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The Busted Halo Show with Father Dave Dwyer
The Busted Halo® Show with Father Dave Dwyer
The Busted Halo® Show with Father Dave Dwyer airs Monday through Friday, from 7:00pm to 10:00pm Eastern time on Sirius XM Satellite Radio channel 129. Give us a call: 1-888-3-CATHOLIC. Go to www.siriusxm.com for subscription information. Don’t forget — Sirius XM subscribers can also listen to The Busted Halo Show On Demand.


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January 2nd, 2013
“I Am Homosexual. Does God Love Me?”
 
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Below are excerpts from the full conversation captured in the mp3 above. Click the audio link to listen to the audio. The audio includes a moving follow-up call from a fellow listener.

Father Dave: Let’s go to Jason in Boston, Massachusetts. Hello, Jason.  Do you have a question for us?

J: Yes. I hope I don’t make anyone uncomfortable with this. I want you to know: I was raised in the Catholic Church. I had a Catholic upbringing. The thing is — I am a homosexual.  My problem is that I’m juggling keeping my family and my faith because my whole family looks down on my sexuality and they believe that it insults God himself.

FD: So, you’ve come out to your family then, Jason?

J: I’ve come out. Yes. I came out when I was 16.  There was this whole big argument about how homosexuality is wrong, is blasphemy — that I’m going to hell. I’m the scum of the universe. And so, now I’m confused about everything because I know who I am, but I don’t want to always believe that I’m insulting God and all the saints. And at the same time I don’t want to cut ties to my family. A few of my family members accept me, but the majority of them don’t.

FD: Well, Jason, I certainly hear the pain and the frustration in your voice.  This is not easy for someone who is fairly young. And particularly for many people, family is very tough.

Today a lot of media attention is focused on the gay marriage debate, which brings a lot more heat to the situation — more heat than light, meaning not shining light on the truth but boiling things over. The Catholic Church joins in the debate over how we define and how we legalize marriage among different people, and the Church indeed has a stake in defining sacramentally what a marriage is. But I think — very unfortunately, Jason — that a lot of this has trickled down to your average church-going Catholic to mean that Catholicism is incompatible with someone who has a same-sex attraction. So let me be a fairly vocal and public voice to say that is not what the Church teaches. It is not what we believe Jesus or God wants: to have anybody, regardless of who they are, to feel completely excluded from God’s love. That’s the most basic teaching of both the Old and New Testaments — that the covenant that God has with humanity is for all of humanity. God says, “Absolutely I love you, no matter who you are.”

Yet there are standards of behavior:  God in His justice can dictate how we interact with one another.  And it’s true: it would be the responsibility of the community to hold me accountable when I’m exercising a bad habit of eating too much or talking behind someone’s back.  So for the most part, Christians are coming at this from the point of view that they believe it’s the right thing to do — that we should hold one another accountable and say, “Hey, you’re not meeting up to this standard of behavior.” The problem is, Jason, when we conflate a bad choice someone makes with who they are as a person created in God’s image.

We could use the analogy that we don’t look at someone with a physical handicap — for instance a person in a wheelchair — and say, “God hates that person, or God is punishing that person.” But you know what? There’s been a time in the history of humanity when people did think that way. We now would see a distinction: God has created that person in his image and likeness, and yet they are not functioning “properly” or “normatively” in every way that God designed humans to work. But we don’t say that God hates that person or that person should be banished from the community.  I think there’s a lot of that misconception now, particularly with people of a homosexual orientation. People tend to lump together what the Church has a right to say in terms of marriage or about sexual activity outside of marriage with God hating a person.  These are not the same thing.

We’ve crossed the line when valid arguments about the definition of marriage spill over into, “therefore this person must immediately be judged or is automatically going to Hell.”  That is absolutely not the teaching of the Church or the Gospels or Jesus Our Lord.

J:  It’s refreshing when you say that ’cause I’ve been hearing the same hateful sorts of things and there’s some stuff that I agree with, and there’s stuff I find reasonable. I just don’t like being seen as some sort of monster … I’m myself. I’m who I am. I just happen to have a different sexual preference.

FD: What the Church teaches about those with that orientation — what these days we most often refer to as a “same-sex attraction” — is not that they are all damned by God, but simply that they are called to live a moral life through the virtue of chastity. In fact, we’re all called to live in chastity, whatever our station in life is. Chastity within a marriage means that the couple is not having sexual relationships with other people. Chastity for me, as a Catholic priest, means celibacy, that I don’t have a romantic or sexual relationship with any other person. The Church does not say,  “We hate gay people and want to keep gay people out of our churches.” But the Church does, in all God’s justice, hold up this standard of chastity.

Now, a lot of people will say, Jason: “How can you kind of write off a whole percentage of the population and say that they can never have sex — they can never have a loving relationship?” The way the Church looks at it is this:  there are people who, either because of how they’re born or because of something that’s happened during the course of their life, are not able to do certain things. I think most people would agree that the state has a right to tell, for instance, someone who is blind that they should not be operating a vehicle. So, the Church would say that because of whatever this is in you that is different, we don’t hate you because of who you are, but that necessarily certain actions should be restricted in your life (i.e., sexual activity). Few people would likely say, “Hey! It’s not fair that blind people can’t drive,” and I don’t mean to make it flippant or trite. But this shows that it’s reasonable to say that because of something that blind person didn’t choose — that either happened to that person or they were born with — that they are not allowed to do certain things because that wouldn’t be good for society. Now, you might say, “Well, of course I can see that. We shouldn’t be crashing cars, but…” But the Church’s theology of sexuality and marriage and relationships does, for us, make this the same sort of decision.

It’s still, I’ll admit, not an easy message to hear: that the Church says that for you, or anybody else who finds themselves with a same sex attraction, the only moral option is that of chastity. I realize how that can sound pretty limiting in terms of life or love or relationship. But I think, again, it’s that double standard. We say the same thing — that people should be chaste — to people who are heterosexual. And for whatever reason we don’t tend to have the same bias toward heterosexuals, to say hateful things. That’s the word that you used — that you’ve heard hateful things said to you by friends and family. So, for my part, as someone who represents the Church, I’m saddened about that and I’m sorry that you have experienced that.

Yet, I believe that the Church, in her wisdom, is wiser than either I can be, Jason, or you in your experience of your lifetime.  So I put trust and faith in the wisdom of our 2000-year-old Church.  And I think I heard, Jason, that you’re kind of struggling with that as well. You said, “I don’t want to get rid of my Catholic faith, but it seems like some people are pushing me to do that.”

J: Well, people do say that.  And I’m raised Catholic: this is what I’ve dedicated my life to. It’s part of my identity.

FD: So, again, I would affirm that it is still your identity, and the fact that you are struggling with it and talking about it on a Catholic radio show, says to me that God is at work in you. So, don’t listen to those voices that say that God doesn’t want a relationship with you or doesn’t love you.  Try not to let a few voices — even though they may be loud, and in your case voices that are close to you and mean a lot to you — speak out of turn for what Jesus’ voice is, for what the teaching of the Church is. And continue to try to hold these things in tension appropriately. And you may make mistakes, Jason. I make mistakes in how I hold in tension how God loves me and forgives me and the standards that he holds me to. We all do, and that’s the point: that none of us are perfect.  Be honest with yourself and your family about that but continue saying, “I’m not going to walk away from this” … because I don’t hear you wanting to do that, and plenty of people in your situation, Jason, have chosen to walk away from the Church. It doesn’t sound like that’s what you want to do. Hang in there and continue to pray to God.  Continue to learn about why the Church says what we say. Continue to hear from reasonable people — not people that say, “You’re going to Hell.” Because I can tell you right now, Jason, that is not the teaching of the Church: that because of who you are that you could go to Hell. That’s contrary to Christian theology.

J: That’s very different from what I’ve heard…

FD:  Thank you Jason for your courage to call, and as you continue to work through your Catholic faith and your sexual identity, if you have more questions, that’s why we’re here on the Catholic Channel.


The Busted Halo Show with Father Dave Dwyer is on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, Sirius/XM 129, Monday through Friday, 7:00pm to 10:00pm EST. Give us a call with your questions and comments: 1-888-3-CATHOLIC, or at bustedhalo@thecatholicchannel.org. Go to www.siriusxm.com to get subscription information.

[Published on: September 27, 2012]



 
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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.
  • P.

    I realize this is an old thread, but I feel compelled to comment. During my youth, I was repelled from the Catholic Church because I felt it hated me for being gay. While I know that’s never been a message of the Church, it’s easy to understand how the teenage mind would come to make that conclusion. In my early 20′s, while staying in the Church, I tried to stay true to Church teaching. I tried to live the single life, I tried dating women, and all of it lead to such lonely despair, finally culminating in a few suicide attempts. After I recovered, I decided to leave the Church… but the distress stayed with me. I dabbled in other non-Christian faiths and even plunged in and out of Atheism. I came back to my Christianity as time went on, but something about it felt incomplete. After so much time of praying, I felt a fire in me, which I believe was the Holy Spirit, telling me to stick with the Catholic Church.

    The way I look at it is that I’m in much the same position that a scientist would have been in during the 16th century. I’m convinced that the Earth orbits the Sun, but my Church teaches me, as it did then, that I must live a falsehood and believe as though the Sun orbits the Earth and the Earth doesn’t move, for that is the literal translation of the Bible (Joshua 10:12, 1 Chr 16:30). Would such a scientist then be guilty of a sin for believing and teaching the, now Magisterially-accepted, fact that the Earth circles the Sun? Of course not. Sin was then the same as it is now and the same as it will ever be. But the Magisterium didn’t understand it then. That’s okay. We’re all human.

    It is my love for the Church that keeps me going every week, and my confidence that, just as in the understanding as astronomy, we will come to a better understanding of God’s written word. I doubt it will be in the 50 or 60 years I may have left on this earth, God willing, but the Holy Spirit will not fail His Church!

  • Jose Alfredo

    I have used this podcast as a key central discussion point in my youth ministry regarding homosexuality. The best part is God absolutely loves you. This has helped me undo damage a CCD teacher told one of my teens, and I quote “All homosexuals are going to hell period.”

  • Elaine Knapp

    I will pray for MomLove because I believe she is deluding herself and reaching for a theory to excuse or explain away what has happened to her family members. It’s odd, and it’s not odd, that her 2 family gays, found themselves as teenagers. Most people show signs in their toddler years, and definitely “know” in their own minds that they are different as young as 5 and 6. You cannot pray away the gay. You must have unconditional love and not continue to search for “explanations” to excuse the “issue.” Acceptance and love is your answer.

  • Momlove

    I have a lesbian daughter and a gay grandson. I decided to pray to understand them better, and if possible, to see if there is a key to their behavior that is psycological. I read online that the human genome project ended in 2003 without finding a gay gene per se. Also, evidence exists of identical twins one of which is gay and another which is not. I then prayed to St. Joseph, my go to guy, and soon had something laid on my lap that I would like to share for others to consider. There apparently are about 20% of the population that possess what is referred to as a “highly perceptive personality.” Looking into this I realized that we have people like this in our family and it is hereditary. I also realized that both my daughter and my grandson exhibit this personality. Is it a coincidence they are also gay. Well, as a mother and grandmother I have had the opportunity to observe them growing up and see that they both have problems with negative perceptions about themselves as they related to the opposite sex. Both saw rejection as being much more horrible than others in the family. They always were looking for meaning where is might not be found. They both were keenly in tuned with the feelings of others and they often just assumed that they had to accept those feelings as their own instead of finding what they really felt.
    They both came into homosexuality in their teens and were comfortable with same sex relationships because opposite sex relationships were just too confusing because opposite sex people’s feelings were seen as being too different. They were comfortable and wanted to be around persons who had feelings that didn’t make them feel conflicted. They simply didn’t appreciate that they were highly perceptive and sensitive.

  • Kerry

    Jason if you read this try praticing mass at the Paulist center in Downtown Boston. I find them to be a very welcoming and caring community and would be happy to have you join us.

  • Jack

    The Church teaches that God loves you, but he hates what you are.

    • Tom

      Oh really. I thought Jesus only hated what people do, like judge, point fingers of scorn, find scapegoats. You know stuff like that.

  • Mark

    Well stated Alex!

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