Friday, August 6, 2010

Prop 8 and the Church

Things are starting to really get scary.

One judge can apparently overrule the will of the people in the largest state in the country. Any person who has seen one episode of Law and Order knows that this hearing on Proposition 8 and its "fact finding nature" was a mockery of the judicial branch and separation of powers.

I also should say that I have long believed that faithful Catholics will one day soon be EXTREMELY persecuted for teaching the Church's stance on homosexuality and I think we are heading towards the great battle of our time. The opportunities for rejoicing in the gift of being deemed worthy of suffering are near for faithful Catholics.

As the Federal Government and activist judges continue to whiteout significant portions of the Constitution and make a mockery of the word "law", let us calmly and thoroughly look at what the Catholic Church actually says about homosexuality.

For the Church, to have a homosexual or heterosexual desire is NOT a sin. If I allow that desire, heterosexual or homosexual, to turn into lust - it IS a sin.

If I engage in heterosexual activity outside of marriage - mortal sin.
If I engage in homosexual activity outside of marriage - mortal sin.

Pretty simple. The problem a lot of people have is when the Church says that homosexual desires are "intrinsically disordered." Both words cause problems for people; let's look at the word "disordered" first. Here it is important to be clear - the Church does not say homosexuality is A DISORDER, the Church says it is DISORDERED. There is a huge difference! To be disordered means that it isn't properly oriented; it isn't leading to something good. Homosexual desire (as well as homosexual sex) is said to be disordered; not oriented toward something good. Let's be clear here, though. HETEROSEXUAL SEX OUTSIDE OF MARRIAGE OR THAT UTILIZES CONTRACEPTION IS DISORDERED AS WELL!! Having an affair with your neighbor's wife is not oriented toward something good, nor is using contraception, even within marriage.

The other word is problematic as well; let's look at "intrinsic" now. Heterosexual sex is not slapped with the label INTRINSICALLY wrong (wrong by its very nature) because sometimes (although seemingly less and less in our society) heterosexual sex can be properly oriented - that is between a man and a woman who have promised before God and community to stay together for the rest of their lives and who are entering into the marital act without reservation or the obstruction of contraception and are willing, if God allows it, to bring forth a child from that act. That's the reason homosexual activity is "intrinsically" disordered - it can never be properly oriented, whereas heterosexual sex can be properly oriented (although, again, sadly, very rarely does heterosexual activity in our society rise to the level of being properly oriented).

The question becomes this, "If you say homosexual activity is intrinsically disordered, are you saying I, a homosexual, am supposed to be cured? Should I be shipped off to a reeducation camp? Are you saying I have a disease? Are you saying my homosexuality is something I've chosen?"

If these questions were put to me by a person coming to talk, my response would NEVER be "yep, you've got a problem, and we've got to get you fixed up right now." The Church acknowledges over and over that many who have homosexual desires do not think they are choosing to have those desires. The Church says, quite rightly, that the vast majority of people with homosexual desires do not experience themselves as CHOOSING to have those desires. the way to be present to people struggling with homosexuality is through the understanding that what they are struggling with, to them, is certainly something that is beyond their choosing.

Psychologists say that between 90 and 95% of our motivations for the things we do in our lives comes from our subconscious. The subconscious is that realm of stuff that we are not aware of even when we think reflectively about ourselves. So if someone says, "I can't help the fact that I look at women lustfully (a thought I had in my high school days during boring Chemistry classes)" they may in fact MEAN that; they may in fact experience their lust to be something that they really DO NOT have power over - although, over time one may realize that their assessment of their powerlessness was in fact off base.

People bristle when they hear on Catholic radio or see advertisements for counselors or psychologists who are willing to work with someone struggling with homosexuality because people think that the Church thinks everyone needs "fixing." The Church says, however, that the first thing is to be there to support the person, whatever their state in life. You can't MAKE someone go to a psychiatrist and get "fixed" unless they want it. They have to come to the realization that what they thought was beyond their control is, in fact, not beyond their control. If someone came to me as a priest and said they were struggling with homosexuality, again, I wouldn't say, "Okay, let me give you a number of someone who can fix you." (click here to read the Church's brief but clear statement on the "pastoral care of homosexual persons," written by then Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict).

This is where we, as Catholics, differ from some of our Protestant brothers and sisters who DO often take the approach that people experiencing homosexual desires need to be "fixed" as soon as possible.

For me, the Church's teaching on homosexuality, Her pastoral approach to persons while possessing the courage to stand up and label certain things as sins, both of these aspects remind me how awesome it is to be Catholic! Let's pray that the Truth will reign in our discussions on this issue throughout our country in the coming months and years, and may we work to help people understand what the Church ACTUALLY says on the issue instead of letting news outlets and activist judges do that for us.


  1. As has proven to be true in the past, even the most liberal of Supreme Court justices is averse to social reengineering in the face of overwhelming popular opposition. In each of the 31 states where the question of defining marriage as between one man and one woman has been put to the vote of the people, the people have upheld the sanctity of marriage. Prop 8 will most certainly makes its way to the Supreme Court in the near future, and faithful Catholics must begin working now to make sure the majority of Americans respect marriage for what it truly was intended to be when Christ gave us the sacrament. Father, we look forward to hearing your teaching to a much broader audience and continue to pray that the Holy Spirit guides you in your ministry.

  2. I will pray that myself and my fellow Catholics are up to the task of suffering and being persecuted for our faith. I think you are right--we are moving toward a battle here. Thank you for speaking the truth and educating the flock.

  3. He is educating no one.

    1) Alaska is the largest state, not California. I hope you are not teaching our children.

    2) This country is not a catholic or christian country. There are all forms, religions, races, and types of people and the whole country does not and will not live by catholic teachings. If you want to live by that, then that is your right, but you cannot force your beliefs on others. How would you like it if the people put your right to spew this garbage to a vote?

    3) The bible says many things and its always very interesting to see which ones catholics ignore and which ones they want to believe are true. The catholic church is dying and will continue to die as long as they continue to spread intolerance and allow hatred to be spewed in the name of God. The bible was written by man, not God. The bible was written on an agenda by man, not by God.

    4) Like Ghandi said, I like this Christ you speak of but christians are very unlike him. Nothing truer was ever spoken.

    5) This blog post seems to have a lot of self-loathing in it and I think you John need to address these issues in yourself before you try and preach to other impressionable minds. You are a child and a child should not be teaching children. Learn and grow and until then, keep your scary opinions to yourself and don't hide behind them as if God is having you do them. Truly cowardly.

  4. Hannah,

    I'm sorry you feel this way. I would disagree on a few things.

    a) California, population wise, is the largest state.

    b) If the Bible is a hoax, but you say you like Christ, what Christ do you like? Have you heard about Christ from some other source besides the Bible? Your two statements seem contradictory - you like Jesus Christ whom you've only heard about through a source that is a hoax?

    c) As I always tell my students, you need to prioritize your problems with the Church and treat them in order. If you say that the Bible was written on an agenda by man, not by God, well then we have right there the issue that you need to address, first and foremost. The rest of your problems are really secondary to your belief that the Bible is a hoax. If the Bible wasn't what the Church says it is then the Church and the Bible are the two biggest hoaxes of all time. If the Church is a hoax, then there isn't much reason for railing against WHAT the Church says.

    d) I'm not sure why you say my post is cowardly because I've posted my real name and picture with everything I've said. If I hid behind a screen name, I'd understand your concern.

    e) I wonder if you read the whole post because I really don't see any hatred in there. Please let me know where it is, and I'd be happy to reexamine what was said there.

  5. 1) California is the state with the largest population. Again that does not make it the largest state and has no bearing to this case whatsoever. 7 million people voted to take away the rights of hundreds of thousands of people in California. That could happen in any state and hopefully it will never again. The majority of your "largest state" believes that gay marriage should be legal so if you want to use that as an argument point, I would research first.

    2) I like the Christ that inspires people to accept and help each other in a difficult world. I like the Christ that helps poor people and doesn't pass judgement upon others simply because they are different. I never said I believe in Christ, but many do and what Christ did in your bible is very different from what the christians do today.

    3) There is a large reason to rail against what the church says because it is not a hoax, it is one of the largest and most corupt businesses of all time. Spreading violence, discrimination and dangerous information across the world and covering up controversy time and time again. I would say that is definitely something that needs to be railed against.

    4) Your post is cowardly not because you don't put your name out there, but because you preach as someone with authority and education with no experience. Being raised catholic and going from catholic grade school to catholic high school to catholic college to the seminary is not learning for yourself. You are simply spewing out stories and ideas you have been fed. Learn something for yourself. Break out of your own small bubble and then come to your own opinions. If they are still the same, which I doubt they would be, then you can at least stand behind your opinions and experiences, but until you have your OWN experiences, it is cowardly to stand behind others words.

    5) Most people who come out so strongly against gay marriage and homosexuals in general are homosexual themselves and have a deep self-loathing for it. Just because you mention looking at girls in high school longingly does not make you straight.

    You did not answer any of my questions. Would you like your right to preach your views put to a vote? Even if you think you would win, how would you feel to watch other people vote on one of your American rights? This country again is not a christian country. It is your right to practice your faith but you cannot put it upon others simply because you think you are right. Why are you more right than a jewish person? or a mormon?

  6. Hannah,

    I will try to answer your questions that you have raised.

    1) I would love to have my right to teach put to a vote. I think it would win given the fact that it is promised in the first amendment (at least until activist judges can figure out a way to rewrite amendments).

    2) I am watching people start to talk about taking away the right to tell people what the Church teaches on this issue. In Canada, there have already been attempts to make it hate speech to say anything about homosexuality. I believe we are heading in that direction in this country, as I mentioned in the original post, and I sense a persecution coming.

    If I may ask you a question here, could you elaborate on what "American right" means? Liberal politicians often throw the word "rights" around, but when you ask them where those rights come from, they're usually not sure. Before I ask more questions, let's leave it there - where do you think "American rights" come from.

    3) Who said anything about putting my faith on others? I said nothing about making anyone Catholic or trying to coerce people to join the Catholic Church. I'm putting forth the teaching of the Church on this issue - and you, in turn, are providing an excellent example of the intolerance that is out there against the Church.

  7. Isn't is so easy to just throw out words like liberally and right-wing, left-wing out? This is not a policital issue, its a civil rights issue. The church just loves to make people see religion and politics as one in the same but of course, they are not. Thank God.

    Just as your right to ignorant speech is granted in the first amendment, homosexuals are granted their rights in the 14th amendment.

    Section 1.
    All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    This amendment does not just apply to straight people or catholics. This is where the American rights come from. The bill of rights, the constitution. The same place where your right to speech comes from.

    My favorite part of your response is the last section. The church is the first to claim victim to everything. You said nothing about putting your faith on others???? What the what?! John, you wrote an entire post about gay marriage and why it needs to be struck down. How is that not putting your beliefs on others?! You have been trained by the church and are a great lemming. The church is not the victim to my intolerance. I do not go into your churches and into your homes and tell you how to live your lives and vote on your rights. It is exactly the opposite and not matter what words you write John, it doesn't change the fact that it is the church who puts its intolerance on others.

  8. Hannah,

    The founding fathers believed that rights come from God, specifically the fact that human beings are created in the image and likeness of God, found in Genesis, which you believe is a hoax.

    The other option, then, for the origin of rights, if they are not from God, comes from some vague notion of being human which can always be manipulated and twisted to meet whatever agenda. What do you believe is the origin of rights?

    As we're getting to know each other here, where do you stand on the 14th amendment applying to children who are in the womb of mothers? Does an abortion violate their right to life? I'm curious to know where you stand on that issue.

    As regards the 14th Amendment, I'm not sure how NOT changing the understanding of what marriage is comprised of violates that amendment.

    Which leads to the fact, again, that this post is not about enforcing anything on anyone, it has been, from the start, an explanation of what the Church says about homosexuality.

    The group enforcing their beliefs on others are those, like yourself, who feel that the understanding of marriage as something between one man and one woman needs to change to their understanding of marriage (an understanding not shared by a majority of voters in California, and if it won't fly in California, I can't imagine where it would).

  9. Hannah, I stand by my post. He is educating fellow Catholics about homosexuality being intrinsically disordered. Those words are very powerful. Sometimes the truth is so blunt that it stares one in the face and forces them to change the course of their life and soul. I love the bluntness of the truth in the catechism. It apologizes to no one--it just is. Someone who must resort to personal attacks(accusing priest of being homosexual) is someone who is not confident of debating on the content of their argument. I will say a prayer for you tonight Hannah.

  10. Thank you parsons for the prayers but please use them on yourself. You said it very right when you said "flock" in your original post. Its so easy to just listen to someone else's words and spit them back out and walk around saying intrinsically disordered now.

    John, the founding fathers believed their rights came from them own free will to leave their country (england) and start their own. They created those rights so they would not have to live under their former rule. They believed in God yes, but where in Constitution does it speak about Genesis?

    There are many forms of religion and many forms of God. God does not have to come from the bible. There are many other books and many other religions. The bible did not create the world.

    You never really answer my questions, just throw them back at me. But I will answer your question about the 14th amendment as you have not. I can bet that I don't like abortions as much as you do. I believe it is a life but that is because I have let in the possibility that life starts from teh moment of conception. Scientists argue that it is only a group of cells until a certain point
    but I have allowed my experiences in life to alter my definition of life and come to my own conclusion. Just like your "definition" of marriage. Marriage is the union of two people or things. Marriage can be between two people or two businesses or many other forms. But no, it does not have to be between a man and a woman.

    I don't think anyone would say that killing a human life should be legal. Yet people believe that life has not started at the moment of conception. I find it rather ironic you would like to alter people's definition of life to benefit your cause but will not allow a definition of a simple marriage to help others grow in love and form happier lives.

  11. Hannah,
    I am honored and humbled to be part of the "flock." However, I did not just read Father Holloway's blog and discover "intrinsically disordered" as a phrase and start spitting it out. That was assumptive. I actually discovered this a number of years ago while reading the catechism. I sought to understand the Catholic faith on a deeper level. What I found was truth and it was transforming for my life. I had absorbed many untruths from the secular society especially in the realm of human sexuality. From my life experience and the simplicity of the truths in the catechism, I saw the wrongness and error of what I had been exposed to. Hannah, I will say prayers for myself, but I will include you as well.
    Dear Lord, please be with myself and Hannah on our spiritual journey. Amen.

  12. Parsons,

    I am perplexed by this simplicity of the truth you have found in the catechism. The catechism's truths come from your bible. The bible is also the place where you and your catholics find homosexual activity to be an abomination. However the bible says many other things that catholics do not follow anymore.

    While I have a priest's attention as well, I have a few questions about passages in the bible. I know I have been snippy in some of my past posts on here but I sincerely ask these questions out of wonder. I truly want to know how the church teaches one thing and not another. I respect your knowledge of the catholic faith John and hope you can clear up why some are held up today and some are not.

    Exodus 35:2. Saying whoever does work on the sabbath should be put to death (from King James bible)

    Lev 19:27 Saying you should cut the sides of your hair or your beards.

    Lev 11:6-8 Saying not to touch or eat dead pigs

    Lev 21:17-20 No man who has blemmish can approach to offer the bread of his God.

    There are many, many others but those are simply a few. I don't understand why homosexuality is held to the standards of your bible but not cutting your hair, or working on sundays, or playing football???

    I truly am dumbfounded and honestly, without sarcasm, would like to know the church's reasoning for this.

  13. Hannah,
    Father can answer most of your questions with much more clarity than I can. I will speak to you about the things I have said. When I talk about the simplicity of truth of the catechism it is straightforward. I told you that through my life experience and exposure to false secular teaching, I recognized the truth when I saw it. For one to recognize the truth, they must be open to it. Some profess to seek the truth, but are hard of heart, and no matter how blatant the truth is in front of them, they will deny it. Some are so attached to a particular sin, that they will defend falsehood to protect their attachment. I hesitate to go through every nuance of how I recognized the falsehood of secular society in regard to human sexuality because in my experience there will always be a counter-argument. I am speaking more about the journey of a soul to truth and light and I know it is possible because it happened to me. I am grateful that I had enough grace to hear the message even though some of my prior thinking was in error. I can tell you that today I have a peace and happiness that was not possible for me before I accepted the truth. I hope you will always seek the truth and be open to hearing it even if it is initially painful to you, because it is freeing. You deserve that, Hannah.

  14. I'll ask you then Parsons to try and answer my questions above. Do you know why catholics practice some teachings in the bible but not others? I would think this would be vitally important to understand and most catholics haven't even read the whole bible yet go around judging everyone based on it.

    As to your response, that is great for you that you felt you recognized the truth when you saw it. I have seen the truth a different way and look at you as sinning. I pray for you that when you meet your maker, your judgements don't keep you out of your heaven.

  15. Hannah,
    I think Ms. Parsons hit on it very well; although Catholics are portrayed as mindless robots, in fact most who really embrace the Church's teaching actually started very far from the Church. I myself didn't care about what the Church said on anything - yes I went to Catholic grade school and high school, but in college (not Catholic as you presumed) I had the chance to engage things all over the intellectual spectrum. I DID engage those ideas - and found what the Church said to be home.

    As regards the Bible passages you mentioned, contrary to popular belief the Catholic Church is not a literalist Church. We believe things are established to be true from two different "lungs" - 1) the Bible, but also 2) Tradition, that is the teachings and understandings of things that have been handed from one generation to the next since the beginning of the Church. Therefore, we don't require people to shave a certain way or not eat pork because we know, through tradition, that those prescriptions of the Old Law, while important to understand and important at the time, have been "refashioned" by Jesus. The references to the Sabbath are important, and I personally believe Catholics do a terrible job at keeping the Sabbath day holy. But anyways, there are things in the Old Testament that were not "softened" and acting on homosexual desires (NOT THE DESIRES THEMSELVES) is one of those things that was not "softened" by Christ or anyone who came after him. St. Paul (writing after Christ) still talks about homosexual sex as essentially being the most grave abomination. The Church then takes its cue from the Bible, yes, but also from the fact that the teaching on homosexual sex has been handed on through the centuries, AND, as Ms. Parsons is hinting at, many people, when sitting down and examining the statements by the Church and the teachings of the Church, and contrast those to the statements people make for homosexual sex being something perfectly normal, many people find that the Church's explanation expresses the fullness of the Truth.

  16. An important question here is this - first posed by Pontius Pilate at Jesus trial - "What is Truth?"

    Hannah, I think the disconnect might be about a central issue, and so I ask this this seriously, do you believe there is objective truth, or is all truth relative? That is to say this: do you think there are things that are true simply because they are true, or is nothing true simply because it is? Are there things that are always wrong, no matter what? If so, how do we decide what those things are?

    I'd like to include a quote here from Ralph McInerny from Notre Dame that I think is excellent, and I'd like your take on it.
    "Check letters to the editor or op-ed pieces in almost any newspaper. If the writer is taking umbrage at someone else’s moral judgment, he will invoke the emotivist account and accuse the other of seeking to impose his subjective feelings or views on others. The fact that others have different feelings is sufficient to show the subjective nature of all feelings. Of course we are gloriously inconsistent about this, and a fierce naturalism returns when cigarette smoking or deer hunting are at issue. Somehow those activities are taken to be different from marijuana smoking and infanticide and wrong just because of what they are."

  17. and with that I can only convenient. You are fighting a battle you will lose and that makes me proud to be an american.

  18. I'm not sure I understand - what is convenient?

  19. Hannah,

    What do you propose we use as a criteria for what is right and wrong in the world?

  20. I find this almost as amusing as sad that...

    1. A totally theologically-uneducated person tries to argue with someone who has made theology their life and personal crusade through many years of study. If you, Hannah, think you are smarter than a priest and servant of God and Church who has many years of study, you are sadly mistaken.

    2. Someone so spiteful and hateful towards Catholicism and the Church needs to find posts by Catholics to comment on in the world of blogging by claiming that everyone is ignorant but herself.

    3. This is just another prime example of how only the mainstream media's depiction of what is the "right thing to do" is what is forced down society's throat, and that if you think anything differently you must be intolerant. And hence, Hannah's arguments are such that we are all intolerant because we don't have the same beliefs that the liberal media has. The irony is in that the people of California voted one way, and one judge is trying to undermine the entire concept of democracy. So I leave this post with the question... if marriage can not be accepted as between a man and woman, and we all must accept that marriage can be between man and man or woman and woman, what's to keep us from being forced to accept someone marrying their pet, or an inanimate object. Or worse yet, what keeps us from being forced to accept that someone's "right" to do harm on another because it's their "choice" is also socially acceptable and legally compliant? Sound familiar?

    Fact is this... there should be no spite and disgust thrust upon me or anyone else who shares a certain belief that is morally inherent to that person's conscience. And if this is a country of true democracy, and not a socialist regime, then when the people speak and vote, so should be the law.... which was the content of the original post. So Hannah, do us all a favor and go post on sites where your own intolerance will be met with open arms. This blog is just one Priest's method to feed the spiritual hunger of Catholics and people who have an open mind to discourse. The only intolerance here is seething rather disgustingly within you. I am ashamed for all Catholics in the world to have read that you were once a Catholic.

  21. Tim,

    Perhaps Hannah was arguing from a civil prospective rather than religious? Prop 8 does concern civil law and has no standing in the Catholic church. If so, I think Hannah is probably just as qualified as Fr. John to comment on it.

    Ours is not an absolute democracy. The bill of rights assures that the rights of the minority cannot be trampled on by the will (vote) of the majority. For example, Catholicism cannot be outlawed even if a majority votes for it because there is a guarantee of freedom of religion in the bill of rights.

    Judge Walker did not "undermine the entire concept of democracy". His legal reasoning was that the Prop 8 vote was illegal in that it put up for a vote rights that should be guaranteed to to the people of California under the bill of rights. I am not trying to get you to agree with his decision as much as to get you to understand the legal reasoning behind it.

    The opposite of democracy is not socialism. As a matter of fact a county can be a socialist democracy. They are not mutually exclusive.

    The reason that no one really fears man to dog marriage being legal is a) dogs aren't guaranteed equal rights under the constitution and b) the cannot enter into a legal contract or give consent.

  22. John, right and wrong to me are usually what hurts others and what doesn't. Homosexuality is something that does not hurt other people. It is a loving relationship, just like straight relationships, and only makes people happier and more fulfilled. It blows my mind that people, especially catholics, to want to take love and happiness away.

    What most catholics don't know or fail to realize, and its not necessarily their fault, is that being gay is not a choice. Being gay is how God made them. When you are gay, it feels right. You know in you're heart that it is right and that the love you receive from your partner is not only from God but that God is smiling down upon you just like everyone else.

    It is convenient to me that the catholic church uses its two "lungs" of teaching, one of them being tradition. Its simply convenient that the traditions they keep are the ones that are different or unfamiliar to them such as homosexuality. Tradition is not a good enough excuse. Slavery was a tradition and I think we are all glad that tradition has stopped.

    I am not uneducated in the catholic church. I went to catholic grade school as well as high school and grew up staunchly catholic. I am not hateful towards the catholic church either. While I do not agree with MANY of its teachings and find its base to be muddy, the catholic church has many MANY wonderful things about it. That's one of the reasons why some of their stances, such as homosexuality, make me so upset. Because I know the church can be a loving and helping institution and is capable of so much more than it does. It is baffling to me that as the church is not so slowly dying, they refuse to look at the reasons why.

    As far as the marrying your dog or pet, I will leave that to flower's response above. I will not even entertain that argument as it is one of the most ignorant and offensive things I have ever seen. True ignorance.

  23. Hannah,

    How does one "USUALLY decide what hurts others and what doesn't"?

    Who decides what "usually" means and doesn't mean?
    Can I do whatever I want to myself (cigarettes, marijuana, alcohol, suicide, euthanasia)?
    Can I do whatever I want to animals (or are they somehow included in "others" - and if so - to what degree - are they "others" to the degree that I can't eat them...?)
    Is war, which hurts others, always wrong?
    Is "hurting others" defined as the other person believing they've been hurt in some way (harassment, having to hear from someone that what they are doing is considered a sin to some, etc.) or are we talking about standards to decide whether or not a person was hurt?

    This can go on all night - people love to talk real vaguely about "right and wrong", but I ask again, what should we use to decide what is right and what is wrong, EXACTLY?

    As to other issues in your post - Catholics do not want to take love away, they want to ensure that the dignity which belongs to marriage is kept in tact. I love lots of people, but I don't marry them or have sex with them. The Church has been defending the dignity of marriage for the last 2,000 years because it is the cornerstone of society.

    Secondly, the Church takes the crazy idea that we are all somehow intertwined and related. The Church takes the perspective that when you suffer, I suffer. Therefore, it has never been about "live and let live, why do you care if I live my life a certain way" for authentic Christians. If you sin, as a member of the Body of Christ (which we are all a part of, regardless of whether we choose to be or not), if you sin, it affects me spiritually but also in this moment, in this city and country. It changes things and gives Satan a footing at some place on this earth where, before you sinned, he didn't have footing.

    Finally, when the Church talks about "Tradition" it isn't referring to breaking plates at weddings or singing Auld Lang Syne on New Year's Eve - Tradition means the teaching of 1,000's of saints, across all generations, ages, races and cultures of people, some of whom lived in cultures where homosexuality was MORE accepted than it is in the U.S. today. Tradition is that teaching that still exists today and which echoes through the ages and continues to call sins sins and to call virtues virtues no matter what people think about it - even if they decide to start killing us for saying it (that strategy has been tried in the past, and the Church springs up even stronger when the blood of martyrs starts to flow in a country).

    The Church is going to keep saying what is right and wrong and is going to keep loving people no matter what because it feels that the two things are related. If you love someone but don't speak up when they are doing something that will harm them then you don't love them. If you just speak up and tell people they are wrong, but don't love them, you are a pharisee. The Church calls us to be both.

  24. Flower,

    The Bill of Rights does guarantee that the rights of people can not be voted on.

    But is homosexual marriage really about rights? Things which are not guaranteed rights in the Constitution SHOULD BE VOTED ON - and in many instances things that a minority of people would like to do are forbidden (otherwise there would be anarchy - everyone doing whatever they wanted).

    Homosexual people can already be united civilly. Prop 8 is not even about the ability for homosexual people to do something, it is simply about homosexual people wanting to call their civil unions marriages.

    The Church holds this discussion to a higher standard and asks the tough question of whether homosexuality is right or wrong, but Prop 8 doesn't come anywhere close to that discussion. It just says that a civil union of homosexual people is not to be considered a marriage.

    As for Prop 8 not having a standing in the Church, I'm not sure what that means.

    I am clearly disturbed by the decision of the judge and think, after reading through parts of his decision, that it was a mockery of the judicial branch. That being said, I tied the original post in with Prop 8 because the events surrounding the vote have given rise to the question in Catholic circles as to what the Church teaches on homosexuality. The original post was my best summary.

  25. We're so lucky that the church just tells us what's right and wrong and we don't have to decide anything for ourselves.

    As someone who has known you your whole life John, you are truly a lost, dangerous little boy and I'll pray for you. I can no longer come onto this blog as I don't want to throw more fire into your craziness.

  26. You've known me my whole life but you thought I went to a Catholic college. Interesting.

    Hannah, with your departure, you have left us with the last-ditch effort of many who walk away from the discussion never really having answered the substantive questions - "those people are a bunch of mindless robots and you just can't talk to them..."

    The Church says that the teachings that come to us through Tradition and Scripture (at least one of which you believe to be a hoax) affirm what we come to know on our own, using our intellect. Again, I checked other ideas out growing up, but it was the Catholic Church which gave expression to what I had come to know in my life.

    My email is if you'd like to contact me and have some private dialogue about this ever.

  27. Hannah,
    I dispute that being gay is not a choice. Everyone is called to chastity no matter what their attraction is. The attraction is not sinful, but homosexual relations would be. Having relations is a choice. I agree that we are lucky that the church tells us right from wrong. On an earlier post you called Father Holloway cowardly. I think it was cowardly on your part if you have truly known him his whole life, to be revealing it this late. Truly underhanded and it speaks to your character. "Lost, dangerous little boy"? I hardly think so. Resorting to personal attacks says that you can't debate on the content.

  28. Once again Hannah has, like so many others, dived into senseless drivel and personal attacks to try and justify her own unsubstantiated logic. Maybe she should be a political campaigner. Funny how my comment about someone marrying a pet is "truly ignorant"... was it not too long ago that certain US citizens tried to will their belongings to a pet? That's a legal contract as well is it not? So perhaps this logic isn't too crazy after all, that eventually people will challenge the law to the next outrageous extent. It will always come back to a person's view of what is their "right" versus what is morally acceptable.

    I would like to pass along one last thought. If our government wants a true separation of Church and State so emphatically, then why is the government trying to define "marriage"? Is the definition of marriage not derived from religious background in history? Are not most marriages typically performed in the presence of God and in a form of church besides the ones held in a courtroom by a judge (i.e. government)? Point is this, there are civil unions which can give many of the same legal benefits, and that is supported by the government. So why is the government trying to define marriage? The fact is, marriage is between a man and a woman, and has always been defined as such. A homosexual "couple" can always be bonded with a civil union for their own legal and financial reasons. But as soon as they can't be married because it is between a man and woman, they want to have that right. People under 21 can not drink alcohol. So what if 18 year old adults organized, protested, and demanded legislation to allow it? What's the reason? Because they want it! If you can't bear children and procreate out of a marriage, then how can it be marriage? Such classical questions are typically pushed aside so the discussion of "what I am owed" as a US citizen is foremost in society.

  29. Tim,

    No, someone willing their pet their possessions does not mean the pet entered into a legal contract. Pets cannot give consent and cannot enter into legal contract. People do will stuff to their pets all the time. If someone wills you something, you don't have to know about it or even accept what is willed to you.

  30. Fr. John,

    What I meant by Prop 8 having no standing in the Catholic church was that the ruling does not affect marriages in the Catholic church, ie the Catholic church will not have to allow homosexual marriages.

    It somewhat seems to me that the problem that you and Tim have is somewhat semantics. Is the problem you are having with just the word "marriage" being used? What is the government never used the word "marriage" and only civil union. That is outside of a church two people (regardless of orientation) could not get married, but only enter into a civil union? I have often thought it weird that the same word is used. So, if you are Catholic, you could get married in the church but quite possibly remain single in the eyes of the gov. or go down to city hall and and make the marriage also a civil union. Would this arrangement be more acceptable? Yes, the civil unions would be for homo or hetro couples. It get the gov out of the marriage business and allows equal rights for all orientations.

  31. flower,

    Yes, the Church is not required to marry homosexual persons...yet. Already in D.C. the Catholic Church had to close its adoption agency (and I think Boston is now in the same boat) because they don't allow homosexual couples to adopt children. I bet when the whole movement to allow homosexual couples to adopt first started, it was promised that the Church would never be forced to allow it if they didn't want to, but now...

    The problem with changing the definition of marriage to include homosexual couples is that it can then be taught in schools as perfectly normal behavior and people who object or disagree would not be able to argue against it. That is a standard Catholic answer to the question of Prop 8 itself. However, as the original post mentions, the Church is ultimately against the sin of homosexual sex.

  32. Flower,
    I don't believe this is about semantics. If homosexuals succeed in getting marriage redefined by the government, will they then be satisfied? I don't think so. I believe they want the Catholic church to give their stamp of approval, which will never happen. Hannah hinted at this when she said that the chuch has so many wonderful things about it and "is capable of so much more than it does." Her phrase suggests that if the church would just change on this issue for her, they would somehow be better. Thousands of years of theology and sacred scripture and tradition should be discounted just so homosexuals can feel better? I don't think so. The fact is that they wouldn't feel better even if these things occurred, because like Father has so eloquently illustrated, it is intrinsically disordered. It is a deeply unhappy lifestyle. The Catholic church has not and will not cave on this. They are here to get souls to heaven, not to soothe egos here on earth.

  33. Fr. John,

    I think you can agree that the government has a legit concern in being involved in adoption.

    The government has no role in the Catholic marriage, which I believe should be totally separate from government marriage. Catholic marriage is the religious sacrament of God uniting a man and woman for life. The government doesn't do that, their marriage is legal contract that allows for such benefits as health insurance, rights of inheritance, etc. They are totally separate deals. I see not why the Catholic church cares if the government marries two men, that marriage isn't a sacrament, it is not what the church considers to be a marriage. Much like the government calls the first day of the week Sunday, but that is not the same thing as Sunday for a Catholic. I am fine with the government not enforcing Mass attendance :)

    I should think that Catholics should hope for the separation of church marriage from civil marriage. No one is trying to change the definition of Catholic marriage, but Catholics certainly are trying to steer the definition of civil marriage, which is their right, I just don't think they should.

    I would also be upset if Jewish people tried to outlaw cheeseburgers. They may have very good religious reasonings and tradition for their "separation of meat and dairy" law, and I am fine with Jewish people not indulging in cheeseburgers themselves, but you bet I would be upset if they tried to take my cheeseburger away. No, I am not trying to equate cheeseburgers and marriage, just pointing out another example of a religious law that shouldn't be forced into the public sphere.

  34. Flower,
    By distinguishing between Catholic marriage and civil marriage you are already changing the definition of marriage. Marriage right now is marriage - the gov't and the Catholic Church mean the same thing by marriage right now - The state recognizes Catholic weddings as being valid marriages and the Church, in most circumstances, recognizes a civil marriage's validity.

    If two atheists (or non Christian) get married by a judge downtown, the Church considers that a marriage in a certain sense. If one of those people married by a judge in a court joins the Church, an annulment is needed before one can remarry! That is pretty amazing and something not many people realize. The Church says, essentially, if you understand yourself to be entering into a valid marriage, even if it is not Catholic or even necessarily Christian, it is still a marriage that requires an annulment, and so was, in a sense, a valid marriage.

    Also, neither the government nor the Church thinks of marriage as something that simply provides tax breaks or other benefits. Marriage between one man and one woman is something that even a secular government, completely devoid of religious motivation, is right to maintain. It is the building block of a healthy society, and so that is where I disagree with your line of reasoning.

    People here say "well, marriages between one man and one woman are terrible now, some building block!" To that I would say a) if the divorce rate were 2% and there were hardly any cases of child abuse, etc. would people THEN say that marriage between one woman and one man is best? Of course not; they are simply using a problem with marriages today to assist them in their cause of changing the definition of marriage. b) Yes, that is the scandal and the evil that is caused by divorce. If marriage means nothing, then people are free to define it as they wish, and that is why Pope John Paul II said twenty and thirty years ago that the central thing he saw Satan focusing on eroding was and continues to be the institution of marriage.

  35. Fr. John,

    I am well aware that the church and government recognize the others marriages. I just don't believe it should be so. You end up with problems. Separation of church and state is a good thing, in my opinion.

  36. I think Flower has a good point. While I agree with you Fr. John, from a civil standpoint, marriage is separate. The Church may recognize marriages from a Judge, I don't think the State or Country recognize religious marriages until they are signed in a court of law. Therefore separating the two. You can get married in a Church but until you go down and sign and get a marriage license, you are not recognized as married by the government.

    And I would ask you this Father John. Most of your argument is on the basis that marriage between a man and a woman is the building block of a healthy society. That is a valid opinion and you are entitled to it. But I would say that love is the building block to a healthy society. Your 2% argument is kinda moot because the divorce rate is not 2%. I think its somewhere between 50% and 60% now. Healthy society members usually come from loving parents. Not just married men and women. The parents that abuse their children, phsyically, mentally, or emotionally, usually turn out children that are unhealty in our society.

    Its an interesting thing to consider.

  37. The government recognizes me as a person who can administer a marriage; me signing the document in the Church is all that it takes to make the marriage "legal". The license is printed by the government for record keeping only.

    The idea that a family springing from one man and one woman is the foundation of a society is the teaching of the Church, not just my opinion. One can now say I am a mindless robot but that is addressed above.

    My point about the 2% thing is that when people who are in favor of homosexual marriage use the argument that the divorce rate is 60%, they are actually undermining their argument because they are suggesting that homosexual marriage is somehow right IN THIS TIME, whereas the argument that must be made for those proposing homosexual marriage is that it is right ALWAYS. Using a statistic that can fluctuate and is very much tied to this moment hurts the argument, except in the court of public opinion.

    Do Africans, for example, have a right to homosexual marriage, where the divorce rate IS 2% in some countries? If they do, then making the argument that homosexual marriage is right because of (or even to some small extent because of) the inability of men and women to do the job well in our country actually hurts the logic of the argument made by those seeking to redefine marriage as potentially being between two people of the same sex.

  38. @Mparsons: You said: Everyone is called to chastity no matter what their attraction is. Are YOU a chaste individual like you were called to be? LOL! I bet not. I bet you got married and had kids. Don't tell me you have been chaste your whole entire life....

  39. Chastity is not simply abstinence. Abstinence is refraining from sex, while chastity is using one's sexuality in accord with God's plan for ourselves. As a priest who doesn't have sex, I'm called to be chaste, but so are married couples - it is quite possible to be unchaste while having sex, even with one's spouse.

  40. To the anonymous person who attacked mparsons.
    Please do not think for one moment that chastity is something to laugh about. I am also appalled by the fact that you would blatantly throw that question around online to a person you have never met. Do you think that the anonymity of the internet allows you to go around accusing people of things?

    To mparsons - I cannot force that person to apologize to you, but I hope you know that I am sorry that they felt the need to be crude and judgmental.

    To all - Know that you are loved by God, my Father and Creator. He has, on more than one occasion, made it clear that He can and will forgive you of your sins if you are fully contrite.
    ... That is all! Thank you!