THE SERVANT GENERAL
NORMALIZING THE LGBT LIFESTYLE
April 4, 2015
The whole conflict between the liberals/progressives and the
conservatives/traditionals on the issues of human sexuality
is about acceptance of homosexuality and gender ideology (to
put it crudely, of sodomy). Pro-gay Catholics, and there are
very many of them, not just those who are actually gay, insist
on acceptance of LGBT as normative behavior. And they are
very intolerant in their stand.
They are very skilled in projecting their position, and they
are able to use social media to great effect. They thus are
able to gain sympathy from those who are not fully aware of
what is going on. They even base their arguments on Christian
virtues, such as mercy and compassion.
Catholics must know their faith, and what Christ and his Church
truly teaches. Only then can we fight this demonic assault
on our faith and on our Church.
trumps Faith in new ‘Catholic’ LGBT film
April 1, 2015 (CrisisMagazine.com) -- “Human beings
procreate male-female, but human sexuality isn’t just
about that. It’s about so much more, which is self-evident.”
So says Fr. Patrick Conroy, chaplain of the U.S. House of
Representatives, at the outset of a recently released short
film promoting the normalization of LGBT lifestyles within
the Catholic Church.
The film is entitled “Owning Our Faith,” which
is richly ironic in ways that the director, Michael Tomae,
surely did not intend. Except for Catholic writer Eve Tushnet
(a complicated case, whose work has been discussed on Crisis
in the past), all the featured participants clearly and openly
dissent from Catholic teachings on sexuality. They are indeed
interested in “owning” their faith. But the ownership
they seek is of a distinctly proprietary nature.
There’s little point in trying to refute the film’s
arguments as such, because there really are none. If the word
“Catholic” were omitted from the audio track,
almost nothing would suggest to a listener that the content
of the film had anything to do with the Catholic tradition.
There is no serious discussion of theology or doctrine. The
quote from Fr. Conroy above is the closest it ever comes to
“engaging” the Church’s teaching on sexual
ethics. It’s clear throughout that the individuals featured
are not interested in learning what their faith might have
to teach them. As they see it, they are the teachers, appointed
to remake the Church in their own image.
Thus we see Fr. Conroy lamenting that gay and lesbian Catholics
cannot be “fully participating in the sacramental life
of our Church.” In case anyone is unclear as to what
he means (because of course, experiences of same-sex attraction
do not exclude anyone from full participation in the Church’s
sacramental life), this is juxtaposed against “married
couple” Matt and Rick Vidal discussing why they choose
to remain “faithful Catholics,” despite criticism
from their LGBT friends. “We are the Church,”
declares Rick, “and if we leave it, if we abandon the
Church, then it’s never going to change, so we have
to continue living here, being an example, and encouraging
other people to be that example, because that’s what’s
going to change the Church.”
Is there anything these men like about Catholicism as
it is? Any reason not to seek out one of the
(numerous) other communities and churches that would be happy
to affirm them in whatever sexual lifestyle they might choose?
They don’t say, and neither do any of the other featured
speakers. Here and elsewhere, we are left with the distinct
impression that most of them remain in Catholic communities
primarily as a favor to the rest of us, so that we can benefit
from their gifts and unique insight. A review of the film
at National Catholic Reporter stated that, “Not
every viewer will agree with every opinion expressed in ‘Owning
Our Faith,’ but only the most rigid of believers would
question the love these Catholics have for their church.”
At the risk of joining the ranks of the rigid, I do indeed
feel moved to ask: what do these Catholics love about their
church? They don’t tell us. We only hear about what
needs to change.
It’s difficult to argue with a film that isn’t
working on the level of rational argument. Nevertheless, it’s
worth responding to the general thrust and ethos of the film
with three important points.
The first relates to the claim , made on the film’s
website and in other promotional materials, that productions
of this sort are created as part of an effort to “promote
open dialogue” about same-sex attraction and related
issues. This is exactly the opposite of their intent, and
it’s important to be clear on this point. Propagandistic
videos of this sort are intended to bypass, or even
to shut down, any real or serious discussion of the moral
dimensions of same-sex attraction.
a dialogue, morally relevant issues are stated clearly so
that they can be analyzed and considered. What we have here
is a long string of emotional appeals. “My gender transition
was immensely spiritual to me,” says Mateo Williamson,
who self-identifies as a transgendered man. “Sexuality
is how we express our inner soul, our inner energy,”
enthuses Mike Roper who self-identifies as gay. In a particularly
shameful piece of emotional blackmail, grandmother Nana Fotsch
urges parents of same-sex attracted Catholics to accept their
children’s declared sexual identity and related lifestyle
choices or “you’re going to lose them.”
(Don’t all of Christianity’s hard teachings have
the potential to alienate us from loved ones? Shall we just
jettison the whole Catechism right now? Our Lord has some
rather stern words about those who prioritize family relationships
above the truths of the Gospel.)
Though there’s nothing Catholic about its message, Owning
Our Faith pursues a strategy that is entirely consonant
with a larger (and thus far, remarkably successful) progressive
project. Don’t try to win the argument about
sexuality and marriage. Play for sympathy. Appeal to emotion.
People today are so thoroughly confused about sex and marriage
that they have few defenses against an onslaught of politically
loaded sentimentalism. And you can’t lose an argument
that you never have.
This leads us to the second important point. Uncomfortable
as it may sometimes be, loving people just doesn’t entail
approving everything they do. Neither should we accept anyone
“exactly as he is,” because of course all of us
are sinful, fallen and in need of transformation by grace.
This is not a message that these “owners of faith”
want to hear. Katie Chiarantona, one of the film’s representative
“straight” contributors, sums up the film’s
prevailing view even more neatly by declaring that she cares
enormously about the place of homosexuals in the Church because
she has many LGBT friends and, “it is unconscionable
and unthinkable for me to support an institution that doesn’t
celebrate them and encourage them to live fully as who they
Who among us can really say with any confidence that we know
who our friends (or we ourselves) really are? This
is a dangerous conceit. None of us here below have yet realized
our perfected state. Most of us, I expect, still have a significant
way to go. But progression towards supernatural fulfillment
is not possible if we begin by issuing ultimatums to God about
the conditions under which we will accept divine grace.
Such an effort brings to mind the parable of the wedding banquet
, in which a king invites all and sundry (including the poor
and commoners) to his son’s wedding, but ends up evicting
one guest owing to a lack of appropriate wedding attire. Quite
obviously, the king in the story is not a philistine when
it comes to standing on ceremony; he’s just ushered
the local riff-raff into the most formal of state affairs.
Nevertheless, the guest who refuses to dress properly is forcibly
removed. Clearly there is a lesson about the importance of
accepting grace on God’s terms, and not our own. All
of us are welcome at the Lord’s table, but we may not
simply come as we are. Being Christian means looking for faith
to change us, not the other way around.
This leads to the final point. While there is some space for
discussing the appropriate pastoral response to deep-seated
same-sex attraction, the Church’s broader position on
same-sex attraction is perfectly clear. It is intrinsically
disordered, and homoerotic relationships are immoral. There
is no reason to think that this teaching can, should, or ever
will change. Quite the contrary, once one understands the
Catholic position on sexuality, it becomes clear that it cannot
possibly be tweaked in such a way as to allow disgruntled
LGBT activists the affirmation they seek.
Fr. Conroy’s position, as stated in the opening quote,
is a straw man. Of course no reasonable person supposes that
sexuality is “only about” procreation, if by that
we mean that sex should be viewed in a coldly clinical light
as a utilitarian means to achieving pregnancy. Clearly, erotic
love involves far more than that, and how could it
not, given the magnitude of what procreation really is? To
even begin to do justice to that tremendous good (the begetting
of immortal souls and perpetuation of the human race) erotic
love must be a noteworthy thing indeed.
However, the Church has consistently maintained that erotic
love, at least among mere humans, must be ordered
towards procreation. Every effort to slice and dice the relevant
pieces of the conjugal package into more-palatable portions
(by sanctioning sex without marriage or marriage without permanence
or erotic relationships of multiple sorts that are intrinsically
closed to life) has been rejected by the Church, and for good
reason. Embracing the life-giving nature of sex is the key
that enables Catholics to articulate a noble, elevated and
meaningful portrait of erotic love, which makes sex into something
more than a tangled mash-up of bodies and emotions.
The conversation that dissenting LGBT Catholics (and their
“straight allies”) want to have is already over.
On some level they know this, which is why they seek sympathy
instead of engagement. But there is some good news. For those
who really do love their Church, full participation in its
sacramental life is always available. They need do only what
all Catholics are expected to do: stop trying to fix our faith,
and pray instead for it to fix us.
Reprinted with permission from CrisisMagazine.