THE SERVANT GENERAL
RECOGNITION OF SAME-SEX UNIONS - 12
Active homosexuality is an abomination. It is a work of the
evil one. Widespread homosexuality among God’s people,
especially among our clerics, will bring down the wrath of
God upon us, as at Sodom and Gomorrah.
In the Synod, some prelates wanted to introduce acceptance
of homosexuality, beginning with recognizing the good that
is in homosexuality. For example, they speak about the fidelity
of the gay couple in their relationship. Yes, fidelity is
a good virtue, but that does not make same-sex unions good
in any way. There is nothing good about same-sex sexual relationships.
In fact, it is diabolical.
The way of some prelates is the way the enemy creeps into
the Church (he already actually is way inside the Church).
Just accept the good that is there (there is none). But then
that opens up a small window where the serpent enters, until
finally there is full acceptance and practice of homosexuality.
To not speak about the evil of active homosexuality is false
mercy. It is in fact cruel “mercy,” as it leaves
a person in his serious sin, with the result of being plunged
into eternal damnation.
Today’s politically correct environment in many parts
of our Church avoids speaking against homosexuality. Those
who do so are labeled bigots and homophobes. This is the evil
one’s way to silence us. We must not be silenced. We
must speak out and denounce this great evil. The spiritual
well-being of persons, and of the whole Church, is at stake.
Peter Damian on the ‘plague’ of homosexuality
in the priesthood: are we reliving the past?
ROME, November 18, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- The
"cancer" of sodomy among priests threatens to bring
down the wrath of God upon the Church, according
to a Catholic saint and doctor who addressed a similar crisis
in the priesthood over 900 years ago.
In his Book of Gomorrah, recently published in a
new translation by Ite ad Thomam Books and Media, Damian takes
special aim at the growing acceptability
of homosexuality among the clergy, warning
that it is “creeping through the clerical order, and
indeed is raging like a cruel beast within the sheepfold of
Christ.” He warns that unless this growing tolerance
of homosexuality among clerics and the faithful is rooted
out, “it is certain that the sword of divine fury is
looming to attack, to the destruction of many.”
Book of Gomorrah seems particularly relevant in the
face of recent statements about
homosexuality from the most influential leaders and groups
within the Catholic Church which have led many to believe
that the Church stands ready to adopt an open-minded perspective
on homosexuality. Such statements include,
but are not limited to, the abuse of Pope Francis’ famous
statement in 2013 “Who am I to judge?”, and the
statement from the 2014 Synod on the Family’s midterm
report implying that homosexuals, on account of their proclivity
to this sin, have “gifts and qualities to offer to the
Damian, an 11th century Italian Catholic reformer and a Doctor
of the Church, argued that for
the Church to be the salt of the earth and a light to the
world, she must uncompromisingly preach the whole truth about
God’s plan for sexuality and how terrible are the consequences,
both temporal and eternal, to those who engage in the “unnatural
sexual practices” of homosexuality, masturbation, and
Even though Damian, who lived from 1007-1072, wrote his Book
of Gomorrah almost a thousand years ago, his analysis
of the problem of homosexuality within the Church at that
time has been viewed by many as remarkably contemporary, fresh,
and insightful when read alongside current movements within
the Church seemingly bent on changing the Church’s moral
teaching. Damian addressed his book to Pope Saint Leo IX,
asking him to take action against the practice of homosexuality
among clerics and monks that was widespread at that time.
St. Peter Damian, 11th century Doctor of the Church
Translator Matthew Hoffman, who dedicated the new edition
to Pope Francis, told LifeSiteNews that the book carries an
important message for the present time, especially in highlighting
what he called the “extremely destructive” effects
of homosexual behavior on the human person, both spiritually
“Damian…is a powerful voice from our past reminding
us of the terrible gravity of homosexual behavior, and indeed
any perversion of the sexual act,” he said.
Following Scripture and the Tradition of the Church, Damian
sees homosexuality as a “diabolical”
corruption of God’s beautiful plan for sexuality between
a man and a woman. It is a direct assault against God. Not
only must it not be tolerated, but it must be condemned and
stamped out, he writes. Homosexuality is a
“lethal wound festering in the very body of the holy
Church” that must first be recognized as a wound before
any treatment and healing can take place.
Damian chooses his words carefully in warning about the severity
of the disease.
“This vice [of same-sex
activity] is the death of bodies, the destruction of souls,
pollutes the flesh, extinguishes the light of the intellect,
expels the Holy Spirit from the temple of the human heart,
introduces the diabolical inciter of lust, throws into confusion,
and removes the truth completely from the deceived mind.”
“It prepares snares for the one who walks, and for him
who falls into the pit, it obstructs the escape. It opens
up hell and closes the door of paradise. It makes the citizen
of the heavenly Jerusalem into an heir of the Babylonian underworld.
From the star of heaven, it produces the kindling of eternal
fire. It cuts off a member of the Church and casts him into
the voracious conflagration of raging Gehenna.”
“For it is this which violates sobriety, kills modesty,
slays chastity. It butchers virginity with the sword of a
most filthy contagion. It befouls everything,
it stains everything, it pollutes everything, and for itself
it permits nothing pure, nothing foreign to filth, nothing
clean,” he states.
While the outspoken defender
of the Catholic faith may be seen by modern detractors as
a “homophobe” and a “bigot,” Damian
makes it clear that his words arise out of a profound love
“For how am I loving my neighbor as myself, if I negligently
allow the wound, by which I do not doubt him to be dying a
cruel death, to fester in his soul? Seeing therefore the spiritual
wounds, should I neglect to cure them by the surgery of words?”
It is out of love and concern for others that Damian
warns those engaging in homosexual practices of the punishment
of eternal separation from God that awaits them if they remain
unrepentant and die in their sin.
“I myself…weep over you, and from the depths of
my heart I sigh over your lot of perdition. I weep over you,
I say, O miserable soul given over to the dregs of impurity,
you who are to be lamented with a whole fountain of tears.”
“You are most greatly to be wept over, because you do
not weep. You are in need of the sufferings of others because
you do not feel the danger of your ruin, and you are to be
wept over all the more by bitter tears of fraternal compassion
because you are not troubled by your own sorrowful lamentation,”
Regarding the question of practicing homosexuals receiving
Holy Communion, Damian is clear that homosexual
activity cuts off the life of God in the soul and makes one
“unworthy of receiving in his mouth the heavenly offering
of the Eucharist.”
Hoffman told LifeSiteNews there is no
hatred in the doctor’s words, only mercy.
“Quite the contrary; his work is all about mercy and
love of the sinner, and therefore
the hatred of the sin that harms him. He never
expresses hatred of the sinner at all, but seeks his reconciliation
Damian begs those caught up in the homosexual lifestyle to
abandon their sin and return to “the abundance of the
divine mercy.” He encourages those who have fallen to
repent, assuring them that by the route of humility they may
progress to even greater spiritual heights than those from
which they fell.
“Arise, arise, I implore you! Wake up O man who sinks
in the sleep of wretched pleasure! Revive at last, you who
have fallen by the lethal sword before the face of your enemies!…Enter
into a constant struggle with the flesh, and always stand
armed against the importunate fury of lust. If the flame of
wantonness burns in your bones, the recollection of perpetual
fire should immediately extinguish it,” he said.
Hoffman said that Damian’s words offer a
severe warning to the Church if she fails in preaching the
full truth about the danger of homosexuality.
“Damian warns that sodomy,
particularly in the priesthood, is like a terrible plague
that threatens to bring down the wrath of God.
He warns that priests who are engaged in such evils are not
proper intercessors for the people and, in fact, will tend
to provoke divine vengeance rather than reconciliation.”
“He also warns prelates, such as bishops and superiors
of religious orders, that if they fail to correct those who
are under their authority, they will be held accountable for
their sin. He denounces their ‘cruel mercy’ and
‘impious piety,’ in refusing to punish evildoers,
which causes the wounds of their sin to fester rather than
“Unfortunately our own
prelates seem to have adopted the opposite idea regarding
sexual sin in recent years, claiming to be ‘merciful’
by refusing to recognize the gravity of the evil and its destructiveness,”
he said, adding that this will only cause great harm to the
Church and to its mission to preach the gospel in season and
out of season.
Editor’s note: LifeSiteNews readers can purchase
The Book of Gomorrah at a 15% discounted price from Ite ad
Thomam Books and Media here and will also receive a free copy
of the e-book.
Complete interview with The Book of Gomorrah’s
translator Matthew Hoffman.
LifeSiteNews: Do you see movements or
stirrings happening within the Church today that are similar
to what St. Peter Damian was fighting against a thousand years
ago? What are some examples?
situation of the Catholic Church in the 11th century, when
Damian lived, resembles our own time in some disturbing ways.
The priesthood back then had been infiltrated by a large number
of morally lax men who had little respect for sexual morality,
including homosexuals who made “prostitutes” out
of their “spiritual sons,” in the words of Damian.
Unlike today, however, many priests were openly living in
immoral unions with concubines or illicit wives, and did little
to hide other scandalous personal behavior. This
behavior even included some popes, who set
a bad example for the rest of the Church.
Damian reminded Pope Leo IX of the traditional law that was
to be applied to priests who were caught in any kind of lascivious
behavior with minors: they were to be publicly humiliated,
their heads shorn of their tonsure, spittle rubbed in their
faces, imprisoned in a monastic cell for six months and forced
to fast on barley bread while they engaged in penance, and
then to be held under the guard of two other monks for the
rest of their lives. This very rigorous punishment reflected
an understanding of the gravity of such evil that was diminished
dramatically in recent decades.
The tough penances imposed by the Church for sodomy helped
to maintain a sense of the gravity of the deed. Such penances
could last for decades. Even clerics who might be readmitted
to the clerical state would have to do those penances and
would in fact be subject to harsher ones than those imposed
on the laity.
Although the Church continues
to teach that any sexual act outside of marriage is gravely
sinful, its system of punishment for clerics who commit acts
of sodomy and child sex abuse was relaxed very substantially
following the Second Vatican Council. We reaped
the fruit of that laxity in the form of a very large number
of tragic sexual abuse cases that could easily have been prevented
if the Church’s clerical leadership had adhered to traditional
LifeSiteNews: Does Damian say anything
about the spiritual consequences of active homosexuality?
What are his warnings?
Hoffman: Damian regards homosexual
behavior as extremely destructive to the human person, both
spiritually and psychologically. He writes
that “this vice is death of bodies, the destruction
of souls, pollutes the flesh, extinguishes the light of the
intellect, expels the Holy Spirit from the temple of the human
heart, introduces the diabolical inciter of lust, throws into
confusion, and removes the truth completely from the deceived
mind.” These interior torments are seen as a prelude
to the eternal sufferings of hell, if the perpetrator does
not repent before death.
Damian writes that those who
are given over to sodomy are provoked to fight “impious
wars against God,” and are consumed
by guilt and shame. This analysis might be seen as explaining
much about the modern homosexual
movement, which seems obsessed with attacking Christians and
forcing them to cooperate in the recognition of homosexual
unions. “His flesh burns with the fury
of lust, his frigid mind trembles with the rancor of suspicion,
and chaos now rages hellishly in the heart of the unhappy
man,” Damian adds regarding sodomites.
He also anticipates modern critiques of homosexual attraction
by noting that no authentic complementarity exists between
people of the same sex. “What do you seek in a man,
that you are unable to find in yourselfwhat difference
of sexes, what diverse features of members ...?” he
However, his message is not merely one of condemnation, but
also of hope for those who have fallen into sexual immorality,
that God may liberate them and restore them to himself. He
expresses profound grief over those who have fallen into sexual
perversion, and urges them to “Arise ... Wake up O man
who sinks in the sleep of wretched pleasure! Revive at last,
you who have fallen by the lethal sword before the face of
your enemies!” He assures those who have fallen into
the sin of sodomy that they can rise to even greater spiritual
heights than those from which they fell, although he is also
clear in his view that those
guilty of the worst kinds of sodomy cannot be permitted to
return to the clerical state.
LifeSiteNews: What is Damian's most important
message to the Catholic Church today in which we find influential
Catholic leaders seemingly trying to open a door to an acceptance
Hoffman: Saint Peter Damian, who has the
title of Doctor of the Catholic Church because his teaching
is regarded as so authoritative, is a powerful voice from
our past reminding us of the terrible
gravity of homosexual behavior, and indeed
any perversion of the sexual act. His definition of “sodomy”
includes contraception and masturbation as well, reminding
us that all forms of sexual
perversion are condemned by the Church, and that they all
exist on the same continuum of evil.
Damian does not regard the condemnation of sodomy as a mere
technical matter of Church doctrine, as many prelates in the
Church appear to do today. He sees it as “the
worst of sins,” and even
evidence of demonic possession. This is in
keeping with the Scriptures that regard sodomy as one of the
four sins that cries out for the revenge of God. His perspective
on this matter is also clearly affirmed by Pope St. Leo IX,
who wrote to Damian that “everything that this little
book contains has been pleasing to our judgment, being as
opposed to diabolical fire as is water.” It is also
consistent with the Holy Office’s 1962 decree on priest
sex abusers that called sodomy
and child sex abuse “the worst crime.”
LifeSiteNews: Does Damian preach hatred
Hoffman: Quite the contrary; his work is
all about mercy and love of
the sinner, and therefore the hatred of the sin that harms
the sinner. He never expresses hatred of the
sinner at all but, seeks to have the sinner reconciled with
LifeSiteNews: According to Damian, what
are the principal dangers the Church faces in not preaching
the full truth about homosexuality?
Hoffman: Damian warns that sodomy, particularly
in the priesthood, is like a terrible plague that threatens
to bring down the wrath of God. He warns that priests who
are engaged in such evils are not proper intercessors for
the people and in fact will tend to provoke divine vengeance
rather than reconciliation. “Beware of inextinguishably
inflaming the fury of God against you, lest by your prayers
you more sharply provoke Him whom you patently offend by your
evil acts, and while your ruin is certain, beware of being
made guilty of the ruin of another,” he writes.
He also warns prelates, such as bishops and superiors of religious
orders, that if they fail to correct those who are under their
authority, they will be held accountable for their sin. He
denounces their “cruel
mercy” and “impious piety,”
in refusing to punish evildoers, which causes the wounds of
their sin to fester rather than curing them. Unfortunately
our own prelates seem to have adopted the opposite idea regarding
sexual sin in recent years, claiming to be “merciful”
by refusing to recognize the gravity of the evil and its destructiveness.
LifeSiteNews: Some scholars have claimed
that Pope St. Leo IX “rejected” Damian’s
recommendations for rigorous punishment of sodomy and even
“rebuked” Damian. Is there any truth to that claim?
Hoffman: No, and in fact the preface I wrote
at the beginning of the book examines the issue and finally
puts this myth to rest. As I noted above, Pope Leo IX praised
the Book of Gomorrah in the highest terms, and moreover Leo
responded with a stronger system of punishment than Damian
Some scholars have taken a single phrase in which the pope
recognizes the ancient laws of the Church regarding sodomy
but then says “we, acting more humanely,” and
then lays down his judgment in how to deal with the matter.
This phrase “we, acting more humanely” is not
a rebuke of Damian, as I show, but is in fact a citation of
an ancient council of the Church which used the same phrase
to justify a less rigorous form of punishment. The punishment
decreed by Leo, however, exceeds what Damian himself requests
at the end of the Book of Gomorrah, so there is no rebuke
at all nor rejection of anything Damian wrote.