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A great column appeared in last Friday’s edition of The Boston Pilot, written by Fr. Tad Pacholczyk, of the National Catholic Bioethics Center.  For all those who consider themselves “gay,” this should make for a thought-provoking read:

“Gay Genes,” Sexual Attractions, and the Call to Chastity

Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Posted: 7/15/2011

People often surmise that same-sex attraction is inborn, and that homosexuals are “naturally gay” or “born that way.” They suppose that if  God made them that way then it must not be a sin to act on their sexual desires. The possibility of a “gay gene” is sometimes offered as a further defense, suggesting that the condition, and its associated behavior, are inevitable and inescapable. One commentator summarized it this way: “Asking someone to stop being homosexual would therefore be equivalent to asking an Asian person to stop being Asian or a left-handed person to stop being left-handed.”

Even if a hypothetical “gay gene” were ever found, all it would likely determine, similar to most genes governing behavior, would be a genetic predisposition towards a particular sexual preference. This would be something very different from the genetic determinism or “hard-wiring” of, say, eye color or blood type. Multiple twin studies have already demonstrated that only about a third of the identical twins of those with same-sex attractions also experience same-sex attractions; whereas if sexual attractions were determined strictly by genes, those with identical genes would be expected to have identical attractions.

Even if we have genes that predispose us towards certain behaviors, we still have a space of freedom within ourselves, and do not have to engage in those behaviors. Our genes may impel us strongly in certain behavioral directions, but they can’t compel us.

This reminds us of one of the fundamental truths about our human nature–namely, that we are not creatures of sexual necessity. We are not compelled to act on our inclinations and urges, but are always free to act otherwise, even directly against the grain of those inclinations. In fact, to be truly free as a human means to have the strength to act against ourselves, so that we do not live in bondage to our own inner impulses and drives, a key consideration that distinguishes us from the animals. Human freedom involves the mastery of those drives by redirecting them and ordering them to higher goals. So while we cannot in any way be held responsible for in-born inclinations, we certainly can be held responsible for how we choose to act in the face of those inclinations.

Sherif Gergis summarizes this idea in a recent article: “We do not pretend to know the genesis of same sex attraction, but we consider it ultimately irrelevant to this debate. On this point, we agree with same sex marriage advocate Professor John Corvino: ‘The fact is that there are plenty of genetically influenced traits that are nevertheless undesirable. Alcoholism may have a genetic basis, but it doesn’t follow that alcoholics ought to drink excessively. Some people may have a genetic predisposition to violence, but they have no more right to attack their neighbors than anyone else. Persons with such tendencies cannot say ‘God made me this way’ as an excuse for acting on their dispositions.'”

Even though God did make each of us in a certain way, it is clear there are other factors that have influence over our personal constitution and inclinations as well, including actual sin and original sin. It is not difficult for us to see, through the turmoil of our own disordered inclinations, how our human condition, our general biology, our psychological depths, and even our DNA, seem to be subject to a fundamental fallenness.

It would not be unexpected or surprising, then, if we eventually discovered predisposing factors (genes, hormones, developmental cues, etc.) that give rise to heterosexual or homosexual inclinations. What is of real moral relevance to the discussion, however, is the universal call to chastity, irrespective of genes and hormones.

Chastity refers to the successful integration of sexuality within the person, and all men and women are called to live chastely in keeping with their particular states of life.

Some will do so by professing a life of consecrated virginity or consecrated celibacy.

Married people will do so by living conjugal chastity, in the exclusive and lifelong gift of husband and wife to each other, avoiding the unchastity of contraceptive sex, and sharing the marital embrace in openness to new life. Professor Robert George speaks of “marriage as a union that takes its distinctive character from being founded, unlike other friendships, on bodily unity of the kind that sometimes generates new life.”

Those who are single will practice chastity in continence, steering away from fornication, masturbation, and pornographic pursuits.

Those who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex are similarly called to
chastity in continence. By refraining from sexual activity with members of the same sex, and engaging in an apprenticeship of self-mastery, they come to acquire, like all who pursue lives of chastity, an abiding inner freedom and peace.

Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D. earned his doctorate in neuroscience from Yale and did post-doctoral work at Harvard. He is a priest of the diocese of Fall River, MA, and serves as the Director of Education at The National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia. See www.ncbcenter.org.

Here’s the third in Fr. Roger Landry’s exceptional series on the issues that surfaced around St. Cecilia Church in Boston and their scandalous plan for a Mass to celebrate Gay Pride.

We apologize for the delay in editing the petition to the Vatican we thought would be updated by Thursday. Will have that to you all shortly. In the meantime, do share this with other like-minded friends, family members, any priests and pastors you know, and Boston archdiocesan officials.

The Gospel of Chastity

Fr. Roger J. Landry
The Anchor
Editorial
July 15, 2011

For the last two weeks, we’ve been examining some of the larger issues that have been raised by the controversy over a Mass at St. Cecilia’s in Boston to welcome those who celebrate gay pride. We’ve mentioned that those with same-sex attractions deserve and need the full and authentic pastoral care of the Church. Those who are “gay” — meaning those who celebrate sexual activity and culture based on same-sex attractions —are in even greater need of the full teaching of the Catholic Church, since in addition to the normal need for pastoral accompaniment and assistance in resisting temptations they also are vulnerable to severe attacks against the faith, considering that gay orthodoxy involves the rejection of Biblical and magisterial teaching on sexual morality and marriage, and therefore the denial of the authority of Scripture and of the Church.

Central to the Church’s full and authentic pastoral care of those with same-sex attractions is the assistance to live a chaste life. When mention is made of this call to chastity, some in the gay movement shriek with exasperated incredulity, as if chastity were a death sentence to a loveless life or, worse, some type of medieval castration ceremony executed in subterranean Vatican dungeons. Chastity, however, is the precondition for any real love.

The reason why chastity is often looked at as a curse rather than a cure is because it is not often understood, lived or preached. Even among clergy, religious and catechists, chastity is regularly confused with continence (abstinence from sexual activity) or celibacy (the state of being unmarried). When the Catechism emphasizes that “all Christ’s faithful are called to lead a chaste life in keeping with their particular states of life,” and that “married people are called to live conjugal chastity,” many married couples are left scratching their heads, wondering how they can be both “chaste” and start a family. The reason for the confusion likely stems from the fact that when term “chastity” is most often used, it’s employed in the context of the sexual education of teenagers (who are called to continence in chastity) or in the description of the promises or vows professed by priests and religious (who are called to celibate continence in chastity). The confusion points to the urgency and importance for all in the Church to understand what chastity is and how all the baptized — married couples, singles, priests, religious, those with same-sex attractions and opposite-sex attractions —are called to it no matter what their state of life.

Blessed Pope John Paul II, both prior to and during his papacy, has provided the clearest, deepest, most practical and most enlightening articulation of what the virtue of chastity is. In his 1960 work, “Love and Responsibility,” he wrote that chastity is the moral habit that raises one’s attractions to another to the dignity of that person as a whole. There is a temptation — which we see in lust in general and in pornography in particular — to “reduce” another to the values of the body or, more specifically, to the erogenous zones. There is, moreover, the further temptation to “use” another — either intentionally in one’s mind or physically through his or her body — for one’s own sensual or emotional gratification; many people in our culture consensually use each other sexually in this way. This mutual utilitarianism, however, is not love, but the opposite of love. Harmonious egoisms or reciprocal narcissisms don’t lead to the formation of a loving “we,” but just two even-more-isolated egos. Love, rather, always seeks the true good of the other for the other’s sake. When a person loves genuinely, he is willing to sacrifice his pleasure or even his life for the one loved. Chastity makes this possible, because it is the virtue that trains a person’s vision as well as his will to keep his attraction to the other person up to the level of the person’s true good rather than “consume” the other to satisfy his sexual appetites.

In his papal catecheses on “Human Love in the Divine Plan,” popularly called the Theology of the Body, Pope John Paul II went even further in his teaching on chastity. He described that the virtue of chastity isn’t so much bound principally to the virtue of temperance — the virtue that helps us to master our appetites rather than be mastered by them — but to the virtue of piety. Piety is the habit that helps us to revere others according to their true dignity, according to the image of God in them. St. Paul wrote to husbands and wives, “Be subordinate to each other out of reverence for Christ” (Eph 5:21, calling them to recognize and revere Christ in each other and mutually lay down their lives for each other out of love for the Lord they recognize dwelling in the other. Linked to piety, chastity helps us to see the other as sacred subject instead of a sexual object, to treat the other with reverence rather than randiness.

Blessed Pope John Paul II’s insights help us better to see why all of us in the Church, no matter our state of life, are called to chastity.

Husbands and wives are called to chastity in their marriage. This means that they reverence the other as a sacred gift, raise their attractions to the level of their spouse’s genuine good (including, obviously, the good of the soul) and see the other as created in God’s image, fully accepting the paternal meaning of a man’s masculinity or the maternal meaning of the woman’s femininity, In simple terms, their love is meant to be holy, not horny. Lusting after each other — what Jesus called “adultery in the heart” — is, therefore, a desecration of the other in one’s intentions. Sexual practices that treat one’s spouse as an actor in a pornographic film are likewise totally inconsistent with the love one’s spouse deserves. The use of contraception, which makes sexual pleasure — rather than true openness to God, to the other, and to the life-giving potential of love — the goal of spousal sexual union, corrodes rather than makes love, because using another for one’s own ends is contrary to sacrificing oneself for the other’s true good.

Likewise all those who are unmarried are called to chastity. Pornography, masturbation, fornication, oral sex and other practices are inconsistent with one’s or another’s genuine good, accepting the other in his or her totality, and treating oneself and others with the reverence befitting a temple of the Holy Spirit. Pornography or porno-vision is the opposite of chastity, abstracting a person’s sexual values from the person’s overall good. Fornication takes advantage of another to whom one has not made a total commitment for one’s pleasure. Same-sex activity rejects the meaning of the masculinity or femininity and the natural ordering toward the gift of life. When there’s no real openness to God and to life, when the other is treated as a sexual object rather than a sacred subject, when there’s no commitment to the total person and good of the other, there’s can be no real love in this type of “making love,” whether among people of the same sex or opposite sexes. Symbiotic self-indulgence is light years away from the expression in body language of the one-flesh union of mutual self-gifts brought about by God in the marriage of a man and one woman, which is the only proper moral context for love-making to be truly loving.

Can those with same-sex attractions truly love each other? Absolutely. The Church by no means is condemning those with same-sex attractions to a loveless life; the question is what practices will be consistent with genuine love and the objective good of the people involved. The Church teaches that those of the same-sex can clearly exercise the love of friendship (philia) in which the other becomes like a second self. The Church teaches that they certainly can — and are called to — have true Christian love (agape) toward each other, a willingness to sacrifice themselves and even die to themselves and their pleasures for the other’s true good. But the Church stresses that they need to ensure the romantic attractions (eros)  they have for each other do not damage the one they love by opposing or destroying the love of agape and philia. For this they need chastity, which helps them raise their romantic attractions up to the sacred dignity of the person, which is violated by same-sex sexual activity.

Why is this message of chastity for those with same-sex attractions and everyone else so seldom heard? Some priests seem reluctant to preach the message because, sadly, either they’re not living chastely themselves or they erroneously understand and experience chastity as a deprivation from which they desire to spare others. Many lay people are disinclined to call those with same-sex attractions to chastity because they’re not practicing it either and don’t want to seem hypocritical in calling others to live what they themselves aren’t living. Others, misunderstanding chastity, think that it will relegate those with same-sex attractions to a “loveless life,” rather than provide the conditions for the possibility of any true love through the integration of eros consistent with philia and agape. If, however, we’re ever going to help individuals learn how to love (agape) others as Christ has loved us and assist them to discover a love that saves and leads to true and lasting happiness, we need to rediscover and repropose with enthusiasm the virtue of chastity, and help them to live it.

There is a group called Courage, founded in 1980 by New York Cardinal Terrence Cooke and Father John Harvey, which is dedicated to helping those with same sex attractions live chastely — through prayer and dedication, genuine Christian friendship and fellowship, mutual support and good example. Not only do we need more Courage chapters in every diocese, but the whole Church needs to have the courage and charity to become a worldwide Courage chapter to help those with same-sex attractions (and everyone else) purify and raise erotic attractions to the level of their loved one’s true good — out of reverence for God and for the image of God in others. Anything short of this is not worthy of the Church founded by Christ to lead us to holiness. Anything short of this full proclamation of the Gospel of chastity is not true pastoral care.

Michael Voris at RealCatholicTV just came out with this outstanding video describing the situation at St. Cecilia’s in Boston.

Among the more memorable lines in the video is the following at the beginning:

Is there no end to the insanity in the church these days that is allowed, defended, and even promoted by so many dioceses bishops and chanceries.  Front and center is the horrific scandal and stench emanating from the Archdiocese of Boston.

The petition to Rome is being updated this evening. Anyone who signed previously should come back on Thursday to sign the new one, and if you haven’t signed previously, please do sign it Thursday.

St. Cecilia’s Church promoted it originally as a Mass to “commemorate” and “celebrate” Boston (Gay) Pride month. Then it was postponed–not cancelled–and slightly repositioned in the bulletin notice as an “All are Welcome” Mass to welcome the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender community. It happened on Sunday, July 10, with approval of the Archdiocese of Boston, and the preaching and message were perhaps most noteworthy for what was NOT said.

1) Here’s a video from NECN (sorry, no pieces of the homily captured here, and we do not yet have a recording to post for you):

Note the buttons distributed which almost everyone in the video is wearing, that show the gay rights movement rainbow symbol superimposed on a cross.

The only recorded comment in the video from Fr. Unni is near the end, with him saying,

The Cardinal’s been supportive, he’s been very clear what the Church teaches and what it doesn’t, and he knows I have no other agenda there.  That’s not going to please everybody, but that’s the Gospel….My thing is, nobody gets excluded from the door, and nobody gets excluded from the table, and then from there, I’m just assuming we’re all trying to do the best that we can do.”

Hmm. Yes, we know the Cardinal’s been supportive.  That’s a big part of the problem.  He has been only somewhat clear on what the Church teaches and doesn’t teach by the mixed messages coming out from him and his spokesman.  If Fr. Unni has “no other agenda there,” then why has he sponsored speakers who have worked in favor of gay marriage talking in favor of gay marriage, in direct opposition to what the Catholic Church teaches?  Fr. Unni, Cardinal O’Malley, and Terry Donilon, can we get an answer to that question?  And “nobody gets excluded from the table”?  Does that mean that regardless of the level of mortal sin anyone might have committed, and an absence of repentance for that sin, they should still receive the Eucharist?

2) Here are pieces of the Boston Globe’s coverage, “Gays, lesbians draw comfort, support from Catholic Mass“:

The Rainbow Ministry of St. Cecilia’s Church opened its doors to nearly 700 people yesterday for a long-awaited Mass in support of gay and lesbian Catholics, capping a month of controversy over the Boston Archdiocese’s postponement of the service.

A standing-room-only crowd, larger than Easter Sunday’s, packed the pews to hear the Rev. John J. Unni’s characteristically fiery message of love, acceptance, and the forgiveness of sins.

Unni’s message, which encouraged the congregation to welcome outcasts as Jesus did 2,000 years ago, was similar to that of weeks past. The difference yesterday, parishioners said, was Unni’s courage to say those words during a Mass that has drawn so much vitriol as well as passionate support.

His words marked the fifth week of back and forth between the church and the archdiocese, which began when St. Cecilia’s announced in its bulletin an “All Are Welcome’’ Mass, scheduled during Gay Pride Month in support of a sizable gay and lesbian portion of the congregation. Many of those members came from the South End’s predominantly gay Jesuit Urban Center, which closed in 2007.

The announcement brought a storm of criticism from conservative Catholics and bloggers. The archdiocese canceled the service days later, saying the church could not appear to endorse homosexuality.

The day of the canceled Mass, parishioners from St. Cecilia’s Rainbow Ministry, which serves the church’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, held a sidewalk prayer service instead. But Rainbow Ministry members said that was no substitute for a clergy-led Mass inside the church. About three weeks ago, the archdiocese approved the Mass, which Unni said yesterday at 11 a.m.

Leading the processional, Rainbow Ministry president John Kelly walked into the nave in front of Unni, carrying a gold cross.

“I can’t believe this is happening,’’ Kelly later recalled thinking as he approached the altar. “I never thought I’d see this day.’’

After growing up gay in South Boston, Kelly, 69, left Catholicism for more than 20 years before finding compassion and a diverse congregation at the Jesuit Urban Center.

“I went through hell,’’ Kelly said. “But today, I’ve never felt so blessed.’’

Many in the congregation wore “All Are Welcome’’ buttons showing a cross and a rainbow, the symbol of the gay rights movement.

“Thank you for saying, ‘This is who we are,’ ’’ Unni said to gay and lesbian parishioners at the end of Mass. “You are a beautiful and integral part of this parish.’’

Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who attended the service, said he follows the teachings of the Catholic Church for most issues, but on social issues he goes with his heart. The Catholic Church accepts gay and lesbians as humans and Catholics, but considers homosexuality a sin, as it does with extramarital sex between a man and a woman, according to a 2005 letter written by Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley.

“Our church talks about coming home,’’ Menino said after the service. “I want to make sure that we welcome everyone.’’

In the hot afternoon sun outside the church, parishioners and visitors attended an alfresco reception and ate ribs, coleslaw, and cupcakes at round tables that dotted Belvidere Street.

“It didn’t make a difference that the Mass was on a different day,’’ said Joseph Sansivero, 67, of Andover, who wore a rainbow-pinstriped shirt. “The message is appreciated.’’

Richard Iandoli, vice chairman of the parish council, said Unni’s message bore special importance because his fearlessness in supporting gay parishioners, who sometimes feel shunned by other Catholics, may encourage other gay and lesbian Catholics to come back to the church.

“The message was the same, but the feel was different than it was in June,’’ said Iandoli, who was a driving force behind the service. “We know all are welcome here, but public affirmation goes a long way.’’

Here are three interesting comments on the Globe’s article:

It is always good to hear that sinners of any kind (all of us) draw support from the Mass. However, the image that is included with the story is unnerving. It seems to portray a man casually leaning on the baptismal fount as though it were a phone booth while two men dance around it. All of this while a priest or deacon looks on! This is definitely not in keeping with Roman Catholic practice and understanding of how sacred places and objects should be treated. I am embarrassed and scandalized to see this kind of thing labeled “Catholic.”

Just a simple question: Since when is Mass about celebrating one’s sexuality? OR welcoming one because of his/her sexuality?? The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was instituted by Christ at the Last Supper when he asked his apostles (and us since we are an apostolic Church) to “Do this in memory of Me.” I don’t recall Christ saying that certain groups were welcome or unwelcome. When we remember that the Mass’s ONLY focus should be Christ in the Eucharist then we won’t have issues of who is welcome or who isn’t. Hey, folks–it’s NOT about us!!! Put your pride in your pocket and realize the REAL reason we attend Mass!! If that’s not why you’re there, then it’s time to re-think your affiliations.

Just one more example of gays needing something “special” or “different” in order to call attention to themselves.  I’m a gay man and have been a practicing Catholic all my life. I’ve never NOT felt welcome at Mass or in any Catholic church — and I have never missed Mass in my life. The beauty of true Catholicism and the message of Christ is that it calls us out of ourselves, to be better than ourselves…a Mass such as this one simply calls attention to “ourselves” — “look at us, we’re gay.”  How pathetic, yet how predictable.  (And so now Mayor Menino’s theological insights make news?? Please…)

3) A report on the Mass from Catholic blogger, Carol McKinley of The Tenth Crusade is here. Here’s a small piece, but do read the whole thing:

Fr. Unni’s homily explained exactly whose souls are inadequately prepared to receive the Word – it’s the ‘hard liners’ and religious authorities who just ‘don’t get it’.  You see, Jesus opposed religious authority because He said stupid stuff like everyone was welcome, come to Him wracked with shame, whether you are gay or a prostitute or any other person on the margins. Religious authority and hard liners don’t get it. Remember that Nicodemus came through the roof.

Fortuitously, he read the Gospel of Matthew before and after the parable of the sower and you know what he found? That Christ said if he had gone to Sodom and did what He did for outcasts, they would have gotten it. Get it?  No?

He knew this was all going to be open for misinterpretation, but he is not giving the green light -no no – it’s about loving people taking care of other people.

Jesus said ‘these people’ are people who lay heavy burdens and rules upon you but if you come to Him, He will give you rest. Know who you are. God sees who you are and He will give you rest. Stand in your own strength.

Fr. Unni said he was not giving the green light? Well, if he’s not giving the “green light,” then where is the orange or red light?  How can promoting gay marriage at your parish not be seen by parishioners and anyone else as “giving the green light”?  And if “nobody gets excluded from the table and he assumes everyone is just doing the best they can, how can that not be seen as “giving the green light,” since Unni never preaches about a red light.”

Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Bishop Robert Hennessey, and Fr. Unni are all abdicating their responsibility to teach the truths of the Catholic faith about sexual morality and the path to holiness and salvation to the “GLBT Community” at St. Cecilia’s.  It’s clear as day. Whatever little Cardinal O’Malley  published in his short statements and whatever The Pilot published that articulated church teaching in this area are clearly NOT being preached and taught at St. Cecilia Church.

When will the Pope, Congregation for Bishops, and Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith do something about this is another question?

Fr. Roger Landry, a priest of the Diocese of Fall River, has just published the second in what’s shaping up to be a brilliant 3-part series on the controversy at St. Cecilia’s in Boston and the pastoral care of homosexuals.  Once again, it’s “must-reading” by every Catholic and Catholic priest who cares about ministering to homosexuals and leading them to a life of holiness.

(For anyone attending the 11am Mass at St. Cecilia’s this morning, please remember this is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, regardless of what else is happening around it. All sinners are called to conversion and we hope and pray that message is delivered today, especially in view of the Gospel reading for today. Mayor Tom Menino will be there, and with all of the advance publicity, this could be somewhat of a media circus. Please be careful to not turn it into any more of a media circus than may already be in store).

Now, without further ado, here is Fr. Landry’s column:

Loving in the Truth Those Involved in the Gay Lifestyle

Fr. Roger J. Landry
The Anchor
Editorial
July 8, 2011

Last week we began a look at the controversy at St. Cecilia’s Church in Boston over the scheduling of a Mass originally advertised to celebrate “gay pride” and then after criticism postponed and relabeled to a “welcoming Mass,” which while perhaps no longer explicitly extolling gay pride still seems poised to give no-questions-asked hospitality to those who believe that gay pride should be glorified, including within the context of a Catholic Mass.

We noted that the controversy raises several concerns that extend beyond a particular parish or archdiocese with regard to the authentic pastoral care the Church owes those immersed in a gay lifestyle or in any lifestyle that exalts practices that are incompatible with the Gospel. The only adequate Christian response to anyone is love, but this love can never remain a shallow hospitality that fails to help the person recognize and respond to the rather conspicuous ways Christ is challenging him to turn away from sin and believe in the Gospel. Particularly with those ensconced in a gay lifestyle — which is a way of life built on regarding several basic truths of anthropology, sexual morality, marriage, Scriptural inspiration, and magisterial authority as antiquated and repressive “hang-ups”  from which people need to be liberated — the Church’s charity must always be bound to the compassionate, clear and compelling presentation of the fullness of the truth that alone can set them free (Jn 8:32). The stakes of the Church’s failure to carry out this service to the truth are huge, not only for those presently involved in a gay lifestyle, but also for the conscience formation of all in the Church and society. As we recently witnessed in New York and are well aware of in Massachusetts, people are being barraged by an aggressive, well-financed gay campaign, assisted by the media and educational establishments, to get people to adopt the anthropological and moral categories of the gay movement and anathamatize those of the Church. If the Church remains silent in the face of the moral heresies of the gay movement today, it could prove to be as injurious to her mission for the salvation of souls as if she had remained silent before the Christological heresies of the fourth and fifth centuries.

With that in mind, we will examine three common falsehoods that have come to the surface in the St. Cecilia’s controversy to which the Church must respond with the truth.

The first is the facile citation of “What would Jesus do?” that was repeatedly employed by supporters of the “gay pride Mass” against criticism of the Mass. They implied that Jesus would never do anything other than embrace those in the gay movement and that the critics were therefore nothing other than modern Pharisees against whose hypocrisy Jesus reserved his most pungent castigations. The irony of this reference to what Jesus would do is that it suggests that just as Jesus never turned his back on sinners, neither would he turn his back on gays and lesbians; while absolutely true, it goes against one of the fundamental premises of the gay movement, that gays and lesbians are doing nothing sinful. Thinking about what Jesus would or would not do as a standard for morality, nevertheless, is helpful. It deserves to be asked: Would those defending gay pride by citing WWJD think that Jesus would want to associate with, not to mention participate in, a gay pride parade like the one held in downtown Boston last month, in which men dressed in religious drag as the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence,” shamelessly simulated acts of sodomy on parade floats, and passed out free sex paraphernalia and sadomasochistic literature to passers-by? We see a relevant example of what Jesus would do in his interaction with the woman caught in adultery (Jn 8:2-11). He first defended her against those who sought to kill her, by reminding her accusers that they were not innocent enough to throw stones at anyone else. But after assuring her that he didn’t condemn her, he told her to go and sin no more. The Church likewise seeks to protect and defend those engaged in same-sex conduct from hatred and violence, but, like her Founder, lovingly insists they leave the gay lifestyle behind.

The second falsity is about the “acceptance” of those with same-sex attractions. Many of those speaking to the media during the St. Cecilia’s controversy expressed their desire to be accepted and allowed to worship God “as they are.”  This is a sincere and noble desire. Those in the gay movement, however, generally have two profound errors about what this acceptance should entail.

One error flows from the fact that those in the gay movement generally have too shallow and reductive an understanding of what it means to “accept” them. They want others to acknowledge their attractions for people of the same-sex, not condemn them for having them, and not try to get them to change them. The Church, however, can’t stop there, at the level of their attractions, because their sexual desires are neither co-extensive with “who they are” nor constitute the fundamental basis of their identity and dignity. True acceptance also involves recognizing that at the deepest level of their being, those with same-sex attractions are made in God’s image and likeness, and ordered ontologically as male or female toward sexual complementarity (Gen 1:27). Those with same-sex attractions need to accept this fundamental truth about who they are, even though it’s obvious that they faultlessly do not experience these natural attractions. This is one reason why the Church teaches that that those with same-sex attractions experience an “affective disorder,” a misalignment between their nature as a male or female and their sexual feelings (CCC 2357). This fuller truth about who they are can’t be ignored or rejected when they ask for, and we give, acceptance. Just as we must go beyond a shallow welcoming that fails to help them in turn welcome the fullness of the Gospel, so we must also go beyond a superficial acceptance that fails to help them accept the full truth of how God made them.

Another error over “acceptance” occurs when those in the gay movement suggest that by accepting them we must accept their same-sex activity, as if their actions, like their attractions, are something over which they have no control. Cardinal Sean O’Malley responded to this demand with clarity and courage back in 2004: “Sometimes we are told, ‘If you do not accept my behavior, you do not love me,’ In reality we must communicate the exact opposite: ‘Because we love you, we cannot accept your behavior.’” True love means, obviously, that we don’t condemn them for the behavior that disfigures their identity, but it does mean that we try to help them to change their behavior to align it with the love of God and true love of others.

The third falsehood relates to the common calumny that any opposition to the gay agenda, or any criticism of a “gay pride Mass,” comes exclusively from “homophobia” or “hatred” for those with same-sex attractions, as a few members of St. Cecilia’s alleged in interviews with the media. While there’s no dispute that, sadly, in some places real homophobia does exist, ministers to the gay community have a duty not only not to abet this confusion but to disabuse those entrusted to their care from thinking the Church’s teachings on same-sex activities are based on hatred rather than love grounded in truth; they also have the responsibility to remind them that judging others or mendaciously bullying others with epithets about their character are grave sins that those with same-sex attractions are not exempt from committing.

These false accusations, however, lead to a larger point about how much the tide has turned with regard to the direction of bullying between those with same-sex attractions and others in society. Whereas in the past, those with same sex attractions were often subject to ill-treatment and ridicule on account of their attractions, including sadly by those who claimed to be Christian, now it’s Christians who are often subjected to ridicule and, in a growing number of cases, discrimination. If anyone doubts this point, they should just ponder what Constance Cervone of Jamaica Plain said in a June 28 Boston Globe article on St. Cecilia’s: “It was harder for me … to come out as a Catholic than as a gay person.” This is an indication that, at least for her, “Christianophobia” is presently more menacing than “homophobia.” The Church as a whole, and those who minister to the gay community in particular, must have the courage to address this.

Next week we will finish this three-part series on the full pastoral care of those with same-sex attractions in the truth by focusing the Church’s responsibility to call them and everyone in the Church to true love, which is always and exclusively chaste love.

This is just a quick follow-up to the last post about what you can do if you’re Fed up with the lackluster, confusing responses from the Archdiocese of Boston to the ongoing scandal of the “Rainbow Ministry” at St. Cecilia’s in Boston.  Some people said they couldn’t get to the petition page, so we’re giving you the link via both the hyperlink (click here) and graphic.

Also, a reader pointed out that the wording on the petition could have improved, so we’re making a small change to that. The petition said Cardinal O’Malley and others had abdictated their responsibility to help lead Catholics to the Truth in their response to the ongoing scandal at St. Cecilia’s. That is still true and accurate.  Though it could be said that Cardinal O’Malley published a statement and that the Pilot published a piece, the problems are that the statements from the archdiocese and Cardinal were confusing, conflicting, sometimes inaccurate, and even more importantly, the words on a piece of paper do nothing to address the ongoing problem of the flawed or inadequate teachings on sexual morality at St. Cecilia (and elsewhere for that matter).

For the many people who want to ensure the Catholic Church in Boston clearly articulates the teachings of the Church and leads people on the path to holiness and salvation, you can now easily ask the Vatican to intervene in this scandal.  Here’s the revised letter below:

I am writing to request that the Congregation for Bishops and Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith intervene to address the scandal over the Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender(GLBT) Ministry at St. Cecilia Church in Boston.

As you may know, St. Cecilia Church had planned and promoted a Mass to “celebrate” and “commemorate”Boston’s Gay Pride Month on June 19. The Mass was rescheduled to July 10, and withapproval of Cardinal O’Malley and the Archdiocese of Boston it is still beingpromoted as an “All Are Welcome” Mass to welcome the GLBT community. The Mass is reflective of an ongoing scandal at this Church and in Boston:

  • This parish has an active “Rainbow Ministry” for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) Catholics. Their blog, whose history was recently deleted, has promoted a number of speakers and programs incompatible with Church teachings on sexual morality.
  • Nothing about the Rainbow Ministry or ministry to homosexuals at St.Cecilia’s calls those with homosexual attractions to repentance, conversion and turning from sin, or chastity as essential to growing in holiness. Courage ministry is not present at the parish.
  • In recent years, the parish–with knowledge of the pastor, Fr. John Unni–has promoted speakers on “gay marriage” who specifically worked to advance legalized “gay marriage” and opposed the Church’s teachings on marriage.
  • Fr. Unni has called “hateful” those Catholics who opposed the original “Gay Pride” Mass. He preached in the presence of his regional bishop, Robert Hennessey, that he had no idea what the agenda of Gay Pride was, yet he had agreed to celebrate a Mass that was to commemorate Gay Pride.
  • Senior leaders of the parish council and Rainbow Ministry have been quoted publicly saying they believe a Mass to celebrate Gay Pride is analogous to a Mass for elderly and shut-ins or a Mass held in prison. They have also been quoted saying that teens who think they might be gay should “come out” and get “new energy and life.”

The Boston bishops, instead of addressing the problems with the Rainbow Ministry and promotion of the gay agenda at St. Cecilia’s, are praising the pastor and parish while criticizing faithful Catholics.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley, through his spokesman, Terry Donilon, reacted by saying Fr. Unni is an “outstanding pastor” who has the “full confidence” of the Cardinal and the parish is a “wonderful example of an exceptional parish.” At the same time, the archdiocese has expressed harsh criticism of Catholics who complained tha thomosexuals are being led astray at the church, saying criticism by faithful Catholics was “outrageous and disgraceful,” “malicious,” and was “about hurting, defaming, speaking mistruths.”

Beyond these problems, now the Catholic Mayor of Boston, Tom Menino, who has a strong record of support for gay marriage, Gay Pride, and abortion, has announced plans to attend the July 10 Mass. A number of individuals have asked Cardinal O’Malley if Menino will be denied communion consistent with Canon 915, and there has been no response.

Although Cardinal O’Malley has published certain statements that reinforce Catholic Church teachings in this area, other comments by him and his spokesman are ambiguous and conflicting, and send a mixed message. The reality of what is happening in Boston parishes and schools is often in conflict with Church teachings. In view of these ongoing concerns, it seems clear that CardinalO’Malley, Bishop Hennessey, and Fr. Unni have all abdicated their responsibility to help lead Catholics to the Truth in their handling of the ongoing scandal at St. Cecilia’s. The failure to teach the truths of ourfaith is putting the salvation of souls at risk.

I respectfully ask that you intervene in whatever way you feel appropriate to ensure that the Truths of Catholic Church teachings on sexual morality are taught at this parish and promulgated publicly throughout the Archdiocese of Boston. I also ask that you take whatever action necessary to ensure that those responsible for these problems are no longer in such positions of responsibilit yin the future. Finally, I ask that you add to the topics planned for the Archdiocese of Boston’s November ad limina visit, the abdication of leadership and failure of archdiocesan leaders to teach the truths of our faith.

Thank you for your assistance and urgent action on this grave matter.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

If you’re concerned that St. Cecilia’s is not leading people on the path to holiness and salvation and you’d like for the Vatican to intervene to address this scandal, click on the Fed Up button to the right or click here.

Please continue to share with your like-minded friends and family members.

A lot of people are fed up with the lackluster, confusing responses from the Archdiocese of Boston to the ongoing scandal of the “Rainbow Ministry” at St. Cecilia’s in Boston, the promotion of “gay marriage” at the church, and the previously scheduled Gay Pride Mass–now rescheduled and repositioned as an “All Are Welcome” Mass for their GLBT community.  If you’re Fed Up, you can take action today.

For the many people who want to ensure the Catholic Church in Boston clearly articulates the teachings of the Church and leads people on the path to holiness and salvation, you can now easily ask the Vatican to intervene in this scandal.  Here’s the text of a letter.  If you agree with it, just click on the “Fed Up” button (or click here if the button doesn’t work for you), fill in the form, click submit, and your letter will be emailed or faxed to the Holy Father, Congregation for Bishops, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Papal Nuncio.  Here’s the text of the letter we’ve drafted:

I am writing to request that the Congregation for Bishops and Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith intervene to address the scandal over the Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender(GLBT) Ministry at St. Cecilia Church in Boston.

As you may know, St. Cecilia Church had planned and promoted a Mass to “celebrate” and “commemorate”Boston’s Gay Pride Month on June 19. The Mass was rescheduled to July 10, and withapproval of Cardinal O’Malley and the Archdiocese of Boston it is still beingpromoted as an “All Are Welcome” Mass to welcome the GLBT community. The Mass is reflective of an ongoing scandal at this Church and in Boston:

  • This parish has an active “Rainbow Ministry” for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) Catholics. Their blog, whose history was recently deleted, has promoted a number of speakers and programs incompatible with Church teachings on sexual morality.
  • Nothing about the Rainbow Ministry or ministry to homosexuals at St.Cecilia’s calls those with homosexual attractions to repentance, conversion and turning from sin, or chastity as essential to growing in holiness. Courage ministry is not present at the parish.
  • In recent years, the parish–with knowledge of the pastor, Fr. John Unni–has promoted speakers on “gay marriage” who specifically worked to advance legalized “gay marriage” and opposed the Church’s teachings on marriage.
  • Fr. Unni has called “hateful” those Catholics who opposed the original “Gay Pride” Mass. He preached in the presence of his regional bishop, Robert Hennessey, that he had no idea what the agenda of Gay Pride was, yet he had agreed to celebrate a Mass that was to commemorate Gay Pride.
  • Senior leaders of the parish council and Rainbow Ministry have been quoted publicly saying they believe a Mass to celebrate Gay Pride is analogous to a Mass for elderly and shut-ins or a Mass held in prison. They have also been quoted saying that teens who think they might be gay should “come out” and get “new energy and life.”

The Boston bishops, instead of addressing the problems with the Rainbow Ministry and promotion of the gay agenda at St. Cecilia’s, are praising the pastor and parish while criticizing faithful Catholics.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley, through his spokesman, Terry Donilon, reacted by saying Fr. Unni is an “outstanding pastor” who has the “full confidence” of the Cardinal and the parish is a “wonderful example of an exceptional parish.” At the same time, the archdiocese has expressed harsh criticism of Catholics who complained tha thomosexuals are being led astray at the church, saying criticism by faithful Catholics was “outrageous and disgraceful,” “malicious,” and was “about hurting, defaming, speaking mistruths.”

Beyond these problems, now the Catholic Mayor of Boston, Tom Menino, who has a strong record of support for gay marriage, Gay Pride, and abortion, has announced plans to attend the July 10 Mass. A number of individuals have asked Cardinal O’Malley if Menino will be denied communion consistent with Canon 915, and there has been no response.

Cardinal O’Malley, Bishop Hennessey, Fr. Unni, and Terry Donilon have all abdicated their responsibility to help lead Catholics to the truth in their response to the ongoing scandal at St. Cecilia’s. The failure to teach the truths of our faith is putting the salvation of souls at risk.

I respectfully ask that you intervene in whatever way you feel appropriate to ensure that the Truths of Catholic Church teachings on sexual morality are taught at this parish and promulgated publicly throughout the Archdiocese of Boston. I also ask that you take whatever action necessary to ensure that those responsible for these problems are no longer in such positions of responsibilit yin the future. Finally, I ask that you add to the topics planned for the Archdiocese of Boston’s November ad limina visit, the abdication of leadership and failure of archdiocesan leaders to teach the truths of our faith.

Thank you for your assistance and urgent action on this grave matter.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

If you’re concerned that St. Cecilia’s is not leading people on the path to holiness and salvation and you’d like for the Vatican to intervene to address this scandal, click on the Fed Up button to the right.

Have at it, and please share with your like-minded friends and family members.