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since June 19, 2001


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By Dale O'Leary


Never underestimate God's Mercy

I know I have told this story before, but I have to tell it again. At the Courage Conference one of the participants shared his story with me. He had been actively involved in a homosexual relationship for 23 years and as his partner lay dying he was reciting humanistic good thoughts when he started to repeat the Memorare -- a prayer for mercy -- he had learned as a child. He could only remember half of it, but it stuck in his mind. On his way home that evening he realized that his friend who had also been raised Catholic had not received the last rites. He found a priest and his partner was given the last rites and died peacefully. The man has not returned to homosexual activity and now has a strong prayer life and relationship with Christ. We want to set all kinds of conditions, but God answers even half a prayer.

Matthew Shepherd

How should those who have been promoting prevention and healing of homosexuality react to the brutal murder of Matthew Shepherd?

I believe we need to repent. Not for speaking about prevention and healing, not for offer help and hope, but for not speaking sooner. In 1963 therapists knew the causes of the homosexual condition and they knew how to treat it. More than that they knew how to prevent it. They knew what children need to develop healthy sexual identities and they knew how to recognize the symptoms of gender identity problems. They knew that early intervention could help.

And nothing was done. Today the young men and women who became homosexually active because their parents were not told how to encourage proper gender identification are angry. They were teased in school. They felt lonely and isolated, different and rejected and no one did anything to help them. They blame us for the wrong reason, but they are right, we are to blame. The parents who went for help when they saw a problem were told don't worry about it, when help was available. Many of the young men who died of AIDS didn't want to be homosexual, many reached out for help to the Church and no help was given. Or the help was desultory or inadequate.

They came to us and we failed. Until we the Church repent of our failure to care and to act, we cannot stand up on this issue.

Why didn't we speak out sooner? Because we didn't care. We knew there were homosexuals and many times we knew who they were. Their closets were made of glass. We avoided the issue. Out of love or delicacy? No. Because we didn't want to get involved with such an unpleasant issue. We should have been moving heaven and earth to help these men and women and their families, but we did nothing. They were ashamed to admit their problem and their families often ashamed even to ask for prayer.

The homosexuals are angry. They found an answer for themselves. The answer is bondage not freedom, but for them it was better than nothing. Better than the loneliness they were living in.

What must we do? Not just speak the truth now, but repent for 35 years of failing to speak. Religious leaders to lead on this issue. We can publicly offer our apologies and beg forgiveness. Those in ex-gay ministries I am sure would be willing to accept our repentance. Many of them tried to find help in the Church before they surrendered to the temptation of homosexuality. And many of the ex-gay ministries have struggled for support. Many in these ministries have been rejected by religious leaders when they asked for help in spreading the message that there is hope for homosexually tempted persons.

Until we the people of God repent for our failures, how can we be a witness to those struggling with this terrible temptation. They have an excuse; they are suffering from a developmental disorder. We have none.

Excerpt from a speech by Dr. Daniel Brown published in 1963. Homosexuality and Family Dynamics. Paper presented at the Annual Air Force Clinical Psychology Meeting, Jan. 10. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. 27: 227 - 232.

In summary, then it would seem that the family pattern involving a combination of a dominating, overly intimate mother plus a detached, hostile or weak father is beyond doubt related to the development of male homosexuality... It is surprising there has not been greater recognition of this relationship among the various disciplines that are concerned with children. A problem that arises in this connection is how to inform and educate teachers and parents relative to the decisive influence of the family in determining the course and outcome of the child's psychosexual development. There would seem no justification for waiting another 25 or 30 years to bring this information to the attention of those who deal with children. And there is no excuse for professional workers in the behavioral sciences to continue avoiding their responsibility to disseminate this knowledge and understanding as widely as possible


Yesterday I heard a debate between Bill Kristol, conservative writer, and Andrew Sullivan, an advocate for homosexual marriage. Sullivan mentioned on a number of occasions that he was a Catholic and that all he wanted was to marry the person he loved. How, he asked, can conservatives object to such a conservative desire.

This morning, as I was rereading John Paul II's defense of the moral order "The Splendor of Truth: Veritatis Splendor", I found the answer for Mr. Sullivan:

"Intrinsic evil": it is not licit to do evil that good may come of it."(cf. Rom. 3:8)

"81. In teaching the existence of intrinsically evil acts, the Church accepts the teaching of Sacred Scripture. The Apostle Paul emphatically states: 'Do not be deceived: neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the Kingdom of God' (I Cor. 6: 9-10).

"If acts are intrinsically evil, a good intention or particular circumstances can diminish their evil, but they cannot remove it. They remain 'irremediably' evil acts; per se and in themselves they are not capable of being ordered to God and to the good of the

person. 'As for acts which are themselves sins (cum iam opera ipsa peccata sunt).' Saint Augustine writes 'like theft, fornication, blasphemy, who would dare affirm that, by doing them for good motives (causis bonis), they would no longer be sins or, what is even more absurd, that they would be sins that are justified.'

"Consequently, circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act 'subjectively' good or defensible as a choice.

"82. Furthermore, an intention is good when it has its aim the true good of the person in view of his ultimate end. But acts whose object is 'not capable of being ordered' to God and 'unworthy of the human person' are always and in every case in conflict with that good. Consequently, respect for norms which prohibit such acts and oblige semper and et pro semper, that is, without any exception, no only does not inhibit a good intention, but actually represents its basic expression."

The sins referred to by St. Paul include homosexual acts. The Greek original makes this perfectly clear. The words "sexual perverts" in the text are used to translate the phrase in Greek malakoi oute arsenokoitai, which is more accurately translated as "effeminates nor abusers of self with men", referring to the two aspects of homosexual practices with which the Greeks of Corinth were unfortunately too familiar. Lest the believers lose hope, Paul reminds them: "Such were some of you, but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified..." (I Cor. 6:11) This verse is a great comfort to those in recovery, a promise for all of us.

In the debate over homosexual marriage we frequently confront those who claim that Christianity demands tolerance and acceptance. A little knowledge of the Greek can be very useful, but hope is essential.

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From Dale's Disk, shortsub.rtf - Nov. 1999
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