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Busted Halo
feature: politics & culture
December 31st, 2009

A Queer Conversation

A traditional nun and her openly gay cousin discuss sexuality and the Catholic Church

by and Sr. Bernadette Reis and Paul Mages
 
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aqueerconversation-inside1

Growing up just south of Los Angeles, Sr. Bernadette (Mary) Reis would see her cousin Paul Mages when her family took vacation trips to visit his family in the Milwaukee area. For the first 25 years after she entered the convent with the Daughters of St. Paul at the age of 14, Sr. Bernadette and Paul saw each other only at a couple of family gatherings.

Having reconnected over the past two years while living near each other in New York City, Sr. Bernadette and Paul have developed a deeper friendship. This has forced them to bridge the very different worlds they inhabit: Paul’s as an openly gay man and Sr. Bernadette’s as a member of a traditional Roman Catholic religious order.

During their wide-ranging discussion they confront issues ranging from how Sr. Bernadette reconciles the Catholic Church’s teachings regarding homosexuality with her relationship with her cousin and his longtime partner, to how being gay deepens Paul’s commitment to his Christian faith.

BustedHalo: I’d like to start by asking from both of you, what do your friends think about your relationship with each other?

Paul Mages: Well I know that the first time I invited my cousin Mary [Sister Bernadette] over to where I live there was a Fourth of July cookout, my landlady and her daughter, who’s about 32, both live in the building and the daughter pulled me aside and said, “You never told me your cousin was a nun.” [laughs] So I think people, I don’t know — they just don’t assume that you’re friends with religious, but she’s just another person in the world.

Sister Bernadette: I came pie in hand, and it was the best pie that they had there. [laughs] So yeah, and it was just very normal, it felt very comfortable.

PM: Right, they expect religious to be in their own cloistered community.

BH: What was it like for you, Sister Bernadette, when you found out Paul was gay?

SB: I figured it out before he told me. I knew that Paul was up in Canada, and suddenly all of the letters that he addressed to me had his partner’s name along with his, and I knew. I knew from the very beginning. I was not surprised. I did start to really hope that eventually in his own time he would be able to tell me and know that he would be accepted.

BH: So your first reaction wasn’t that you were upset?

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SB: No, no. It was more like this profound longing — because I knew, just knowing our family, I knew why he would be keeping it under wraps. My family is very, very traditional. My parents were taught to judge actions based on a morality that is very black-and-white. They also feel obligated to remind family members of the Church’s teaching in the area of sexual morality, because of their concern for the salvation of family members. We are a bit more faithful church-goers than most people are so there was just this deep yearning that — even though I “wear my religion on my sleeve” that Paul would somehow know that I’m a human being first, and that our relationship hopefully would have been built on a foundation that he would know that sensitive side of me. So that’s where I was coming from.

BH: But you didn’t address that though when you next saw each other?

SB: We saw each other in May of 2000 when our grandmother died. No, I really felt it should come from him. And I didn’t make any hints that I knew. I didn’t want to embarrass him. I didn’t know where he was at. But I really did want to eventually, and that’s why I was so grateful when I found out two years ago that we were both going to be living in New York City and by that time he had already told me.

PM: Well, I didn’t come out to anybody in the family until I met somebody that I thought at that time that I’d be with forever. Because I thought that would add some validity to being gay, and then they wouldn’t think it’s some sexual thing that you just try out and it’s casual and not serious, not meaningful. So after I met my partner — I was only with him a few months — I thought that would be forever. So I told my parents. And surprisingly, they were very nonjudgmental. Because, you know, my parents aren’t maybe quite as extreme as far as their religious observance, as Mary’s family is; but they were still pretty traditional and there were things you did, things you didn’t do. You went to church every Sunday, no questions asked. So I was pleasantly surprised that they were kind and supportive and loving, you know, “We’ll always be here for you,” “We love you,” “Nothing’s changed.” And so I wanted to tell other people too. Slowly I let people in, you know, telling other people in the family. But it wasn’t difficult to tell Mary. Because first off, she’s family, so I expected her to be loving. Secondly, she’s a religious, so I was thinking she wouldn’t be judgmental, which she wasn’t, but I guess a lot of religious might be, even though they probably shouldn’t be. I just knew that she would let God do the judging and she wouldn’t make me feel at all like I wasn’t accepted. And then personally I just knew that she’d be compassionate and she’s a great listener, too. So it was an easy environment for me.

BH: And your connection to the Catholic Church maybe hadn’t been strong?

PM: Well, my connection was very strong. In college I started just questioning, and I would still go to church all the time and I was very much into it, but I wanted it to make sense. I wanted it to be real. I wanted it to be meaningful. And so I slowly got a little bit away from being Catholic, but more into being Christian. And so now I go to a Christian church that’s not Catholic. But to me all the essentials are there. The communion with God and the physical communion, the communion with others. The Old Testament, the New Testament. The singing, the worship. I find the environment more welcoming to me. I never felt that the Catholic Church was outwardly condemning me, but I just knew the hierarchy was feeding the message of “being gay is wrong.” So after a while I thought, ‘why am I in this environment where I’m not officially welcomed?’

SB: I do wish that when Church teaching is presented to the general public, for example, as in the Catechism of the Catholic Church or in sermons, that the language chosen could be adapted to the background of the audience. This way, what the Church teaches may have less of a chance of being perceived as insensitive.

BH: What do you mean by “the language chosen could be adapted?”

SB: For example, the Church uses the word that homosexuality is “disordered and unnatural” — that’s the typical language that’s used. These words are understood differently by those who have not studied philosophy or theology. And so for Catholics who do not have the background to understand this language it adds to the level of shame that Paul alludes to. The way that they understand the word “unnatural” for example is like they are in some way inhuman.

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PM: Like a mistake, maybe.

SB: Yeah, maybe.

PM: Something to be corrected.

SB: Yeah. Right. And really, I think official Church teaching, could use other language and provide reasons that are comprehensible to the ordinary person. Even Pope John Paul II admits in Love and Responsibility that the Church has really not done Her job in providing the “why” behind the teaching on sexual morality in general; the call to sexuality and how the Church does view the use of that gift from God within marriage, as it teaches. But also I think that it would be helpful if the topic could be dealt with from a personal level as well as a moral level. For example, more contemporary autobiographical accounts of those who have grappled with the teachings of the Church and their own sexuality — like St. Augustine did. Traditionally, however, the language used is borrowed from Thomistic philosophy. There are certain laws that are innate to human nature and are accessible to human nature, that is comprehensible to us through the use of reason. The “natural” expression of sexuality, according to this natural law, is between a man and a woman, the end of which is procreation. This law is comprehensible based on the way that men and women are created and what happens naturally when sexuality is exercised without any outside interference.

“I think official Church teaching, could use other language and provide reasons that are comprehensible to the ordinary person. Even Pope John Paul II admits in Love and Responsibility that the Church has really not done Her job in providing the “why” behind the teaching on sexual morality… But also I think that it would be helpful if the topic could be dealt with from a personal level as well as a moral level. For example, more contemporary autobiographical accounts of those who have grappled with the teachings of the Church and their own sexuality — like St. Augustine did. Traditionally, however, the language used is borrowed from Thomistic philosophy.” — Sister Bernadette

The use of the words “unnatural, or disordered” then, means that homosexual activity is an aberration. Other actions in which this language is employed is; for example, murder. It’s not natural for us to murder. It’s something that happens but inside all of us is something that says that that’s wrong. The Church teaches that homosexuality is on that same level, and that’s why they use the word “unnatural or disordered” when explaining its position. Many people clearly see the unnaturalness of murder; it is harder for many to understand why homosexual acts, and other sexual acts, are unnatural.

In terms of sexual integration, I think, many people narrow morality to sexual morality. I really believe that two of the strongest drives in the human person are anger and the sexual drive. This is why there is so much violence and sex in movies. It’s because we are working out those drives that are in us, and because they’re the ones that we just can’t seem to control, they’re the ones that get worked out the most. And so if we can create a dialogue with people about what they’re feeling and how all of our unconscious, past and present experiences are often being acted out through violence and sex, then we may be able to get a really healthy dialogue going with people — a dialogue between experience and morality.

PM: Mary is in charge of a group called ‘Faith in Films.’ So she shows films that she thinks will, I think, draw in people’s experiences. And instead of choosing a film that has no reference to anything controversial, she chooses things with controversial themes and elements that help people deal with anger, sexuality, and other things. And I just think that makes sense, instead of not dealing with reality. If you have experience, then everybody can process it and get somewhere with it. But if you just say “no” to something without feeling it or investigating it or understanding it, it doesn’t have a lot of credibility.

BH: How about what Sr. Bernadette was saying in terms of “natural” and “unnatural” and integration, which is a little bit abstract, but I’d like to hear you react to some of what she was saying on that.

PM: Well, I’m not familiar with the theology behind the term “natural” or “unnatural,” but what she said sounds valid to me.

BH: I can’t tell if you’re trying to say, ‘I’d like to call Paul to greater integration’ — meaning greater integration with himself as a homosexual man? Or are you saying, ‘Okay, you’re homosexual, but the Church is calling you not to be sexually active.’ — which adds a whole slew of issues? Or, ‘integrate yourself in terms of reparation therapy’-type stuff? Can you talk a little bit about that?

SB: Actually, that’s a really good question because I’ve never actually gone there with Paul because it’s really none of my business to initiate that discussion. But I think that’s a good part of the equation because I think there is some pressure on Catholics to try to convince friends or family who are homosexual that they need to change. This is something I never told Paul, but one of the first times that I called my Dad to let him know that I was going to be seeing you, he asked me if I was going to have a talk with you. And I knew exactly what he meant by that. And I did question if I should do that or not, if I was somehow betraying the Church if I didn’t somehow let you know where I stood. But you know, I really felt that number one: Jesus never did that. He never went up to someone and said, “Hi, you have something wrong with your sexuality and I am here to fix you.” He never did that. It wasn’t even on my mind as something that I needed to do. It was something that all of a sudden came up because of my Dad.

But then I have found out since then that other people have that same dilemma: ‘Am I supposed to convince my homosexual friends that the way that they’re living is wrong?’ I think that I am here to be a friend to Paul. From the level of experience, to go over to Paul’s home and to see a home set up for him and his partner to live as a couple, it was the first time I had ever been in a situation like that, so of course it’s going to feel — what’s the word? — different, you know. But we do exactly the same things together as I do with other friends, we have the same conversations together, they invited me out with their friends — I mean, I really felt a level of acceptance. And I was glad, you know, that they could just freely bring me, when you know in the back of my mind, what I represent is something that Paul has been hurt by. But in terms of what I would hope for everyone, because I’m a part of this too, is that we can be in a dialogue with ourselves about why we behave the way we behave, and the choices that we make, and who we love, and what we like and what we don’t like, so that we each fulfill God’s Will for us. How I do that is going to be different than Paul because my background is different, my calling is different, the way I work things out between myself and God is different. And so I can understand the Church’s teaching. For me, I’ve worked that out. And I mean, I’ve grappled with things, I’m still grappling with some things, and I’m not perfect. And it’s the same for him. But I’m not God; I’m not his God. And if Paul invites me in to that process, that’s different.

I really had to reconcile the fact that I’m the one that has to make the decision about what I feel comfortable with in terms of talking about his lifestyle with Paul. I decided that my gut feeling would be the thing that would lead me. And I had to trust it.

PM: You probably prayed about it, too, I’d imagine.

SB: Yeah, I did. And I just felt, I’m gonna trust my gut on this one. I’d like a relationship with you, and what a way to slam the door on a relationship! I mean, “Hello. Before we sit down to dinner I’d like to talk to you about how wrong this all is. Bon appétit.” [laughs]

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The Author : Bill McGarvey
Bill McGarvey is co-author of Busted Halo’s Freshman Survival Guide. Bill was editor-in-chief of Busted Halo for six year. In addition to having written extensively on the topics of culture and faith for NPR, Commonweal, America, The Tablet (in London), Factual (Spain), Time Out New York, and Book magazine, McGarvey is a singer/songwriter whose music has been critically acclaimed by the New York Times, Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, Billboard and Performing Songwriter. You can follow him at his website billmcgarvey.com or on Facebook.com/billmcgarvey
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • laura

    I wish more Catholic families were this kind and accepting.

  • Rachel

    Did I miss it? Did no one get the fact that he left the Church and found another non-denominational church and he’s OK with their services because he feels welcome there and not in the Catholic Church? What about the Eucharist? Didn’t Jesus tell us that unless we eat of his flesh and drink of his blood we cannot share in eternal life? If Sister Bernadette truly loves her cousin (and I believe that she does) something is definitely missing in her catchesis in watching her beloved relative forgo the reality of Christ present to us in the sacraments. Some thought provoking discussion but ultimately, not a very good portrayal of the true Catholic position.

  • Eric

    I really liked this articale, but I can’t believe some of these comments I thought that in the year 2010, more people would be more open-minded about gays. The Bible was written so long ago and we have come so far. It also states in the Bible that a woman on her period is “unclean” and should be made to sleep in a red tent, it also says that women should be veiled -do we still think that way today? Of course not, because we have (hopefully) learned that you cannot take a statement (made so many years ago) and use it to promote hate. Jesus never taught that. Being gay is not just about sex, it’s about people who fall in love with people who are the same gender. Simple as that. No one chooses to be gay (if you disagree please read something other than just the Bible and educate yourself), but you can choose to hate and be homophobic and I hardly think that God or Jesus would ever promote hate and fear. It is human nature to fear what we don’t understand and it is easier to be told what you views should be rather than form them yourself…which is sad. It is also the reason that people that people are being victimized by hate crimes. I just thought people were more evolved than that. Please think before you condemn and judge, treat people as you would like to be treated. During the Civil War people used the Bible to justify slavery… have we learned nothing from history? There are always going to be people that you will disagree with, but some of these comments defile the very purpose of Christianity. Bigots are the ones who need prayers not Gays, love is no crime. Sin is opinion, nothing more or less. What is sinful to me may not be sinful to you, and vice versa. If people continue this hate and fear they not only shame themselves but their God as well. If you are going to call yourself a Christian, then you should act like one. Plus this “hate the sin, but not the sinner” nonsense is just silly. I have no idea who came up with that phrase but it is just an excuse to hate, and something (I guess) to make Bigots feels less guilty about their own opinion which are posted quite boldly on this page. Open your mind and heart, that will (in my opinion) will make you a “Good Christian”.

  • JP

    “I am not evil”… How self righteous and arrogant can one be? “There are none that do good, no not one”,This is a basic teachi He sent His Son to make us worthy. It is only by the grace & mercy of GOD that we become acceptable to Him.
    The problem the gay individual has is that he is openly and defiantly challenging God’s will for us.See Romans 1:18-30….We all sin (none do good) when we humble ourselves and confess our sins, it is then our relationship with our mighty King can grow. To openly deny His truth, His will defining oneself by sin itself is not acceptable to a righteous and just God.

  • William Grogan

    Years ago I walked away from the church due to its judgemental teachings. I am not “intrinsically evil.” I choose to live my life openly because that is who I am, how I was created. My relationship with my partner of 17 years is no less valid than any “marriage” between a man and woman. I don’t need the church’s approval of this, I have my own.

    Today I express my spirituality outside the church. I believe in most of what christians profess but do not believe in what some may think is their God given right to demonize and condemn others for being different.

  • Dave

    I was surprised that the comparison between murder and gay sex wasn’t picked up on in the interview:

    “The use of the words ‘unnatural, or disordered’ then, means that homosexual activity is an aberration. Other actions in which this language is employed is; for example, murder. It‚Äôs not natural for us to murder. It‚Äôs something that happens but inside all of us is something that says that that‚Äôs wrong. The Church teaches that homosexuality is on that same level, and that‚Äôs why they use the word ‘unnatural or disordered’ when explaining its position. Many people clearly see the unnaturalness of murder; it is harder for many to understand why homosexual acts, and other sexual acts, are unnatural.”

    How does she reconcile lack of condemnation of gay sex with placing it in the same ballpark as murder and how does he reconcile that comparison with her claim of being non-judgmental? Very odd.

  • Robert Bradley

    This article makes it appear that because this nun has a social, warm relationship with a gay man, it makes the church’s condemnation of gay people less painful. And don’t give me the “love the sinner but hate the sin routine. Isn’t anyone outraged by the fact that this church classifies gay people as disordered? That’s the one step above the current Pope’s classification of gays as “intrinsically evil” as written in that famous Halloween missive.
    Gay people are no less disordered than straight people. They’re no less sinful and no more sinful because of what they are and how they feel. When the hierarchy from pope, to bishop, to pastor, priest and religious learn that God’s creation is varied and unlimited, they will learn that God doesn’t make mistakes. Our judgements of others who are different in their expressions of love is what makes so many Cahoics so un-Christian.
    I found the nun to be somehat patronizing. “Oh goody, she accepts me as I am without being judgemental”. Oh, but she is.

  • Margaret Hand

    Alycia,

    Didn’t the Church once condemn the practice of Usury? Now there’s a Vatican Bank! Teaching does change as knowledge grows.

  • M

    It seems to me that many of us are willing to remember that we are to “hate the sin” but not many of us remember “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone.”

    We are not the judges; God is. We are called by God to love. He can judge when the time is right.

  • Don

    Unfortunately, this is just more of the moral relativism that is typical of Busted Halo. Anyone looking for orthodox Church teachings had better look elsewhere.

  • Luke

    All I can say is that I hope none of you ever have to go through the process of deciding if you are gay or not. It is not an easy process to come out and admit. I have talked to many people who are homosexual. Their sexuality is not a disorder or abnoral any more than it is for a hetrosexual to want to have sex with a person of the opposit sex. it is very normal for them to have feelings for a person of the same sex. I don’t mean this in a bad way, but who in their right mind would choose to be gay with all the bashing and bad things that are said about them? Many of them can not live a “normal” life because they will lose a job or something far worse. Who wants to be a target of someone else’s hate? A homosexual is born that way. It is not a learned behavior. If that is the case did God make a mistake when He created gay people? Afterall, we are all made in His image. Maybe the church doesn’t want to admit gay people because maybe it would mean thier God is gay too. I have never understood how the church can ask a gya person to be celebate and think that will feel like the church is accepting them. Perhaps, what the church should say is what it says about hetrosexual relationships: that it is only acceptable within the context of a married relationship. Oh, I forgot the church doesn’t accept gay marriage. If that is the case, then say a committed relationship. If people really tried to be more understanding rather than judgmental, there would be less discrimnation in the world today. I only wish that all of you who are trying to exclude gay people from the church could walk a day in their shoes. It would change your hole perspective. Gay people have a lot to offer out church. It is unfortunate that we unwilling to accept them and the gifts and talents that they could bring to our church.

  • PL

    My 22-year-old son recently came out to me as a bisexual (not that it was a surprise to me). I am a faithful Catholic and a mom who loves her son with all her heart. My reaction was to make sure he knows I love him forever and nothing he could do/say could change that fact.

    That said, I am concerned for the state of his soul. He made a break from the Church a few years ago, and doesn’t seem to have much of a faith at the moment. I decided to simply keep praying for him, and leave his soul and conversion to God. So far, I have peace with this approach – we’ll see.

  • BMS

    Alycia

    ‘Fruitless’ unions?

    So the two women in my church who have been together for 15 years, and who are now giving a loving home to a daughter who had been in foster care for 8 years have a fruitless relationship? Am I imagining the love and care they clearly have for each other, for our church community, and for their beloved daughter?

    Then there is the gay couple whose sons are leaders in the high school youth group, who devote countless hours of their own to being lectors, sacristans, and liturgy planners. How is their union fruitless? How is their service a heinous sin? How is their care and devotion for their family and their church a perversion?

    I cannot connect what I see with my own eyes with what you are saying. These are faithful Catholics – most of them better Catholics than I will ever be. God made them as they are, and God doesn’t seem to be rejecting their love and service to others. Why should we?

  • Anne

    Thank you everyone who pointed out that this man is not a practicing Catholic. So, there is no need to debate if he is following the Catholic teachings or not.

    And does the whole gay thing really affect the world in such a negative way? Don’t we–as humans, as Catholics–have real evils to fight?

    Hey, I don’t claim to be the best Catholic around.

  • Leonora

    Wonderful interview. I am so glad I happened upon it. I learned more about compassion, love, and faith from Sr. Bernadette’s statements than any cut and paste cyber apologist could ever offer. It is Catholics and religious like Sr. Bernadette that give me hope for the future of the Church.

    Thank you and God bless you Sr. Bernadette and Paul.

  • Alycia

    Violeta-
    No one is saying that the homosexual person cannot love but it is disordered to give into a perverse love such as homosexuality. People are meant by God to be together as man and woman as husband and wife, anything else is a sin and a perversion of true nuptial love.

    I feel for those who have homosexual orientations but God and our church put sexuality in a very sacred and serious spotlight. You can not be a faithful Catholic and devulge yourself in a homosexual lifestyle. It’s one thing if you are struggling with your temptations and trying to overcome, it’s another thing to say that such a lifestyle is OK and that the church just needs to “get with the times”. Our church makes it excedingly clear that Homosexual actions are a sin (period). This has been revealed by God from the beginining of time, I assure you it will not change anytime soon. In fact, the very structure of our church reveals intimatly a man/woman relationship. We cannot understand Christ the Bridegroom and the Church the bride in homosexual deminsions. As Christopher West explains, in a “bride/bride” situation which would happen with a female priesthood, the relationship of the church is defiled. Such unions do not bring about a conjecal union, thay are instead fruitless and a henious sin before God.

  • Violeta

    Some of my Muslim friends also believe what some people above said, “we are called to love the sinner, but we are also called to hate the sin”

    and some of my Christian friends agree with the following statement, “HOMOSEXUAL PERSONS ARE CALLED TO CHASTITY.”

    Many of my Muslim, Catholic, and Christian friends disagree with both statements above. Speaking as a lesbian Catholic woman, I do not believe that love–by love I refer to spiritual, emotional, and physical love–belongs to those who are “straight” or whatnot. Love belongs to everyone, it is not a privilege that can be given to some and not others. Chastity is also a very courageous act for straight and LGBTQ people who choose this for themselves, not because they are told by others. God’s gift of love is for all, and I’m thankful that I’m blessed with the courage to give and receive love.

  • Alycia

    KV,

    First of all the Galileo affair was caused by Galileo’s insistance that some biblical passages should be changed, not because of Galileo’s scientific findings. Although Galileo was treated wrongly, the affair was not a doctrinal one. The church has NEVER changed a piece of doctrine and never will. Issues between certian members of the church and eclestiatical authorities is a different thing all together.

    The church has upheld for 2000 years the sanctity of marriage (which can only happen between a man and a women) and sex. The church firmly teaches that although we are always to love the sinner and hate the sin, sodomy and homosexual acts are mortal (or deadly) sins and should not be encouraged by any means.

    To hear it from the “horses mouth” please read Article 6 of the Cathecism of the Catholic Church paragraphs 2357-2359.

  • Alycia

    Does anyone read the Catechism????…
    (emphasis my own)

    Chapter 2 Article 6 Pg.2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, WHICH PRESENTS HOMOSEXUALITY ACTS AS ACTS OF GRAVE DEPRAVITY,140 tradition has always declared that “HOMOSEXUAL ACTS ARE INTRINSICALLY DISORDERED.”141 THEY ARE CONTRARY TO THE NATURAL LAW. THEY CLOSE4 THE SEXUAL ACT TO THE GIFT OF LIFE. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity.

    (and the clincher…)

    UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES CAN THEY BE APPROVED.

    Further reading in the same paragraph:

    2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

    2359 HOMOSEXUAL PERSONS ARE CALLED TO CHASTITY. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

    This is our faith people. It’s not black and white. The Church (and Jesus!!!) have been teaching the SAME thing for over 2000 years. Love it or leave it.

  • KV

    This is a most beautiful interview. And it has been very interesting reading the various posts. I am a practicing Catholic and I would like to say this straight out for many Catholics – gay or straight – who feel the same but dare not say it: The Catholic Church’s current teaching on homosexuality is WRONG.

    The Church has been wrong on very significant issues before — such as the pre-Vatican II belief that “there is no salvation outside the Church” to “there IS salvation outside the Church” — the new view held after Vatican II.

    The Church forced Galileo to recant his views on the universe, and no less than Pope John Paul II apologized for this.

    I am confident that the Church — in 50 years or perhaps 100 years down the road — will similarly change its teaching on homosexuality. And perhaps another pope will apologize for the way the Church has treated gays.

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