair, in your mind – just as Dan C has also pointed out quite clearly – to have a separate system of labels for homosexuals than for heterosexuals and to justify that inconsistency for us.

                      I am addressing your points directly. You are talking past me because you are choosing to ignore the points I have raised and discount me because you assume we disagree.

                      I disagree with it being reasonable that we need to label people in the way you have suggested. I disagree with how you have represented the meaning of the word gay. I have asked you to clarify why it seems you presume gay means sexually active but straight does not. Those are clear cut questions upon which theology does not hang.

      • oregon nurse

        “Just don’t don’t have conniptions and leap to conclusions when somebody says “gay”

        This is my point as well. Don’t label yourself gay and then have conniptions if people think you’re fornicating with a same sex partner.

        • chezami

          Your need to not let gay people speak about their struggles to live faithfully in the face of disordered appetites does not create an obligation on their part. All other people who struggle with disordered appetites (alcoholics, anorexics, gluttons, drug addicts) are *encouraged* to help one another by speaking the truth of their temptations and struggles and showing that it can be done. But for some weird reason, some conservative Catholics feel the need to *punish* gay people who are attempting to live in fidelity to Jesus Christ and to shut them up. It is bizarre and evil.

          • oregon nurse

            If you are talking to me you are way off base and how dare
            you imply that what I wrote is evil. How casually you throw that word around about another person. You should be ashamed. I neither said nor implied the meaning and motivation that you are ascribing to me. I never tried to shut any homosexual up. You are simply using me to make a point and twisting what I said in the process. When you get on one of your rant topics you become hypocritical, irrational and blind to anything else but YOUR POV. And anyone who disagrees with any part of YOUR POV is attacked, especially if they aren’t appropriately simpering about it. Give you a topic like Michael Voris or other
            Catholic bloggers that criticise you and you go over the top and assassinate the character of fellow Catholics and take every possible opportunity to keep badmouthing them on your blog. But I’m not the first to point out your hypocrisy about condemning in one instance what you will turn around and do yourself in another, am I Mark?

            You may not like my style because I’m not sufficiently sympathetic and agreeable to YOUR POV but I am 100% right on the substance of Church teaching about the moral difference between the orientation and the behavior and you call it evil. Scandal is something the Church takes seriously and scandal is likely if someone identifies themselves to others as ‘gay’ in the context of an
            active participation in a Catholic parish community – which was brought up on this thread – and that is what I spoke to. I challenge you to point out anything I said that is incorrect on substance. I don’t give a rip what you think about my style of saying it. I didn’t come here to be liked or to make anyone comfortable. I came here to discuss this issue as a Catholic and end up getting called evil by a fellow Catholic. Do you ever lie awake at night and wonder if your blog has become an occasion of sin for you? You should.

            Finally, I don’t hate homosexuals or want to punish them or silence them, but I detest the sin, and the coddling, excusing, and even celebrating of it in our society. I am, like most mature Catholics, able to separate the sin from the sinner and I assume that other mature Catholics can tell the difference as well. After some of the exchanges though, I’m not so sure about some on here, including you, Mark.

            Sympathy for the difficulty of SSA has been blown way out of proportion and given a political status and importance it doesn’t deserve in proportion to all the other afflictions and injustices of life. There are a lot of similar states in life that are just as tough as SSA – like single, divorced, and widowed men and women that live a completely chaste/celibate life out of moral duty not choice, while desperately desiring a spouse. They suffer every bit as much from lack of love and intimate physical affection, and they have to make the exact same choice every single day to take the moral path even if it seems like too much to bear. They don’t get sympathy in the parish community if they decide to shack up or have ‘friends with benefits’ in the face of not having anyone who is remotely spouse-worthy in their life. A person who is in a sexual relationship with another without benefit of marriage are just as likely to be fired from a teaching job in a Catholic school or removed from a ministry position as the person in a same-sex relationship, but no one is writing column after column about their struggles. Life is tough. God never said it would be otherwise for any of us and the crosses we are given to carry.

            • HornOrSilk

              Your response is that of a typical bully. First you come out barking, suggesting those who call themselves gay are fornicating. That’s not what people who call themselves gay think of when they use the term (no, I’m not gay). So you say they should accept all sinful imputations (evil!) upon them.

              Then when Mark points out that is wrong, you wimper, crying for being taken down. “How dare you call it evil.” Yet, the sin you committed is indeed evil. Calumny. Look it up.

              • HornOrSilk

                What you said, “Don’t label yourself gay and then have conniptions if people think you’re fornicating with a same sex partner.” That means you say “gay” means “having sex.” It doesn’t. You are going mad at a lot of people, then crying when people hit you with the straight dope. Grow up.

          • Stu

            Every “recovering alcoholic” I know calls themselves a “recovering alcoholic.”

            Now I understand your point but I don’t believe it is realistic. Fact remains that in the present culture, being “gay” is going to bring with it assumptions that come from what you see in the media and from a gay culture that embraces and encourages homosexuality.

            I think it much better for practicing Catholics who are challenged with SSA to simply identify themselves as Catholics just like everyone else and then stress among all Catholics that you just shouldn’t make assumption about people because they either aren’t married or dating or whatever. You know, mind your own business.

            Bottom line is that calling yourself “gay” in this day and age is going to bring with it both assumptions and questions and you just aren’t going to stop that tidal wave. Time to reconceptualize the challenge.

            • CS

              Just FYI, my alcoholic friends who announce themselves so do not feel the obsessive need to clarify with “recovering.” I have never met a healthy recovering addict who did so, either. Most people think of addiction as One Day At A Time and therefore semantic games are only for the audience that needs those semantic games for clarification.

              • Stu

                “Semantic games”

                You see, you do understand that words mean things. That is why you chose to characterize such concern in that manner. Calling yourself “gay” in the present society will bring with it baggage. You can “rail” against that all you want.

                • It depends on which “present society” you are talking about, though. In my community, “gay” does not come with that sort of baggage; it pretty much means the same thing as SSA, but less wordy.

                  • Stu

                    Yes, that is a trend. Why is that?

                    • I’m not sure what you are getting at. My point is only that there is no one, universal meaning for the word “gay,” and if a chaste person chooses to use that word to identify herself, (or if she specifically rejects that word) who are we to tell her she is wrong?

                      Charity seems to be the important thing here. Don’t assume the worst of a person because of a label she chooses (unless that label is unusually specific, as in “I’m a puppy-torturer”).

                    • Stu

                      Well, we do assume things based upon what people tell us all the time. If someone choose to self-identify themselves as a “gay Catholic” then that will make me scratch my head and think of things like the “Rainbow Sash Movement”, Andrew Sullivan or other such “gay” groups that want to make acceptance of homosexuality the norm. We don’t live in a vacuum and there is often context for words.

                      At the end of the day, I don’t see “gay” people. I see human beings, brothers and sisters, with challenges just like all of us and accordingly I don’t lump them into a “leper colony” defined by their temptation which I see as wholly dehumanizing. Now in saying this, I am not implying that anyone who uses the word “gay” is attempting to do such. But rather what I see as the long-term effect of such a convention.

                      As to my question, I will attempt to clarify it but again leave for you to answer. Why is there a trend to use the word “gay” (instead of say, homosexual) and why does that attempt include making it to mean even those who simply have a temptation?

                    • I have no idea. I’m not a linguist, and I’m not going to speculate.

                    • Stu

                      It’s not a matter of speculating. It’s easy to research and should be considered in this serious discussion.

                    • Stu, I have a very busy day ahead, I don’t have time to research the history of the word “gay” and its various cultural meanings. You, clearly, have a theory in mind, so share it if you wish.

                    • Stu

                      In other words, you are so busy but I have time to spoon-feed it to you? I don’t think you meant it that way, but it comes across as such.

                      Do this. There is no rush and I would rather you investigate this yourself. Look into it and discern the motivation at play in terms of word choice and then consider other cultural clashes that are going on and the tactics used there. I wish you well.

                    • Oh for crying out loud, that’s not what I meant at all. You’ve been hinting at some grand unifying theory of the the word “gay,” and not only do I have no clue what that theory is, I don’t have the time or inclination to look it up. I don’t think these kinds of guessing games are helpful in an informal debate. (Kind of like “if you don’t know why I’m mad, I’m not going to tell you” arguments.)

                      *If* you do have a specific theory, and *if* you want me to know about it, it might be faster to just tell me what it is rather than giving me homework. But only *if* you want and feel like telling me (which is why my original answer to you was “I’m not sure I understand” rather than “I demand you educate me!”, thereby recognizing that you could ignore me if you wished).

                      And, to be honest, I can’t guarantee that whatever you do tell me or that I investigate on my own is going to change my opinion that if a chaste Catholic wishes to also call herself gay, I’m not going to tell her she is wrong to do so.

                      I wish you well, too.

                    • Stu

                      I know that’s not what you meant. That’s why I said that explicitly.

                      I’m not attempting to play guessing games, I’m trying to determine how much thought you have put into this (or are willing) and then get/measure your opinion. If you aren’t interested in digging deeper on such things, so be it.

                    • AtalantaBethulia

                      I’m not a linguist either, but I hazard a guess that, like so many other words in our lexicon, heterosexual and homosexual seem to be academic, scientific, medical terms – a bit too clinical for everyday use – and in favor of a more common use word have evolved the terms “straight” and “gay” much like we use the terms “make love” and “have sex” instead of saying “copulate.” It’s low English, common use, plebeian, if you will. This seems a normal thing to happen among languages rather than it necessarily being suspect of a conspiracy to which you may or may not be alluding.

                    • Stu

                      Thanks for your comments. Indeed, there is always a simplifying of language, for lack of a better expression, going on as you point out but that does not completely explain why the word “gay” has been emphasized much more and to now include not only those who engage in such acts but simply those who have that temptation.

                      You bring up “conspiracy.” There is a good example of word that is used nowadays to often marginalize a thought. NOT saying that is your intent here at all. In fact, let me say that again. NOT saying that is your intent here at all. But since you used it, I thought it good to build upon. You would have to admit that whenever someone has some theory about a particular event that when people label it as a “conspiracy theory”, they do so as a means to discredit it. For instance, if one were to simply bring up the suspicious nature of the death of the Vanity Fair journalist in a car accident after sending a message to his friends that he was on to a big story and was going to lay low for some time, others may dismiss such suspicion as simply being a “conspiracy theory” and the musings of someone a bit crazy. So, certain words are chosen to put forth certain objectives.

                      There has absolutely been an effort to mainstream the word “gay” to meet some objectives. The attempt is to push society into a thinking that “being gay is just as normal as being straight.” In popular culture it is “how you are born” and “who you are.” Quite simply, it’s much easier to do this with the word “gay” than it is with “homosexual” which indeed sounds clinical as you mentioned. And certainly including just having a homosexual inclination in that definition only furthers that desire. Example of such thinking would be the GLAAD Media Reference Guide which can be found here:

                      There should be nothing shocking about this. Governments, businesses, organizations, and people do this all the time. It’s the basis of marketing. We frame things in a language to promote a viewpoint or get people to see things in a different way. And you don’t have to be a linguist to understand this. And this tactics is continuing with the debate on redefining marriage. Society is now redefining the word to include homosexual relationships. Even using the term “traditional marriage” brings with it implicit acceptance that homosexuals can marry. It’s all about normalizing the lifestyle. Or consider the killing of unborn children in utero. That became the much more palatable “abortion” and now it is simply referred to as a “choice.” After all, who is against “choice?”

                      So I don’t think this is just about making the language simpler. There is much more at stake and words do mean things.

                    • AtalantaBethulia

                      Do you feel there is a reason why the word “straight” includes those who not only engage in such heterosexual acts but also includes those who simply have that temptation?

                    • Stu

                      I don’t think heterosexuality and homosexuality to be on equal footing in terms of inclinations. The former is naturally ordered, though can be engaged in illicitly, while the later can never be rightly ordered. But I do understand the point you are making in asking that question and it is worth pondering.

                      So I don’t believe there is harm in conflating one who engages in heterosexual acts with one who has temptations for such given it is the natural order even it it can be abused.

                      But that being said, consider this? Is a “straight” person who feels a fleeting temptation to engage in a homosexual act, “gay”? Is a “gay” person who feels a “straight” temptation now “straight”? I think that highlights the perils of defining ourselves by our temptations. Instead, I think ultimately people are people and have either rightly or wrongly ordered temptations that deviate from what is proper.

                    • AtalantaBethulia

                      I’m not familiar with there ever having been a distinction with the use of the word gay to only mean those who are sexually active for it to have reached a point where it is perceived to have been “extended” to those who are not.

                      Do you think there is a reason why the word straight has been extended beyond people who engage in heterosexual acts to those who simply have that temptation?

                    • AtalantaBethulia

                      I am unaware of a point in time when the word “gay” “extended” to “including” non-sexually active homosexuals from only sexually active homosexuals in the same way that I am unaware of a point in time when the word “straight” extended to including non-sexually active heterosexuals from only including sexually active heterosexuals.

                      I agree with others here that to parse out a difference in terminology in this way is akin to heaping heavy loads on others with whom the person making the distinction does not identify and who would not choose to accept nor ask to bare the same burden of themselves or their own in-group.

                      In my day, we just called people who didn’t have sex virgins and whether one was or not was generally not a part of polite general conversation.

                    • Stu


                      I think it’s a hell of a burden to tell a young person that because they have some attractions to the same sex that may be fleeting that they are now classified as “gay.” I just don’t put people in boxes like that based upon their temptations.

                    • AtalantaBethulia

                      Perhaps that’s why Kinsey created a scale. Perhaps also, it might be helpful to understand that people are people who fall in love with people and do away with the boxes.


                      Re: ‘I think it’s a hell of a burden to tell a young person that because they have some attractions to the same sex that may be fleeting that they are now classified as “gay.”‘

                      That is a hell of a thing. It’s why identity is usually assessed and affirmed by oneself over a period of time and not assigned by others. It’s also why speculating about someone else’s identity isn’t looked upon too highly.

                      We too often put people in boxes in order to assess and measure them to determine if they meet our criteria of acceptable or unacceptable. This often gets in the way of our prime objective as Christians: Love God. Love your neighbor. No caveats.

                    • Stu

                      At least for me, my goal is to eradicate those boxes. I don’t see “gay” people but rather fellow humans who have a fallen nature just like me. I don’t want to define them by that which challenges them. That’s loving your neighbor…as you love yourself.

                    • AtalantaBethulia

                      I hear you, and yet we began with your insistence on parsing out a difference between the terms gay and SSA to which another commenter called “semantic games” and saying that ‘”Calling yourself “gay” in the present society will bring with it baggage. You can “rail” against that all you want.’

                      Why? This is like saying biases and prejudice exist, accept it.

                      The point here is that it seems a minority of society who hear the word “gay” automatically think about and assume what a person does in the bedroom instead of seeing them as simply a fellow human being.

                      When I meet a new neighbor and his wife, my mind doesn’t drift to them having sex. I would argue that if it did – I would be the one with the problem. Why is it different when we meet our gay neighbors?

                      To me, this is not dissimilar to talking to someone over the phone and not knowing their race and then meeting them in person to find they are not the race you thought they were and then making different assumptions about that person based on this new knowledge. It is prejudicial in the same way it is prejudicial to assume that a person who identifies as gay is promiscuous. It’s prejudicial in the same way that assuming an attractive blonde woman is not intelligent. It’s prejudicial in the same way that assuming a Latino person might be in the country illegally.

                      I acknowledge that such prejudices exist. Present society notwithstanding, I refuse to accept, however, that members of the Church should be party to such prejudices. God’s call for Justice and compassion require us to overcome the sin of our biases and prejudices. Our job as people of faith is to change the only person and thing we have any control over – ourselves – in how we see others so that we look at all others with the eyes and mind of Christ and treat them as if they were Jesus himself as he taught us to do in the parable of the Sheep and the Goats in Matthew 25. This is our calling.

                      My point is: Instead of the Church and church people insisting gay people “more accurately label themselves so that we can easily know the status of their sexual activity” (the only purpose of which is to more easily sort them into boxes so we can label and judge them) it is we as the Church and people of faith who have to change our biases against them.

                    • Stu

                      Indeed, I parse out the differences because they matter not just for the individual in question but all of society. Your choice of the word “insistence” was not mine. In fact, what I said was exactly this: “Now indeed, the word is used in everyday discussion and I don’t believe making that THE issue in discussions is always what you should lead with. But we should avoid using it ourselves.” Nowhere did I call for running around and correcting everyone. I simply remarked that we should avoid using the term “gay” ourselves. And in fact, in Mark’s latest thread there is a “SSA Catholic” who said the same thing I did in this regard. No “railing” on him though.

                      Yes, the word “gay” brings baggage. And that is the reality of the culture that is hyper-infatuated with sex. Yes, I suppose we could attempt to fight that battle but personally I think that is “fools errand.” I’d much rather walk around that windmill and point out that we aren’t defined by our sexuality and instead simply see “human beings” and leave the whole question of what sexual acts (sinful or not) they engage in between they and their confessor. Prejudice to me is putting people in boxes with labels lke “gay.” I don’t do it. I don’t think others should do it either.

                    • AtalantaBethulia

                      I think people of faith who are gay have been forced by their conscience for the cause of Justice to speak out on the reality of their identity because of the prejudice and bias against gay people found in society at large – and within the Church (and dare I say, at times perpetuated by the Church) – in order to dispel the very stereotypes that persist. Their point being: I’m gay. I love God. I am a faithful Christian, and I am not the stereotype. This action by the silent majority is what is usually required to dispel this societal “baggage” (let’s call it misperceptions and stereotypes) and help society evolve beyond their prejudices and inaccurate judgements toward a greater understanding of truth and reality for the sake of the common good. It also makes the invisible visible – an important step in achieving Justice. The Church should be leading this cause not impeding it.

                      I agree that one’s sexual orientation should be immaterial to a discussion, a job application, a friendship, a working relationship, a volunteer position… but it is BECAUSE of prejudice and malice and mistreatment and discrimination of a group of people that being more vocal about one’s sexual orientation has become NECESSARY as has been the case with every oppressed minority throughout history including the Irish and Catholics in this country and Jews and Muslims around the world.

                      I reiterate: The problem is not that people should keep who they are (Irish, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Protestant, divorced, gay) to themselves. The problem is that people discriminate against others. The solution is not that people become as homogeneous as possible and keep any unique identifiers to themselves. The solution is that humanity learns to live out the Golden Rule.

                      We, as people of faith, are called to act like people who belong to the kingdom of heaven where there is no difference between Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female. Judaism calls this Tikkun Olam: repairing the world and I hazard a guess that Catholic social teaching encourages the same on issues of social justice. And social change starts with one – it starts with me.

                      Perhaps societal change at large is what one might call a fools errand (though, I would argue that Jesus envisioned “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” and that the Church surely includes cultural influence as one of its missions), but if we as people of faith see societal change (of overcoming and dispelling biases and prejudices) within the Church as the same – impossible – then God help us all.

                    • Stu

                      They aren’t “gay” anymore than you or I are defined by our temptations. They are Catholics with a particular temptation, just like me, that they must, with His Grace, confront. And I don’t say that lightly.

                      If someone with this challenge wants to speak out and share their struggle for either support or to support others then I loudly and proudly applaud it. But I’m not going to define them by it anymore that I would define you by your particular challenge that you face. It isn’t who we are.

                      And whether we like it or not, society is hyper-sexualized. Prudence calls us to weigh that concern in how we talk about things because people do get the wrong impression. Fight that all you want. To me there are more important battles and I just assume avoid the issue by saying things smartly. No one gets anywhere by going down rabbit holes.

                    • AtalantaBethulia

                      Re: “They aren’t “gay” anymore than you or I are defined by our temptations…It isn’t who we are.”

                      Herein lies the heart of how people, and people of faith, see this issue differently, and it frames the worldview of the issue.

                      It lies in the difference between understading “being gay” as a behavior and “being gay” as a state of being. And then the separate issue of what we mean by identity.

                      I am right-handed. I do not merely choose to write with my right hand. Being right-handed is not a behavior. I am not tempted to be right-handed. Being right-handed is a state of being. I can choose to write with my left hand, but I will never be left-handed. I have green eyes. I can no more control having green eyes than I can control having red hair. I can change my hair and eye color to comport with someone else’s opinion of what is desirable and acceptable eye and hair color – but my eye and hair color, at its essence, has not changed.

                      I can say I am a right-handed green-eyed red-head. I am that. It is a present reality and a state of being. It distinguishes me from others who are not that. It does not DEFINE me. It is not my identity. It does not contain the entirety of who I am as a person. It is not the gestalt of who I am…

                      any more than it is for a person who is gay.

                      It is only one aspect of who they are. Just like my eye color is only one aspect of who I am. Just like my gender is one aspect of who I am. However, some aspects of our identity carry more weight than others. I more intimately identify with others of my own gender than I do with others with my own eye color. Gender is a stronger group. I belong to it. We are different and varied within it and yet we share some common ground that distinguishes us from others who are not of the same gender.

                      I do not struggle with having red hair, green eyes, being right-handed or being a member of my gender. It is not a burden that God gave me to bear. It just is.

                      So is being gay. Being gay is part of one’s identity as much as being straight is a part of one’s identity. It is not the whole thing. It does not encompass the entirety of the person. It does not pigeon hole anyone into having to be a stereotype or a particular way as defined by someone else. (Such as: if you are a girl then you can’t play sports and you have to like dolls. I might like those things, but I don’t have to). It just is.

                      My child has a learning disability. It is not who he is, but it is very much a part of who he is. It is not a burden given to him by God to have to overcome. It is a present reality. It just is.

                      Someone else used the analogy of alcoholism with being gay (which I disagree with as a good analogy) but nevertheless, part of recovery with alcoholism is the acceptance of what is – where a person has to own “I am an alcoholic.” It doesn’t fully encompass who they are. They are not ONLY an alcoholic, but it is very much a part of who they are and speaking that truth is a powerful step to one’s self-awareness.

                      People are not ONLY gay. It does not fully encompass who they are, but it is very much a part of who they are. Speaking and owning that truth is a powerful step to one’s self-awareness and making peace with what is.

                      To frame homosexuality as a choice and a behavior rather than as a state of being is what causes a difference in perspective and language on this issue. We are looking at the same mountain and calling it different things.

                      Saying things smartly is why I love words and communication. It’s why we talk in forums like this – to better understand each other, to learn more about an issue, to see how other people see, and to broaden our perspective.

                      What I see happening when one understands being gay as a choice and a behavior is that when the term gay is used the persons humanity is reduced to a sex act. When one perceives gay as a state of being – it no more indicates behavior than does eye-color or handedness or gender.

                      I agree: no one gets anywhere by going down rabbit holes. To presume that gay means “absolutely necessarily participating in particular stereotypical activities” is the rabbit hole I am suggesting needs to come to an end.

                      Re: “Prudence calls us to weigh that concern in how we talk about things because people do get the wrong impression.”

                      And I am speaking directly to people who get the wrong impression and saying: Stop doing that because your impression is often inaccurate, based on stereotype instead of reality.

                    • Stu

                      If you are going to start comparing sexual temptations to eye color, then we have nowhere else to go.

                    • AtalantaBethulia

                      You’re right. State of being vs. choice/temptation.

                      Thank you for the exchange. Blessings on you journey.

            • The problem with your approach (which may very well be a good approach for some, and the approach they prefer to take) is that there is a benefit to some gay Catholics “coming out,” so to speak, because of the strength and witness it can give to others struggling with reconciling their sexual desires and their faith. Not to mention the witness they could give to those who think gay people are incapable of being chaste, or of loving God.

              • Stu

                I take no issue with that and even applaud it. But in such cases, they are also being very open about being Catholic and living the Faith.

                Otherwise, I see no need for any of us Catholics to lead or identify with our proclivities or particular temptation with which we struggle.

        • Half Heathen

          I think they have the right to have conniptions if the call themselves “gay”, explicitly state that they are living chastely and then someone reads into their use of the word “gay” that they are really lying about living chastely.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      RE: “what gives about objecting to same sex attracted vs gay”

      Because I’ve never heard a straight person identify as or talk about themselves as or have a conversation where they use the term “opposite sex attracted.” This seems cumbersome and odd.

      • oregon nurse

        Well, what do you suggest we use to denote homosexual and not having homosexual sex that isn’t cumbersome? Gay is out because it is used by those engaging in sexual behavior. Straight is also out for the same reason. Chaste doesn’t work because it encompasses sexual behavior within marriage and same sex marriage is now on the books and some people will interpret it as applying. You tell me what vocabulary we can use that isn’t cumbersome yet conveys an unambiguous meaning.

        • AtalantaBethulia

          How about we stop obsessing about what other people are doing and get rid of labels. There are people who have unmarried sex and there are people who do not. Seems pretty simple.

          • oregon nurse

            See my comment below. I know the progressives have this all worked out but you’ll tend to find Catholics are not that interested in your answers.

            • Dan C

              Your jusgementalism, codes, and special requirements for gay Christians to participate in meaningful Christian discussions by affirming certain sexual virtues (required of gays and not heterosexuals in the same conversation) is not representative of Catholicism and you should cease placing your own novel vocabulary demands out as authentically Catholic. They are not.

              • oregon nurse

                I think it is you that is confused about Catholicism. I specifically equated ambiguous homosexual labels with ambiguous heterosexual ones elsewhere in this thread. Fornication is fornication whether it is homosexual or heterosexual. Are you sure it isn’t my calling gay sex fornication and fornication a sin that you really object to? That IS the Catholic position. If you think otherwise then prove me wrong.

                • Dan C

                  1. Where did I deny Catholic dogma? Nowhere, but you know that. You are confusing the issue.

                  2. The issue is your double-standard. You require a confession from gay participants in a Christian conversation. They must indicate they are chaste (using the term SSA) or if they are unchaste (and use the term gay). It cannot be that the gay man can indicate he is Catholic and gay. You need to know more. Is he chaste, hence SSA and instead using ambivalent terminology that is confusing you, leading you to believe he may be have homosexual sexual relations. This is how you categorize them. You need to know their confessional sins about sex, Yet, this is unrequired of heterosexual men in conversation. You have no demand of a similar set of confessional statements indicating that these men are not masturbating, participating in an adulterous relationship, and avoiding internet pornography.

                  3. The requirement that your curiosity about a gay man’s sexual activity be satisfied, independent of his thoughts on any given topic, is not Catholic and these coded vocabulary demands are not Catholic. They just let you know someone’s sexual behavior, and oddly, this curiosity only extends to gays. Not to heterosexuals, who could participate in any assortment of disordered sexual behaviors.

                  Your seemingly insatiable desire to categorize folks as “chaste gay Catholic” and “unchaste gay Catholic” and “heterosexual Catholic” is the matter that should not be presented as Catholic for so so many reasons. You should stop misrepresenting Catholicism as such.

                  • oregon nurse

                    I’m more than a little tired with your thinking you know my thoughts and motivations. It takes too much effort to keep correcting your mischaracterizations before an acutal conversation could begin to take place. Good night.

    • Mariana Baca

      Because it sounds jargony and weird when evangelizing to outsiders, and thus is a real obstacle towards conversation and evangelization.

      Should we stop using the word “straight” given most straight people in the modern worlds fornicate before marriage? The “[conntation of a] lifestyle that is morally suspect” comes from the world at large, and the way single people are expected to behave, not from the gayness or straightness of the interlocutor.

      If someone says they are a faithful catholic and gay vs. a faithful catholic and straight, we should make the same assumptions about behavior.

  • kirthigdon

    Why does a “gay” person, chaste or not, have to come out with it? Do we deal this way with any other attraction (temptation to sin)? If a person tells me that he has powerful temptations to murder others but always resists them, is it realistic not to find that just a little off-putting? I’m suspicious of anyone who leads with either their supposed gayness or their supposed chastity, not to mention those whose main hobby is speculating on whether others are gay or chaste. I didn’t ask and I’d rather not be told.

    Kirt Higdon

    • Dan C

      I think that the requirement to be taken seriously in a Christian discussion is that a gay man needs to self-identify as “Catholic and chaste.” Read Oregon Catholic below and he affirms the conservative Christian code for this same affirmation: SSA (as opposed to “gay.”)

      By using the SSA term, one gets the clear message among one’s discussants whether the individual is chaste.

      I agree with you, and find it odd and off-putting that such labels and codes are required.

      • oregon nurse

        I’m butting in here because you mentioned me by name and mischaracterized me.

        “Read Oregon Catholic below and he affirms the conservative Christian code for this same affirmation: SSA (as opposed to “gay.”)”

        First of all I am a woman, secondly I am not a conservative. Like Kirt Higdon I would prefer that people not label themselves at all and just keep their sexuality private. But when they make it an issue by referring to themselves as gay or even SSA, it becomes an issue and people will speculate about their moral character the same as they will speculate about a couple living together but not married, i.e., they create scandal and that is not my word, that is the Church’s word. It is also within Catholic morality to judge and admonish another person’s behavior, just not the state of their soul before God.

        It is curious that so many are rankled by the idea of using words to denote the orientation separately from the behavior. Why would that be if someone is Catholic? It is a teaching of the Church that homosexual orientation is morally neutral. It is also a teaching of the Church that homosexual behavior is sinful. It seems to me that the ones who get rankled about clearing up the terms are people who don’t want any moral distinctions being made between orientation and behavior. But that just isn’t the Catholic position, is it?

        • AtalantaBethulia

          Re: “It is curious that so many are rankled by the idea of using words to denote the orientation separately from the behavior.”

          I hazard a guess folks may be rankled by what seems to be an inconsistent standard for distinguishing and labeling chaste and sexually active homosexuals differently than for heterosexuals.

        • Kristen inDallas

          I think a good self-examining question (one you don’t have to answer) would be: If someone identified themselves as “straight” durring a conversation about sexuality, would you assume they were sexually active (even giving scandal)? In other words, do you apply the same standards in word usage to everyone, or just this one particular sin.

    • CS

      I think it’s important to try and understand it from the perspective of the person who recognizes their sexuality as being same-sex identified, to any degree. We are in the middle of an intellectual revolution wrt how we discuss sex and sexuality, and it is taking place in culture around us AS WELL AS within our Church culture.

      Just four years ago, it seems, there were two or three people in the whole Catholic online universe who were talking openly about gay-ness and Catholic-ness, from the perspective of wanting to live a traditional faith. John Heard and Eve Tushnet are who come to mind. But two or three years before that….not much public discussion, and certainly not much within church communities. In that same time period, being publicly gay- in a mainstream culture sense of the word – became a big deal. It was a political act as well as a personal one to acknowledge, in part to continue removing the stigma from the label. What were gay Catholics to think and feel? How were they to discuss these things? Struggling with the relationship between sexuality and identity, and how the faith talks about all that, and how to establish oneself as a witness to the faith, the discussion of what terms to use to self-identify became huge. And remains so.

      Unfortunately, the world we live in is now a “tell-all” world and that includes wrt sex. Some gay Catholics, it seems to me, feel moved to be publicly Catholic and gay in order to be that witness to what the Catholic Church is calling them to be. Of course, it is not appropriate to hang one’s identity on one’s desires and personal failings. And I imagine being That Gay Catholic is not the easiest thing. Nor is it the truest, as I imagine somebody like John Heard knows now, and maybe Joey will find out, and want to step back from it later. But who knows?

      And that leads me to the question that I inevitably have, WHO CARES? I mean, why do so many people who don’t have that particular struggle ALWAYS have to chime in and say, “Why do I have to hear about it? Keep it to yourself!!” For one, you have to hear about it because that is where our world is now and for better and worse the open acknowledgement of gay life is here to stay. But I have to say that it is really frustrating to listen to Catholics whine about how they don’t want to have to think about the painful struggles other people go through.

      Maybe you — collective use of the term, addressed to the people who always say this in every thread on this topic– should ask yourself why it is that everyone who says “gay” to you makes you think immediately and graphically of “sex”… instead of “struggle”…or “witness to chastity”… or “person in negotiations with themselves”…..or something else entirely which you might hear if you hadn’t stopped listening and started thinking uncomfortably about sex.

      • chezami

        Bravo! It is absolutely suicidal for Catholics to demand that homosexuals believe in Jesus Christ and then to smash them in the face when they try to publicly announce they are doing so and bear witness to other homosexuals that it can be done. I think that there is something fundamentally hostile to the Church’s mission of evangelization in the Fortress Katolicus. It doesn’t *want* people to be saved because they will get into the Fortress and mess up the perfect aesthetics and comfy suburban lives of the Fortress dwellers. It was wrong when the Judaizers attempted it in the first century and it’s still evil today.

      • kirthigdon

        OK, CS, so you’re going to force me to hear about your sexual “struggle” whether I want to or not. Why? And I’ve asked the same question of the many people who have tried to use me as a captive audience for their temptations and/or sexual adventures with those of the opposite sex. I’m not a confessor or a therapist, I have no advice to give, and your accounts may be a proximate occasion of sin for me – either lustful or uncharitable thoughts or both. So again, why do you want to do this to me or to anyone? Don’t use the excuse that the culture is forcing you; we need to refuse to participate in such a culture. A priest will hear confessions and a therapist will give advice. Most of us are neither and should not be proclaiming our own sins and temptations to the world, nor listening with itching ears to the sins and temptations of others.
        Kirt Higdon

        • CS

          Whose sexual struggle are you talking about? I haven’t tried to tell you anything except a little history on how we got this point in public discussion. I am not claiming that one choice is better than another, either. How a Catholic who is same-sex attracted participates in that cultural discussion is their choice, and I obviously do not think there is widespread moral disaster looming at the end of either (or any) of those paths about what to call oneself.

          But if you have a problem with public discussion you should probably stay off the internet. That might be your best bet as far as refusing to participate in the culture.

          Finally, your comment is unclear on this point: are you telling me that someone calling themselves “gay” has the same effect on you as an ill-mannered person regaling you in detail with their sexual exploits?

          • kirthigdon

            You’re right, CS, I should stay off the internet – at least on the subject of sexual orientations and activities. Unlike personal encounters, which are rare – thank God, internet topics can always be ignored. I have nothing useful to contribute on this so why depress myself and irritate you and others? In fact, I usually do avoid topics concerning sex or “gay” anything, but this time gave in to temptation. I’ll try not to let it happen again.
            Kirt Higdon

  • CS

    The mean destructive Catholic Inquisitor types just… *hurt* more, is the main difference. It’s a scandal and a personal affront all in one. If someone who is not chaste tells you, “Oh you would be happier like me!!!”, it is easier to roll your eyes at their impudent attempt at colonizing the mind….It’s listening to your Catholic friends go on in hatefulness that kills one’s spirit.

    • oregon nurse

      Can you define what you call hatefulness from a Catholic? That is another term that has a pretty loose interpretation.

      • Dave G.

        Good point. I grow weary of the term hate being used so loosely in our modern discourse. We won’t even discuss the Catholic version ‘Inquisitor types.’

        • CS

          Agree with you that “hate” is the shut-down term used to police correct speech and thoughts. Bad news. And by Inquisitor I mean exactly the above attempt by one person throughout an entire discussion thread to hostile-ly *demand* that people define their terms for the sole purpose of that person assessing their spiritual fitness.

          • oregon nurse

            I did no such thing! I expressed my desire for a clear vocabulary in which the words used mean the same thing to everyone. Gay is not an appropriate term to describe a chaste SSA person to everyone and I took an example of a parish experience mentioned on this thread to speak to.

            If a chaste SSA person is OK labeling themselves as gay then fine, use it all you want – just don’t be whining about it and looking for sympathy if you are misunderstood and other parishioners start looking at you differently. It is the use of the term ‘gay’ that is the problem, NOT the parishioners who are wondering if a person has just announced their immoral lifestyle. Grow-up! It is you and others like you who are so hyper-defensive that immediately jumped to the wrong conclusion, turned my statements upside down, and started piling on.

            • CS

              You forgot to say “pull up your big girl panties”. And in reality you did more than express a desire for more clarity of terms.

              But anyway, I apologise for turning my annoyance on you in particular when it is actually a response to dozens of people who sound just like you and who appear everywhere a Catholic person tries to publicly discuss these things. Maybe you should avoid this topic if you feel piled on. I am sure there are some people at church right now who need to be appraised as they enter the building.

              • oregon nurse

                Did you follow me over here from Progressive Christian like the other guy did?

                I have as much right to discuss the topic and express my thoughts on it as any other Catholic. If you don’t like hearing a different POV that annoys and causes you to lash out then maybe it is you who should avoid the topic. If not, pull up your big boy briefs and deal with it.

                My comment on that other blog was fair. They were practically canonizing a woman who foreseeably lost her kids and grandkids, because chose to tear the scab off a 30 yr old family wound, and then blame it all on her ‘hateful’ kids all because she was a poor, poor misunderstood lesbian. That woman needed to get off her pity-pot, pull up her big girl panties, and take responsibility for her CHOICE. She will instead get lots and lots of sympathy and reinforcement of what a poor, poor woman she is and stay in her mess and never see her kids again because she has a new ‘tolerant’ family now. Some sick stuff was goin on there and it has nothing to do with being a lesbian.

                • CS

                  I have no idea what you are talking about. I did not “follow you” from another blog. I said that about big girl panties because of the “grow up” comment.

                  I am not trying to tell you not to express your opinion. Just making a suggestion because you seem to feel an overwhelming need to keep commenting and you felt piled on.

                  My apology above was actually sincerely meant, although you probably couldn’t tell because I botched it at the end by lobbing another smartypants comment. Consider this a better apology. I have said just about everything I have to say about it.

        • chezami

          When, as is happening right now on my FB page, a Catholic is insisting that a chaste gay Catholic is “giving scandal” merely by mentioning their disordered appetite; when they call this “heresy”; they are behaving like an inquisitor.

          • CS

            Why don’t people like that realize that their vitriol and obsessive need to criticize others’ struggles gives ACTUAL scandal! Those who are vulnerable and in need are the ones who need protection from scandal, not people whose innocence is gone, faith is set and opinions congealed.

            • Kristen inDallas

              “Why don’t people like that realize that their vitriol and obsessive need to criticize others’ struggles gives ACTUAL scandal! Those who are vulnerable and in need are the ones who need protection from scandal, not people whose innocence is gone, faith is set and opinions congealed.”
              I was trying not to comment, but because disqus won’t let me thumb this statement up a billion times, I’ll just point out that it is so true.

      • CS

        No. I won’t attempt to “define” it.

        But I will offer this experience: anyone who takes on each. and. every. person in a discussion thread who expresses sympathy for homosexuals, and demands explanations, clarification and answers, combined with lessons on the Catechism as a bulwark against criticism, is usually full of some kind of inner disquiet. Personal, inner disquiet, directed obsessively at others, really comes across as hateful.

        • oregon nurse

          I suspect that what you call hate may be what others call Truth. But, you know, it’s just so hateful to point it out to anyone who might be made uncomfortable by hearing it.

          If you encountered actual hate, why be reluctant to explain it?

          • CS

            Listen, you. I have four sons. That thing where you verbally poke people until they go off doesn’t work on me.

            Maybe you should take your “suspicions” to your confessor and leave strangers on the internet alone.

            Editing to add that if you truly wanted to see what I meant by it, you would have seen it already.

            • oregon nurse

              Why did you need to clarify your heterosexuality?

              You spoke in the first person about experiencing a hateful Catholic and I responded to that with a question based on numerous encounters with people using the same word only to find out it was because someone else spoke the truth to them and they didn’t like it. If you throw out the word, you should expect to back it up if asked.

              If you felt poked or cornered by my question that’s only your interpretation. How was I to know you were speaking apparently hypothetically about something I guess you were only guessing about? It’s still not clear if you were talking about something that really happened to someone or if you were only making a point because you think something like that might have actually happened to someone, somewhere, at sometime or other. And, we still don’t know what you meant by hate.

              I asked a question which you could have simply answered or could have chosen to ignore. Instead you chose to get upset and feel poked at and lash out.

              • CS

                I said “I have four sons” to let you know I am immune to childish annoy tactics. I didn’t intend any statement about my sexuality, hetero- or otherwise.

          • chezami

            I’m done with you too. Enough with Pharisees who can’t be content with people living in obedience to the Church but who insist on tying up heavy burdens and not lifting a finger to help. You’re gone.

          • Boy, for someone who hates when people make assumptions about her, you sure are making a lot of assumptions about other people.

  • Joseph Sciambra

    I covered some of the same ground on my blog:

    I know a bit about this as I was in the gay lifestyle for many years and was a porn star during the 1990s before returning to the Church.

    • Stu

      I applaud your courage.

  • Guest

    I find this article to be disturbing at best. People with abnormal attraction issues who actually believe all of Holy Scripture, and lead a chaste life, would never have to ‘come out as gay’ in the first place.

    • chezami

      If Paul was *really* a Christian, he would never admit that he felt covetous.

  • Guest

    Something is very seriously wrong with Mark Shea’s comprehension of the New Testament prohibitions against wallowing in ‘gay’ behavior and ‘gay’ identity.

    Likewise, the lack of comprehension that the Lord went to the tax collectors and prostitutes to announce freedom from their sin that’s found in REPENTANCE and forgiveness. He NEVER told them that wallowing in sin was ok!!!

    To the woman caught in adultery “Go now and leave your life of sin.” That’s the part social libertines always carefully edit out.

    • chezami

      It’s not complicated. The guy is chaste, because he believes and lives the Church’s teaching that sex is reserved for heterosexual, monogamous, lifelong marriage. Other people with disordered appetites can say so in public without fear of being told they are “wallowing” in alcoholism, or gluttony, or drug addiction. Indeed, they are encouraged to do so as a way of helping others confront their need for grace and change. But for some reason, some Catholics flip out when a same-sex attracted person does it, even when they are obviously doing it in order to call other people like them to repent and trust in Jesus Christ. It is absolute folly to condemn this man as “wallowing” in sin. You might as well accuse St. Paul of “wallowing” in the persecution of the Church for calling himself the chief of sinners. Madness.

      Memo to Dave G. This guy is what I mean by “inquisitor”.

      • Guest

        You err because there is not a cultural group which self-identifies as a gluttons with gluttony pride parades just because they have the temptations to overeat. And nobody has drunks pride parades either. So please get your analogies straight.

        • HornOrSilk

          Actually, I know many people who self-identify with gluttony, and with pride. Often gluttons themselves. Sometimes with a dose of philosophy (Epicurus).

          • Yeah, actually that’s an excellent point. We don’t have Gluttony Pride parades; we have Epicurean societies and country clubs, and they’re pretty darn respectable even when they’re pretty much just temples for the worship of certain kinds of pleasure.

        • chezami

          Ever hear of Overeaters Anonymous? Anorexia support groups? People like you crush the weak. You’re gone.

          • CS

            See, Mark, the point of the discussion of ANY topic at all related to SSA persons where people foam at the mouth about the destruction of societal morals is the point where I just throw up my hands. Good on you for doing this blogging gig for so long.

            • chezami

              I just get sick of the nutty Pharisees for whom obedience to the Church is not enough. They treat a guy like Joey as though he’s the enemy. Insane.

              • This issue is the one big issue I struggle with, because I have so many good, loving friends and family-members who are gay. “Good” Catholics who are determined to view gay people as sub-human, and gay chaste Catholics as freaks who should shut up and hide from the world, are not helping.

        • Half Heathen

          80 to 90% of Americans are sick perverts, have no shame in admitting it and demand that everyone approve their lifestyles. I am referring the use and approval of artificial contraception. Everyone is forced to approve it or face severe penalties. If you don’t believe me, try going to your employer and demand that the health insurance the company provides not pay for it. The gay activists only want what everyone already has. Sandra Fluke was no fluke. (Sorry, couldn’t resist)

        • Newp Ort

          “And nobody has drunks pride parades either.”

          Ever been to a St Patrick’s Day parade?

          (tongue in cheek before y’all start buggin)

      • Guest

        In fact, it’s thanks to the sin industry that people can announce to their employers a ‘gay’ status which must be accepted no matter how offensive while in contrast it’s perfectly legal to discriminate against apparent gluttons and drunks for obvious reasons. It’s even common for the gay culture to serve as the inquisitors against professing Christians because they bash our entire faith as hateful just because God says the behaviors are wrong, and we agree.

        • chezami

          You are nuts. The subject of this blog has done nothing wrong. You, on the other hand, are a judgmental Pharisee for whom obedience to Holy Church is not enough. I don’t need Pharisees on my blog. Goodbye.

    • Jon Fermin

      The article itself gives a link to his explanation for the use of the term

      He says:

      You could say that [He is gay], if you wanted to, although I don’t like the term and don’t identify with it. I’m attracted primarily to men, and have been since I was about fourteen; but I don’t date men or have sex with them, so where does that leave me? I’m a faithful Catholic, so a romantic relationship with another man literally doesn’t fit into the way I see the world. I don’t see myself as different in any essential way from heterosexual men, so describing myself as “gay” doesn’t seem to fit.

      On the other hand, “homosexual” sounds clinical, “queer” certainly isn’t me, and “man who’s attracted to other men” is cumbersome. So, “gay” is a useful sort of shorthand, and I’ll use it from time to time until a better word comes along. SSA (same-sex attraction) is a useful term too, as in “He has SSA” rather than “He is SSA.”

      He then goes to address the question: Okay, but can’t you please use some other word besides “gay”? People are going to get the wrong idea?

      his response:

      “People have made the point that, by using the same terminology used by those who hold the view that homosexuality is a normal, natural, healthy, super-wonderful sexual variant of human behavior, I’m implicitly legitimizing that view.

      This is a valid point. Over and against this point, however, I weigh the fact that the word “gay” is immediately recognizable. If anyone cares enough to read what I’ve written on the blog, they’ll find out what I think about it. And — let’s be honest — “gay” is much better for SEO purposes.”

      he has a point. the way search engines work how else is he going to reach out to gay Catholics who wish to remain in communion with the church if he doesn’t use the word? like it or not, it is a word that those with same sex attraction use to identify their inclinations. it’s not perfect, but for Joseph Prever’s purposes, it’s a pragmatic and practical way to meet people where they are with the purpose of leading them towards the fullness of truth. I’m not going to berate him for that.

      • Stu

        He did make his case. I don’t think it is a long-term outlook and I don’t agree with it but it is a way of looking at it.

  • Guest

    We have people who want to identify actively as ‘gay’ which implies all of the grossly sinful socially destructive behaviors defined by the term. Why is it not enough to identify as a tempted sinner, saved by grace, refusing the hedonist label ?

    • SDG

      “We have people who want to identify actively as ‘gay’ which implies all of the grossly sinful socially destructive behaviors defined by the term.”

      Apparently it doesn’t imply that to everyone, including Pope Francis.

  • Stu

    Words mean things. It’s just how it is and part of controlling the debate is defining the terms correctly.. And the Pope using in an offhand conversation doesn’t change that one bit. As Courage even states, ”

    “It’s important that we avoid labeling ourselves as “gay,” “lesbian,” or “bisexual.” We are much more than our sexual attractions! Sexuality is an important part of who we are, but first we are persons, men and women in Christ, children of God.”

    Now indeed, the word is used in everyday discussion and I don’t believe making that THE issue in discussions always what you should lead with. But we should avoid using it ourselves.

    And consider the next word that is undergoing a change by society and that is “marriage.” Anyone willing to give in on how that word is used as well?

    • CS

      (The Pope using the word in conversation as he makes a theological point about appropriate treatment of persons)….”Who cares?”

      (Group whose founder even says their methods need revamping makes a different but related and not-actually-contradictory point I can nonetheless use to my rhetorical advantage)…”See!!!! That PROVES the word is OFF LIMITS!!!!”

      • oregon nurse

        And you seem to want to make too much of the Pope’s use of the word and read things into it that just about every priest and bishop who’s been asked about its meaning says wasn’t there. I haven’t heard the Pope correct them, have you?

      • Stu


        No, he made no theological points. What he did do was simply reaffirm Catholic teaching.

        Not every utterance that comes out of the Holy Father’s mouth signals how Catholic must respond nor was he speaking infallibly. He was talking to a reporter. He simply used the word “gay” in response to question the used the word “gay.”

        Further, I didn’t call the word “OFF LIMITS.” That’s your characterization. Instead, I made a point about language and its importance. Thus I brought the term “marriage” which is another word whose meaning is being changed by elements in society and that should cause concern. Words mean things.

        I believe characterizing people by a particular aspect of their fallen nature to be completely limiting. If one tells me that they are a Catholic (practicing) then that is all that should matter to me. I don’t see the need to call themselves a kleptomaniac Catholic, pedophile Catholic, gay Catholic, lesbian Catholic, adulterer Catholic, swinging Catholic, lothario Catholic, idolator Catholic, etc because they have a certain proclivity.

        • CS

          The term “marriage” is totally off-topic here. You are trying to equate the choice whether or not to use “gay” as a self-identifier — a choice, I might add, that is properly made by those who ARE in fact, same-sex-attracted, and ONLY them — with the changing of the use of the term marriage. “Words mean things” is true. “I am gay” is the same as “Gay marriage is the same thing, theologically and biologically, as straight marriage” is NOT true.

          All your other stuff about the Holy Father is also nothing stated by me. You are railing against other people, friend, and directing the rail in my direction.

          • Stu


            No. I responded to your mischaracterization of the point I made. Nothing more.

            People can identify themselves however they want. I don’t disagree. But other people can will react to that characterization based upon realties and/or disagree with it for principled reasons.

            • CS

              Sorry, Stu, re-read your own comments. You led with “We shouldn’t use it ourselves,” a dismissal of the Pope, and a backup with some good theology from Courage followed by that positive statement describing in terms of moral obligation whether to use the word.

              Then when further pushed you went back well they can, who cares, but “people shouldn’t complain when they get treated with suspicion and hostility for using it.”

              Actually, both you and oregon catholic seemed to have started one way then retreated to that your position as a fallback. Perhaps that only became clear for you in the discussion, but the change is there.

              I responded strongly in my first comment, due to what you wrote that seemed to be morally prescriptive as to the use of the word. If I misunderstood that, I apologize.

              Again, (in my understanding) this was a discussion about the changing use of the word gay. It is not about something as significant as re-defining marriage. Although the point about participating in (not “controlling”) the discussion is a good one, I think. That is part of the reason that people who decide to be “publicly gay” are making that choice, I think: as a deliberate way to be a part of these discussions, both within the Church and out in society as a whole. Of course I believe their reasons are theirs to have and to state, not mine.

              And I state again that I believe that the discussion should *primarily* take place among people whose lives are bound up with the cross of living truthfully, authentically and morally as an SSA Catholic. (Not that others can’t ever offer to serve as interlocutors…but I think that “interlocutor” is a position of radical love, honesty and presentness. NOT one of flying in anonymously and critiquing, or shrieking “you reap what you sow.”)

              The discussion should not be invested from outside with condescension and moral heaviness by other Christians who *don’t* have to live the life of a faithful-to-Magesterium SSA Catholic.

              • Stu

                You keeping talking of “theology.” This is not a theological conversation in the slightest. It’s about the use of the word gay to classify a group of people based upon a temptation they have. I think it is counterproductive, brings with it baggage from the rest of our culture and is ultimately dehumanizing.

                My point has nothing to do with Catholics being public about their challenges or attempting to help others with similar challenges. I applaud that. I just will not define them by that challenge but instead call them just “Catholic.” Let others sort people and put them into tribes.

                And nothing in my position has changed.

                • CS

                  If nothing in your position has changed, your way of expressing it certainly has varied dramatically. I think you need to clarify– to your partners in discussion if not yourself– whether you think it is a rule *others* should follow or one you yourself follow. Because therein is the significant distinction. And it matters a lot how you talk about it with strangers in a public forum.

                  • CS

                    Also to the point: Courage’s statement on whether to use “gay” was based on a theological point about the true nature of a human being as complex and gaining its meaning from its Creator. Your use of the term “dehumanizing” also implies theological significance. Sorry if I misinterpreted your comments as being more meaningful than just some idle musings on preference and cultural baggage.

                    • Stu

                      Nice snark.

                      Makes me wonder if I should be sorry for giving you the benefit of the doubt in my last response.

                    • CS

                      Look, I find conversation with people who are utterly and aggressively convinced of their own opinions but unable to articulate said opinions in a logical clear manner…. frustrating, to say the least.

                      Especially when their utter conviction on the topic at hand can have the additional effect of scandalizing and mortifying vulnerable human beings, fellow Christians and others who are trying to figure themselves out.

                      But being snarky is actually my last stage before becoming angry and depressed at how “nobody listens to me”, so that’s all for me for now. “When I get busy I get better.”

                    • Stu

                      Did you ever consider that people not listening to you might be somehow related to the snark? How about the practice of right out of the blocks mischaracterizing someone’s opinion instead of simply asking for clarification all while assuming the best? And then as you progress in the “conversation” and hear more, you come to the conclusion that the other person has changed their stance?

                      After you are busy for awhile, and get better, let me know and perhaps we can really have some dialogue.

                    • CS

                      Sorry, I cannot let my showing emotional tiredness be an excuse for you to change the story. I am sorry I characterized your position wrongly, BUT IF YOU LOOK AT WHAT YOU WROTE it is plain to see how that could happen.

                      When I get all “people are stupid, the never listen to me” that is absolutely not a reflection on whether I have alienated someone with my personality or not. It is a reflection of my own desire to control things, like lessening others’, suffering by the sheer force of willful explanations. A trap we can all fall in to.

                      I doubt there is more dialogue to have. I am of the opinion that you shouldn’t post about other people’s choices -especially that of how one identifies him or herself– unless you are asked or you think there is a serious moral issue. And if you do post, you should be clear it is your preference and not a maxim. I am posting a “should” here because there IS a serious moral issue: that of giving oppressive insinuations of moral rules to other people who are in need of support and prayer.

                    • Stu

                      So, I shouldn’t post? But you can?
                      Doesn’t work that way.

                      I posted an opinion here. It is not incendiary nor snarky. I’ve explained that opinion and I am always willing to discuss with fair minded people, amicably disagree or even amend my position if convinced otherwise. It’s when you start to assign motivations to my words, by strictly reading commbox prose which is inherently low-fidelity, that things begin to break down.

                      Yes, I will say again that I don’t believe we should use the word “gay” to define people. I think it marginalizes them and puts them in a box and quite honestly I don’t see them in a different “box” than me if they are practicing Catholics. If you think that is wrong, fine. But it is hardly a damaging viewpoint and it doesn’t mean that I don’t offer them support and prayer.

                      I see struggling human beings as equals in the struggle with me and my words reflect that.

                  • Stu

                    Or perhaps your way of reading it changed. 😉 Communication is a two way street. But I do always welcome the chance to clarify.

                    As to whether I think others should follow this rule? Of course I do for all of the reason I have outlined. But as I alluded to in my first statement, I don’t always believe this issue should be an absolute “line in the sand.” I’d much rather build consensus and lead by example.

                    Look my ultimate goal is that people who have this challenge are just referred to as “Catholic” like the rest of us. No modifier needed at all.

  • Balin

    After reading this discussion with interest I wonder if some of the comments here claiming to represent Catholicism are being seen from the outside looking in as:

    All sinners are equal but some sinners are less equal than others.

    Church doors should have signs reading: Sinners Wanted; Homosexuals need not apply.

    The Church identifies with the Harper Valley PTA.

    Just an observation.

    • Guest

      Some sins are worse than others–or did you mean to imply that stealing a grape is the same as deliberately flattening a pedestrian using your car ?

      • chezami

        No. But you mean to say that merely being tempted is as bad as committing the sin, if the person is gay. Goodbye. I have enough crazy on my blog. Go be obsessed someplace else.

    • Guest

      Or perhaps you meant to imply that accidentally becoming drunk once is somehow the same as acting out as a pedophile once ?

      • Balin

        I wrote nothing of the sort. I mentioned sinners, not sins. No where did I mention sins. I don’t know how you can misread such a short post but you really should reply to the post written not the post you wish to reply to that would satisfy your agenda. Thanks for validating the observation.

    • Funny how the sins other people commit are so much worse than the sins we commit, right?

  • Evan

    I am shocked and saddened to see that this not-at-all controversial post has already generated close to 100 comments. Unless all of those comments were support for Joey along with praising the brilliance that clearly runs in the Prever family, then that would not be shocking or sad.

    But to all the people complaining about the use of the word “gay,” GROW UP. You are every bit as obsessed about sex and other people’s private parts as the most obnoxious LGBT activists. Gay is a common term to mean same sex attracted and in no way implies a chaste or unchaste lifestyle.

    Temptations are not sins, and denying they exist is not the way to overcome them. (And a sexual orientation isn’t even a temptation in itself.) If someone has a disordered desire that can affect public relationships, acknowledging it and seeking ways to overcome it should be encouraged and supported; it should not result in questioning the validity of his faith and accusations of scandal. Jesus’ words were: “Let the one among you WITHOUT SIN, throw the first stone,” not “Let the one without that particular sin.”

    To all the detractors: You have no idea how repulsive your statements sound.

    • chezami


    • CS

      Srsly. Also I think we need to talk more about the concept of privilege; as in, CHECK IT. If I have no idea what it is like to live out a certain set of struggles then I better be very careful talking about those struggles, and enter into the discussion with humility and openness to hear another person speak. Also there are some discussions that don’t actually need my opinion.

  • RelapsedCatholic

    While I respect anyone’s personal decision to remain celibate I find the church’s entire characterization of this matter to be demeaning and false. To call homosexuality disordered is just plainly ascientific, and to compare it to alcoholism or any other addiction is just wrong. Somehow sexual dimorphism is evidence of God’s will, yet the fact that homosexuality is plainly observable in an incredibly diverse number of species (and is likely just as ancient) is somehow not. How hurtful it must be to have your church tell you that the way in which you love another human being is wrong and disordered. This teaching does not simply tell you who you cannot have sex with; the church tells me I can’t have sex with any woman apart from my wife and I agree. This teaching tells a young homosexual that their love and commitment is sinful and forbidden. I have talked to and counseled to many young people that are torn apart by this to characterize it as anything but wrong and hurtful. The reason that gay rights has made such incredible progress is not about the media and Hollywood. It is because homosexuals have had the courage to live openly and honestly. People are changing their minds because they can see with their own eyes what is real.

    • Half Heathen

      Should the vast majority of men, straight or gay, be offended and hurt by the Church’s very “ascientific” opposition to having multiple sexual partners? Should all men live “openly and honestly” with as many wives, girlfriends or boyfriends as their hearts desire (and they can persuade to join them)?

      • RelapsedCatholic

        No, I have no problem with a lifelong, monogamous commitment that is open to fertility and children. I’m just opposed to forcing celibacy on someone that did nothing wrong. I have a problem with a belief that asks us to look upon loving committed relationships as sinful and wrong.

        • Half Heathen

          Well then, your problem is not with the Catholic Church because it is not forcing anyone to do or not to do anything. The Church teaches what the Church teaches. The Church sees itself as having received the truth, which it is duty-bound to pass on, unadulterated. It received the truth that homosexual acts are “sinful and wrong” and teaches that truth. The Church has no more power to change that truth than it would the truth that smoking is harmful, or that a circle is a circle and not a square. The tragedy of dominating same-sex attraction is not of the Church’s making. Your complaint is with God. Why did He create the world the way He did and why does He allow all the many tragedies that fill it? Why do some people get injured such that they can never have sexual relations? Why do so many die young? What of the people who find themselves “trapped” in loveless marriages? You cannot fault all of them for not seeing it coming or making it that way. What of the wretched creatures that find themselves overwhelmingly attracted to children? Did they ask for that?

          • RelapsedCatholic

            First, yes the church teaching tells gay people that they must choose between the human they love the most and God. It says that they who were born different must walk through life alone or must estrange themselves from God. Is it any mystery why so many LGBT Christians leave the church? At the time in life when they need the most love and guidance our church (and many others) tell them that they are broken and disordered.

            When injury is being done, when we witness injustice, we must ask ‘why?’ Your characterization of the truth of the church is painfully simplistic. God did not hand down the entire catechism on golden tablets to the church fathers. Our catechism is a series of beliefs built upon an incredibly diverse set of foundations like scripture, philosophy, literature, and natural law. The founders of the church and those like Aquinas that helped develop our catechism were men and imperfect. Paul had no more idea what a homosexual was then he did an airplane. Thus when God gives us a new knowledge n, whether it’s through a vision or science, we should seriously look at it before we discard it as the result of a ‘broken world’.

            The greatest tragedies in history have been the result of blind obedience, not principled disobedience.

            • BHG

              Please accept this answer in the charity it is intended–I sometimes miss the mark on tone and I am impressed by your question and persistence so do not wish to put you off. Principled disobedience (inside and outside the Church) has led to a great many great tragedies, the current state of human interaction being one of them….of course we need to be better at ministering to everyone LGBT included, but not at the expense of Church teaching which is received truth as Chezami points out. And for the record, the Anglicans have no real “catechism,” and have not from the beginning when Elizabeth I decided it was fine to believe what one wished as long as one kept the form (to assuage those who missed to the “Old Religion”) and swore allegiance to her. Quite a different matter and the reason that the Anglicans lead the way in adapting to demands of culture. Last but not least, Christianity requires us all to choose between every created thing or being (including other people) and God–so that, in loving God first, we may love every thing and being in creation as it is intended to beloved. Left to our own devices, our love (regardless of its focus) can be very disordered indeed. Hence our need for God….

              • RelapsedCatholic

                I always meet respect with respect. I try to meet disrespect with respect also, but sometimes I fail. I think principled disobiedience has had many good effects as well. St. Francis’s emphasis on poverty and action, while not contrary to dogma, certainly cut against the grain of his day, and helped to set precedent for our current pontiff. The Protestant emphasis on a vernacular Bible is something that has many good effects for people of faith (and some bad ones too). Christian and Catholics once created the slave trade and institutional slavery, but then saw the truth and agitated for reform. Disobedience can be bad. Those that divorce for selfish reasons. Those that use contraception to lead more selfish lives devoid of children and community. I advocate disobiedience not to take away from dignity but to add to it.

            • Michael Ejercito

              The church is not saying that for a homosexual to love another homosexual of the same sex is wrong. The church’s teaching in this instance applies only to a particular form of expression of that love. It is no more justified to express love for another person by engaging in buggery any more than it is justified to express love by worshiping an idol or cursing God’s Holy Name.

              Love is not a permission slip for sin.

              • RelapsedCatholic

                The same line of thinking also forbids oral sex and masterbation. It is so painfully medieval it is nearly self-refuting.

                • Michael Ejercito

                  Here is the truth, god is Lord of Lords and King of Kings. he does as He pleases, He answers to no one, His might makes right. He has the untrammeled, unfettered power to cast his enemies to an inescapable, everlasting torture chamber, where the worm dieth not, the fire is never quenched, and the smoke of the torment arises forever and ever. Nio one can cast God into that torture chamber, no one can stop Him from casting anyone else into that torture chamber, nor can anyone rescue anyone else from that torture chamber.

                  God is great!

                  • RelapsedCatholic

                    Awesomely stated. But what the hell does that have to do with a thing? God did not write the Bible.

                    • chezami

                      Um. Yeah, he did. The faith of the Church is that God is the principal Author of the Bible.

                    • RelapsedCatholic

                      That explains its perfect historical and scientific accuracy. Also the complete lack on contradictions now make more sense. This does raise a question or two. Did he write it in Aramaic, Greek, or Latin? Which translation does God think is most accurate? Which version? Certainly not the KJV, Protestant garbage.

                    • chezami

                      Perhaps if you start approaching it as a Catholic and not as a Fundamentalist expecting it to be the Big Book of Everything, you’ll have better luck grasping what “inspiration” means. It turns out that a book that is not attempting perfect scientific or historical accuracy does not reach goals it never tried to achieve. It’s also worthless for pounding nails and digging ditches. That doesn’t mean God is not the principal Author.

                    • RelapsedCatholic

                      Even if we accept it as an article of faith that God is the primary author we can simultaneously acknowledge that the Holy Spirit lacks a pen. One cannot claim that Paul was all knowing and divinely inspired when he condemned same sex relations in Romans 1:26 (which is still quite unclear to me) yet also accept that he might have been off when writing the Epistle to Philemon. While the Bible was never intended as a science book, history text, or shovel, the Gospels were also never intended to weapons and tools of oppression.

                    • chezami

                      Inspiration is not a claim that biblical authors were all knowing. It is, however, the claim that what the biblical authors affirm is what the Holy Spirit affirms. It really would be a good idea if you took some small effort to try to understand the Church’s teaching on Scripture instead of just lazily looking for loopholes and blowing it off. The modern habit of assuming that in any apparent disagreement Scripture, it is obviously the ancient and not the modern who is wrong is one of the most shallow thing a deeply shallow modernity excells in. Try reading Dei Verbum If you want a more popular work on the basic outline of Scriptural revelation and how the Church reads its Bible, email me and I’ll send you a freebie copy of my Making Senses Out of Scripture: Reading the Bible as the First Christian Did.

                    • RelapsedCatholic

                      While I would enjoy reading your book, my opportunity to read during the school year is very low. Please do not assume that any dissension comes from simple from some disrespect for ancient authors or wisdom. Modernity has brought many new troubles, it has also allowed us to fix or begin the process of fixing many past evils. I also refuse to think of my fellow Catholics and humans as ‘loopholes’. I cannot ignore the damage done by Catholic teachings on homosexuality on my friends and family, as well as undoubtedly millions of other LGBTQ people throughout its history. It was wrong in ancient times, it is wrong today.

              • Alex Marsh

                Why is it the sexual act that is wrong? We permit it (even encourage it when the couple are married) in heterosexual couples, so why not in homosexual couples?

                • Michael Ejercito

                  God said so.

                  Is any other reason needed?

                  • Alex Marsh

                    Where did He say so? You are being unhelpful, whether deliberately or not.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Admittedly, I am not Catholic. And my naivete’ will show in my question. Please allow me the vulnerability of my legitimate question without retribution.

            Is it in the purview of the Church to ever admit that they might be wrong? To have interpreted scripture incorrectly?Say like with Galileo?

            • chezami

              Sure. The Church’s charism of infallibility is actually only limited to a few things. However, the Church’s teaching that sex is only for heterosexual monogamous marriage is not one of the things where the Church is wrong or will ever change.

              • RelapsedCatholic

                I imagine Anglican bloggers saying the same thing about ten years ago. The moral arc of the universe is long, but we know how it bends.

                • Chris M

                  You overlook the enormous fundamental difference in the way Anglicans and Catholics arrive at and formulate their beliefs.

                  • RelapsedCatholic

                    Fair, but to deny that the church can change is to deny hope in my opinion.

          • Dan P

            What of the wretched creatures that find themselves overwhelmingly attracted to children? Did they ask for that? This is not a valid comparison because most psychologists agree that pedophiles seek power in their relationships with children, much like rapists seek power over women. They suffer from a mental disorder. This analogy has too often been made with regards to homosexuality and has resulted in much bigotry and misunderstanding.
            Homosexuals deal with issues of rejection for being different and the evidence seems to suggest several variables working together. It is not a choice. Violence against women and children is a choice.

        • Michael Ejercito

          God does not condemn sexually chaste, emotionally intimate relationships between two homosexuals of the same sex.

          • RelapsedCatholic

            So they can be married in every way that counts except sexually? I think the church could better spend its time inspiring faithfulness and fidelity rather than policing people’s orgasms.

            • Michael Ejercito

              Why is buggery so important? Why do you take offense at the Church’s teaching on buggery? I do not see anyone here arguing that the Church should permit idolatry and blasphemy.

              • Alex Marsh

                Can I please ask what, exactly, the Church’s teachings on sexuality are based on? I am honestly not sure why the Church believes homosexuality to be wrong. I expect I am missing something. Please explain.

                • Michael Ejercito

                  The teachings are based on the Word of the LORD.

                  • Alex Marsh

                    Which bit? I’m not reading the whole thing to find one rule.

                  • Alex Marsh

                    Which bit of it?

              • Alex Marsh

                Why does the church teach that the sexual act is so important in this specific case? And if you’re going to say “Word of God” or “God says so” could you please tell me where you get this from? Thank you.

                • Michael Ejercito

                  Lev. 18:22

    • Rosemarie


      >>>To call homosexuality disordered is just plainly ascientific

      The Church isn’t using the word “disorder” in a scientific sense but a theological sense. It simply means that attraction to members of the same sex is not ordered to the end of procreation and is therefore “dis-ordered,” or not ordered properly. It does *not* mean that homosexuality is a mental disorder. It means that our passions are unruly as the result of the Fall and in some individuals this manifests itself in same-sex attraction. In other people it is manifested in other ways. We’re all wounded by original sin; in one way or another we are all disordered (in the theological sense).

      >>>Somehow sexual dimorphism is evidence of God’s will, yet the fact that
      homosexuality is plainly observable in an incredibly diverse number of
      species (and is likely just as ancient) is somehow not.

      As I wrote two months ago on this blog: “just because animals do something doesn’t mean it’s right for humans. Some animals mate by having the male forcibly subdue the female, so is rape okay for humans? Female praying mantids tear their mates heads off, should we do that? The answer is obvious.” No, I’m *not* equating homosexual activity with rape. My point is that even if homosexuality can be demonstrated in the animal kingdom that doesn’t mean it’s okay for humans, even as other behaviors exhibited by animals are not moral for us.

      >>>This teaching tells a young homosexual that their love and commitment is sinful and forbidden.

      Actually, love and commitment as such are not sinful and forbidden, but homosexual *acts*. If two gays live as roommates in platonic friendship they are not sinning, so there can indeed be a certain love and commitment between them that is not forbidden.

      • RelapsedCatholic

        Thank you for the thoughtful response.

        Your first point is well taken, however everyone that discusses homosexuality as disordered simultaneously use analogies to alcoholism and other psychological and scientific disorders. If we are gong to argue that disordered is a strictly theological term we must avoid comparisons that do not apply. Also, part of natural law revolves around observations from the natural world. We did not understand homosexuality until the year 1850 or so, why would we not incorporate this new knowledge into our natural law? I have read this argument before and it revolves around the notion that a male and female are required for reproduction therefore that must be how God intends things to be. Yet the presence of homosexuals may be of tremendous evolutionary advantage for animals that are as social as humans. One natural phenomenon is evidence of divine will (sexual dimorphism) yet another natural phenomenon (homosexuality) is considered sinful. Your point on rape is again well taken, but I suggest that we can look to scripture for help in interpreting scientific knowledge. We shall know a tree by its fruits. The committed gay families I have met are testaments to the deep love and compassion that God has instilled in us all. There are very few species where parents will raise children that they know are not their’s biologically. It is one of our most redeeming qualities. Lastly, I understand that love and committment are not forbidden, but there is a difference between the love and commitment between friends and lovers, and for us sex is simply a part of the bonding process between monogamous couples. Sins of the flesh pale in comparison to sins of the spirit, so if two people are allowed to create a marriage in the deepest spiritual levels why would it be banned on a physical level? I’m not suggesting we even have to change the most general rules concerning sex, just that we make an exception like we have for post menopausal couples and infertile ones.
        I believe we have discussed this before and I must say you are one of the most reasonable and respectful people to have a discussion with.

        • Michael Ejercito

          If we are gong to argue that disordered is a strictly theological term we must avoid comparisons that do not apply.

          Idolatry and blasphemy is disordered.

          We did not understand homosexuality until the year 1850 or so, why would
          we not incorporate this new knowledge into our natural law?

          And how should we incorporate this knowledge?

          • RelapsedCatholic

            Idolatry may be disordered, however it is not a psychological disorder, and homosexuality is not comparable to alcoholism or any other psychological disorder. My point was that while one may consider it theologically disordered, homosexuality is not a psychological disorder.

          • Alex Marsh

            By realising that homosexuality is clearly not inherently any worse or better than heterosexuality.

            • Michael Ejercito

              Except that homosexuality tempts people to perform as sinful act.

  • Gabriel Blanchard

    I don’t know how universal (heh) it is, but my experiences have definitely resembled Ron Belgau’s more than Joey Prever’s (though I’m fond of both of them — but, you know, not in a gay way 😉 ). I have on rare occasions experienced a sort of condescending pity from non-Catholics when I explain my belief in the Church’s teaching; more commonly they have respected it, even gone out of their way to do so. On the other hand, I have been shouted at, called a sodomite and a faggot, presumed to be a pedophile, and reprimanded and bound to silence for admitting to same-sex feelings as a teenager; and all of that — all of it — has been at the hands of fellow Christians. (Catholics have not been disproportionately guilty of these things in my experience, thankfully, but I have an unpleasant hunch that that is as much because I’m a convert as anything else.) In any event, we must expect some degree of opposition from the World; but the Church’s sins, we ourselves must deal with. Attending to other people’s sins is a risky business even when it’s necessary, and I agree with Mr. Belgau that today’s prostitutes, tax collectors, and Samaritans should not be expected to be the worst sinners.

  • BM

    May I suggest that shame and modestly preclude us from talking about our sexual desires, attitudes or temptations in a public, even flippant way? Whether “gay” or “straight”, such talk serves to cast the minds of others on what modestly teaches us we shouldn’t be focused on. There are occasions when this might be necessary, just as looking at anatomical drawings is necessary for a Catholic who is studying to be a doctor. But if necessity does not demand it, why label yourself and speak such that others _must_ think about your sexual desires and temptations in order to understand the words you use? This is Immodest Speech 101. It’s a sin, last time I checked.

    This also may be the reason why we haven’t seen a “development” in Catholic evangelization in this regard: the the wider culture and especially the gay culture is hugely immodest; and to appropriate it to ourselves would be to engage in the sin of immodestly and shamelessness. Of course, there is no lack of Catholics who think we should sin so that a good may come of it….but I won’t argue that here.

    • chezami

      You can suggest it, but it’s not true. A need to control others on your part does no constitute immodesty on their part.

      • BM

        Where is your evidence or argument that it is false? I could quote texts from Saints and doctors of the Church to support my contention, but I suspect they would be dismissed. At any rate, my conscience informs me that I should refrain from speaking sexually in public, especially to strangers whose minds I should want to be directed to things loftier than my personal sexual desires. I would consider myself impious if I did so, and doing harm to others.

        Seriously ask yourself this: is it good to go out of my way to direct the minds of others unnecessarily to a consideration of my sexual desires? Yes or no? Which answer bespeaks of modesty, which doesn’t? The answer seems clear to me.

        And why do you interpret what I say as a “need to control others”? I am fairly certain that I have lived and worked with many more gay people than you, none of whom I ever tried to control (I am professionally in the arts, and for years have worked almost exclusively with gays). I am certain that you would not hear any one of them tell you that I tried to control them; although there were attempts on their part to affect me. In fact, I could have charged some with sexual harassment, but chose to let it go. Charity demands that you interpret others favorably. You chose not to do this here, but rather made a baseless accusation against me. How could you possibly know my psychological state and attack me for it? You can’t, for it is interior and hidden. This is exactly what “Judge not” refers to: interior, hidden things that you can only make a rash judgement about.

      • James

        As an orthodox Catholic man who happens to have an exclusive attraction to other men, may I frankly add, Mark, that if you labeled me as a “gay man” or (worse) a “gay Catholic” to my face, I’d be pretty pissed? I don’t wish to be labeled with the same term used for Dan Savage or Andrew Sullivan. I loathe that term, which destroyed what was a perfectly good word. I don’t care that the twisted “gay-friendly” secular culture came up with the term and loves to employ it; kindly don’t call me “gay”, thanks. My sexual inclinations do not make up my identity. Perhaps you can take CS Lewis’s advice more fully and tread more lightly in an area of which you have no personal experience. For a start, not all those who sincerely disagree with the use of the term “gay” in Catholic parlance are evil bigoted Pharisees. I have a hard enough time as it is getting pressured by the gay world to be “true” to my “gay nature”. I want nothing to do with that identity.

        • chezami

          I’m not labeling you anything. I don’t even know you. You can call yourself whatever you like or you can refrain from calling yourself anything at all. My observation is simply that in common English usage “gay” can cover both chaste and unchaste homosexual and that if somebody says they are a faithful gay Catholic who abides by the Church’s teaching, I’m not gonna train and interrogation spotlight on them and quiz them about their sex life. I’ll take them at their word. I take you at your word too.

        • Mapinder Baba Singh

          I am sorry that you are biter.

    • Balin

      Thank you for your comment. I really enjoyed the phrase “…and especially the gay culture is hugely immodest”. Especially those people. I’m merely immodest, maybe hugely immodest. Those people are especially and hugely immodest. I don’t know exactly what that means but it sounds like people I can feel superior to and that sounds attractive -but not in an especially and/or hugely sinful way, of course. I am so glad I am not like those people. I am always on the lookout for people like yourself who can reassure me that I am not at the bottom of the pecking order of sinners and that there are still sinners less equal than myself. I can now go out and point my finger at all those people who unlike myself are especially and hugely immodest. I’m sure they too will point a finger back at me although I don’t think it will be the same finger. But, hey, what can ya expect from those people. Especially those people who are especially and hugely whatever something or other but most importantly especially and hugely not like me.

      • BM

        “Hugely” is the adverbial form of the word “huge”, which can mean: of unbounded extent, scope, or character; limitless, etc. Ever seen gay pride events or simply watched the lesbian/gay TV channel? The remainder of the reply writes itself. No need to thank me. Pax.

        • AtalantaBethulia

          Can we agree that homosexuals don’t have a corner of the market on promiscuity?

          There are people who are promiscuous who are straight.
          There are people who are promiscuous who are gay.
          There are people, gay or straight, who are celibate and who are monogamous.

          I seem to recall a little-known parade in the French Quarter of New Orleans that’s famous for a few things. And then there’s Carnival in Brazil. Oh. And Spring Break. And those late night videos about girls gone wild… and Burning Man… and Sturgis… and…

          no. I don’t watch the gay and lesbian channel.

          And do you know what one aspect of why so many gay pride parades are over the top? Because when people feel rejected by the church, they often say, “Screw it. If they think I’m going to hell anyway, I might as well do it big.”

          One of our ministers, Kate, marched with 30 members of our church last year in our city’s LGBTQ pride parade. They were carrying a rainbow flag that said, “God is still speaking,”. It’s the tag line for the United Church of Christ and ends with a comma because they believe no one should put a period where the Divine put a comma. She wore her clerical collar to distinguish herself as a member of the clergy. She doesn’t usually wear a clerical collar, but she did it intentionally that day.

          The now too familiar “God hates… ” people were there with their signs and their bullhorns making sure they loudly proclaimed how much God hated everyone.

          The biggest surprise, Kate said, was how throughout the parade young people would walk up to her and ask if she was a priest. “No” she said. “I’m an ordained minister.”

          “Can I take my picture with you?” a young woman asked. “My father is a minister and he will never believe someone like you was here to support someone like me.”

          Over and over again young people asked her, “You mean God doesn’t hate me? You don’t hate me? There is a church that doesn’t believe God hates me?”

          “No,” she told them again and again with a smile and a hug. “God loves you.”

          She reminded the congregation the next Sunday morning that Jesus never condemned anyone nor rejected anyone…ever.

          As each young stranger left her embrace they would whisper in her ear, “Thank you for being here.”

          • BM

            I didn’t intend to state otherwise. I never claimed that I haven’t committed worse deeds than those of gays or believe I am superior, as some anti-fingerpointing fingerpointers believe above. (Oh, the irony!) It is important to realize that the grace given to each is unknown. So, it is perfectly possible that someone who outwardly sins greater is less guilty than someone who doesn’t. One implication of this is that it is very hard for anyone to think he is better than another. In a way it makes this very thing in principle unthinkable.

            Also I never said God hates anyone, so there is no need to confound my suggestion with that foolish view. Never in my life have I said that. In what Catholic teaching do you find the words: “God hates X person?” It only takes about 5 minutes of googling to find that Catholics hold that God loves all persons. I was suggesting that prefacing your life and thoughts with the identification of your person with your sexual desires makes little sense, regardless of what those desires are. I have never, not once, found it necessary or helpful in my own life to do so, so I genuinely have to wonder about its efficacy for others.

            Moreover, I granted that there are situations that can warrant revealing it; however the tradition set by St. Augustine’s Confessions suggests the need to speak carefully and tactfully. St. Albert the Great also says (somewhere) in one of his theological masterpieces before a discussion about certain sexual matters that they ought to only be considered in our minds to the extent necessary to help lead a person to holiness and priests to advise those in confession. Sounds reasonable to me. Mr. Prever appears to be a good case in point. From what I can tell, having visited his blog over the years, is that he seems like a tactful witness to the Catholic faith trying to lead others to holiness and a pretty cool dude to boot.

  • enness

    I’m completely fine with not making assumptions or getting excessively pedantic about semantics.

    If that was all you said, there would be no issue…but it wasn’t. I remember quite well.

  • Dan.P

    I have lived most of my life as a chaste gay catholic. I have felt, for the most part, rejected by most Catholics, viewed with suspicion and presumed to be immoral and a pervert. It is a hard life and I understand why so many people choose not to live it because you feel like you don’t belong…and everybody wants to belong and feel accepted by others. I don’t accept the homosexualist movement, but on the opposite side, the Church has a long way to go in supporting and valuing its gay people.

  • EdinburghEye

    Gay people who are faithful to the Church’s teaching bear a cross and should be honored, not punished, for it. What is the matter with people?

    The Catholic Church teaches that there is something wrong with LGBT people.

    Now, if you are a genuinely nice person, you can believe both that there is something fundamentally wrong with your neighbour, and love them despite that. But, most people, encouraged to believe that there is something wrong with someone, will not react like that.

    All churches that teach the gay-hatin’ gospel have people who are meaner or nastier than others, and also have people who genuinely think they can despise a person’s sexual orientation and yet treat that person with kindness.

    Your own assumption here:
    It will come from unchaste, rigidly intolerant gays for his being Catholic and choosing to be chaste.

    makes the assumption that there is something wrong with LGBT people. (I don’t share the religious belief that a person needs to be celibate for God not to hate them, but it’s really not my business what someone I don’t know chooses to do or not do, so long as they don’t hurt anyone else doing it. Most LGBT I know have got enough crap from religious folk in their time that they’ve learned to love people for what they are.)

    Spread hate, you build hate. Spread love, you get love. The LGBT community has been spreading love for decades: sadly the Catholic Church has been spreading hate and contempt for just as long.

    (And yes, I know many Catholics who profoundly disagree with the official Church position on LGBT people: spreading hate sometimes just doesn’t stick, which is great! My own feelings about this are here.)

    • Michael Ejercito

      There is something wrong with all people. because all people have fallen short of the glory of God. LGBT people are people. QED

      • EdinburghEye

        Denying that Catholics persecute and abuse lesbian and gay Catholics for their sexual orientation will not make the problem go away.

        • Michael Ejercito

          There is no doubt that gay persons have been persecuted for their feelings. See Thomasson v. Perry, 80 f.3d 915 (4th Cir. 1996) (en banc) (deciding challenge to a military discharge based on admission of homosexual feelings) To persecute people merely for their feelings is wrong, and the church condemns it.

          However, buggery is a sin.

          It is malum in se.

          It smells of devils and death.

          There can be no justification for it.

          • Xavier

            Speak of sin, Miguelito, after you have confessed your own. You have many sins. You have flouted the teachings of the Church with a boastful and proud heart. And this is known to us.


            • Michael Ejercito

              I note your complete inability to address the content of my post.

              • EdinburghEye

                Condemning sexually active gay men because you think they’re all having anal sex and you believe that to be a sin, does say rather more about you and your feelings about anal sex than it does about anything else. Just keep telling yourself that it’s none of your business how your neighbours have sex, and not your concern to condemn their marital privacies as a sin.

                • Michael Ejercito

                  Whom have I condemned? I have not accused anyone of buggery.

                  • EdinburghEye

                    Oh, right. So your comment about how “buggery is a sin” was just an offtopic random thought, without any connection to the subject of the post?

                    • Michael Ejercito

                      Ity was from your claim that the Catholic Church teac hes that there is something wrong with LGBT people?

                    • EdinburghEye

                      So, let’s go back to the original point, Michael: regardless of your feelings and desires about buggery, which are entirely your own business and you should really keep them to yourself if you don’t want other people to know about them, what your LGBT neighbours are doing with each other in their marital privacy is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. None whatsoever.

                    • Dsarker

                      Just because it isn’t his business, doesn’t make the act moral or even neutral.

                    • EdinburghEye

                      Dsarker, prying into your neighbour’s marital privacies is not a moral – or even a neutral – act. So Michael is just plain wrong to do so.

                      Setting yourself up to judge other people’s sins is not a moral or a neutral act either.

                      “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
                      Michael’s – or your own – thoughts and feelings about buggery, your need to focus on that particular sexual act – that’s the log in your own eye. Michael quite evidently thinks a *lot* about buggery. Well, that’s his business. But the gospels quite strongly advise him to focus on his own sins, not his neighbours’.

                    • Dsarker

                      And? Like Mark, I don’t care what they do in their own bedroom. It’s a sin, yes, but there are many sins.

                      I don’t quite know what you’re trying to get at, unless you’re trying to say that every act is immoral, which is wrong.

                    • EdinburghEye

                      And? Like Mark, I don’t care what they do in their own bedroom.

                      This sub-conversation began with Michael, who evidently does care what his gay neighbours are doing in their marital privacy, and furthermore, wants to share his thoughts about what he thinks his gay neighbours are doing with everyone.

                      I don’t quite know what you’re trying to get at

                      That while Mark and yourself are politely prepared to claim you don’t care what your gay neighbours do in their own bedroom, you also are quite happy (apparently) to have Catholics like Michael pry into and denounce what your gay neighbours are doing, and won’t condemn Michael for his nosy prurience in making your gay neighbours feel unwelcome.

                      If you actually want to make gay Catholics feel welcome in the Church, you do need to stand up to the nastiness of the Michaels, not just passively sit back and congratulate yourself on being nice enough not to actually take part in Michael’s gay-baiting.

                    • Alex Marsh

                      We shouldn’t condemn Michael. I would be wary of using that word in your argument against condemning people. It might come across (rightly) as hypocritical. However, I agree with all else you have said. It is never right for us to judge others for (really rather small) sins (if they are sins at all, which I still doubt) and we should certainly stand up to those who do. What is important to keep in mind is that we do not fall into the trap of judgment ourselves.

                    • Alex Marsh

                      May I interject? I do not do this to insult your views: I simply want to know what it is about homosexuality that makes it a sin. As a Catholic myself, I have never understood the view. Please could you explain it?

          • EdinburghEye

            Michael, it is none of your business how two consenting adults have sex in private. You may believe if you like that God takes an interest in how couples have sex, but even if you believe God peeks inside the bedroom and condemns consensual anal sex as “smelling of devils and death” that is not your concern. Condemning your neighbour’s sins is one of those hypocrisies explicitly forbidden, isn’t it?

            • Michael Ejercito

              It is none of my business on whether someone else worships an idol.

              It is still a sin and malum in se, whether it is my business or not.

      • RelapsedCatholic

        Yet your love of your chosen beloved is condoned and applauded. It is held up as a mirroring of God’s loving act of creation. Others intend to love another as they have bee n created to do, and our answer is rejection, forced isolation, and second class humanity. The universe presents us with so little beauty and so much ugliness, I don’t understand why our church rejects these people.

        • Michael Ejercito

          Yet your love of your chosen beloved is condoned and applauded. It is held up as a mirroring of God’s loving act of creation.

          And yet, if I were to express my love by cursing the Holy Name of God, it would still be a sin.

          Love is no excuse for sin.

          • Alex Marsh

            Yet it is no sin to say “do not hate these people, because they are people too”. Compassion and love have to come first. I see little wrong with homosexuality. I haven’t been convinced by most arguments against it that I have heard. Maybe that makes me a bad Christian, and if so then I hope God will forgive me, but I simply don’t believe that we should judge others for their sexuality. It seems wrong that we should feel that love can ever be a sin. Obviously sins can be committed in the name of love, as you point out, but the love itself is what we are speaking of here. And love is rarely wrong.

            • Michael Ejercito

              Nothing in the Bible condemns an emotionally intimate, sexually chaster relationship between two homosexuals of the same sex.

              • Alex Marsh

                So what makes the sexual act so important? We permit it between heterosexual couples, after all.

                • Talking Mouse

                  The Lord through His Church (not us) only permits any sexual act between a married heterosexual couple. I am a virgin female in my 50s, all sexual acts are also denied me since I am not married.