Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Is It Catholicism that is Unreasonably Rigid on Homosexuality?

As I've reflected over the firestorm that was my classes on homosexuality, I thought one final comment ought to be made.

Many commenters left remarks out of spite and didn't really listen to what the Church says on the subject. Some comments, however, were rational, and I tried to respond to all of those types of comments with my post a few weeks ago.

One of the rational commenters noted something to the effect of "while this Church is crazy, we [the homosexual community] should be dialoging with people like this because he seems a lot more rational than a lot of other religions on the subject."

The commenter was not referring to me in general but to the Catholic Church, and I couldn't agree with him more.

The Catholic Church is enemy number 1 for many in the homosexual camp, but here is the irony - most Protestant denominations and Islam are WAY more intense about homosexuality than Catholicism. The Church says it isn't a sin to have homosexual attractions, and I challenge anyone to find another major religion that says something that soft on the issue. Most of the branches of Islam favor putting a homosexual caught in the act TO DEATH! One website estimated that in Iran alone nearly 4,000 have been killed for acting on their homosexuality since 1979. Yet, for some odd reason, the liberal media often suggests that Islam ought to be more accepted while at the same time often lambasting Catholicism for its rigidity. Isn't it the Church that is the most liberal on the issue of homosexuality? And yet the Church is villainized for its rigidity?

Those who are not operating out of a specifically anti-Catholic bias would be wise to engage the Church on this issue instead of pretending that Catholicism is the camp of rigid fundamentalists. It certainly remains to be seen if that change in approach will ever happen.


  1. Thank you for the post father. It reminds us how loving the catholic church is. Additionally this is a very good post/letter from a blog.
    It really shows the cross one must bear when dealing with homosexuality.
    My prayers are with those you must carry this heavy cross

  2. What will the Catholic church's view be once it is scientifically proven that a gay man is such due to genetics, i.e. born that way. I have spoken to several women who have chosen the lesbian lifestyle due to previous horrific experiences w/men. However, I also have several friends who are lesbians & will openly admit that from as far back as they remember they were attracted to women & not men. For the most part, homosexuality is not a choice it is part of a person, it is who they are. Just like I was born w/green eyes & brown hair, one can & is born homosexual.

    1. Not true. Have you ever heard of having your unborn baby tested for "homosexualism"?

      People with same sex attractions may not choose their feelings, but they are responsible for their acts. Those they choose.

  3. Am reminded of reading many moons ago something Aidan Nichols OP said in his book on the 'Theology of Joseph Ratzinger'(republished and updated I believe). Nichols note that Protestant churches without a systematic structure of doctrine first to collapse in the face of Nazism. (Again I am reminded of a study that revealed that the Nazi vote in Catholic areas was not as prolific as in non Catholic areas.) I do not mean to rub salt in the Reformed wound, but perhaps the scaffold of faith that has been been built up over centuries of doctrinal development has something to do with the intensity of aggression against the Catholic Church's teaching, with its basis on both faith 'and' reason, scripture 'and' tradition.

  4. if homosexuality is proved to be genetic it will take its place among a long list of things that are already known to be genetic but which the Church nonetheless asks people to refrain from.

    It is genetic for a heterosexual male to desire to have sex with every woman on the planet that he is in the least bit attracted to. Church still says don't.

    humans have a genetic predisposition to salty foods, fatty foods, and sugary foods - the Church says it is gluttonous to eat that stuff in excess.

    Many have a genetic predisposition to alcohol. The Church says one shouldn't act on that predisposition.

    The Church's teaching wouldn't change one bit if there were ever a component of homosexuality that were proven to be genetic.

    This discussion doesn't change the fact that homosexuality is considered a crime punishable by death by most Muslims, and just having the attractions in the first place is considered a sin by most evangelical protestants.

    1. Exactly,

      If I was predisposed to beating the heck out of homosexuals, should I act on it? This is just another excuse to approve of the sinful behavior. If I was attracted to a dog, it this OK? I could go on and on. The fact is that we have two different sexes. Are we telling God he made a mistake? Why do we have two sexes? Forget religious reasons for a moment. Biologically our bodies were made for the opposite sex. If something is wrong with our thinking it is a feeling, not reality. If we follow all of our feelings like say, murder, what be wrong with it, if we think because some people say I feel attracted to the same sex, why wouldn't that be the same? We are to go by reality, use our intelligence, not our feelings or we would have feelings going up and down constantly. We don't sin, when we have problems with our thinking if we don't act on them. That would be any problems, not just same sex attraction.

  5. I have been an apostate Catholic for decades now. I think my progression from a being a marginal believer in grammar school to fully embracing apostasy is the natural progression for any person who thoughtfully considers the source of their religious belief.

    In the vast majority of cases, people believe in their religions because they were socialized (brain-washed is the uncharitable term) into believing that religion. Ask Father Hollowell this question:

    Father Hollowell, let's imagine that at the age of 2 years, you were asported away by kidnappers and brought to be cared for and raised by a devoutly conservative moslem family in Iran. Would it not be likely that today you would be an imam, espousing the Koran as the holiest, most infallible book? Would you not be rocking in prayer and reciting verses from the Koran? Would the Vatican not represent for you the church of the west --a church with malicious intent to control many of the holy sites in the Middle East? I think you likely would be such an imam. The reason is because you have a credulous and zealous personality --the two personality traits I believe are common to most members of the clergy (of all religions).

    I find religious belief to be the province of the lower to middling intellect. The fervor and zealotry of some believers is, to me, a sign of an inferior intellect. A zealous religious belief can only be the product of an unconsidered religious belief.

    As a detached observer of believers, I read Father Hollowell's assessment of the RC's position on homosexuality vis-a-vis other churches to be accurate. There is no doubt that the Catholic Church is more merciful in its position on homosexuality. However, I find the condemnation of homosexual acts to be as superfluous as the entire heirarchy of the church. It's simply a silly bunch of men trying to assess things as obtuse as "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin".

    The most moral societies on earth are found in countries where there is no monotheistic religion, or in countries where there is no signficant emphasis placed on religion. Japan comes to mind: much lower divorce rates; lower teen pregnancy rates; much higher educational standards; I would argue much more honesty in public debate --and in the end a much more merciful attitude toward gays and lesbians.

    To me, the churches of the west are superfluous to our societies. Most people may think of them as critical, but I think if they were all to disappear tomorrow, society would change very little, if at all.

    Dan Cobb in Baltimore

  6. Dan,

    I appreciate you taking the time to write out your beliefs. I would say that I honestly believe that if I had been kidnapped, I would have ended up a Catholic. I tried it all in college - Buddhism, Taoism, protestant praise and worship, etc. (I didn't try Islam I must admit) but I really and honestly felt them all lacking, AND I found the Church's critiques of those beliefs to be TRUE. Take Buddhism for example. I took a class on Buddhism, and the presentation Buddhism makes sounded really good - deny everything that we sense, everything is not real because everything we sense can be deceived - deny the self etc. I thought long and hard about that. I didn't run back to the Catholic Church looking for the Catechisms answers, I didn't run to a priest asking for advice, I thought long and hard about Buddhism and read about it. Ultimately, though, I read somewhere where John Paul II talked about Buddhism and how they have the whole "denial of self" thing exactly right but how they go too far when they talk about everything of this world as simply distraction, that jived with my reason.

    I find your statement about religion and intellect to be arrogant, but then again you probably don't care about that. A great letter by Pope John Paul II titled Fides et Ratio talks about how Faith and Reason inform one another - Faith doesn't come in and obliterate one's intellect it "gives it wings" so to speak. That is precisely why I found Catholicism so convincing - it doesn't downgrade reality, intelligence, humanity, science, etc. IT LIFTS THEM UP!

    As far as Japan goes, I can't say I've ever been but I've heard and read that it is one of the most "matrixized" nations with the majority of people simply plugged in most of the time. All I'm saying is I've never heard anyone else say "why can't we be more like Japan."

    Finally, the Church speaks about homosexual acts in an attempt to keep people from being unhappy and save them from misery. You say they aren't miserable...okay...but if there are any that are then I think the Church starts to sound intriguing. Regardless of the sin, most prefer to stay in it then get out and there isn't a whole lot I can do about that, but I believe I should keep trying to reach out to those who are interested in hearing about alternative ways of viewing reality from your own gospel of materialism and atheism.

  7. Well, besides the fact the Church says that to have the homosexual orientation isn't a sin, that's the only good thing she says about homosexuals. You failed to mention the fact that the church will not allow homosexuals to become priests(even if they are chaste/celibate), won't allow them to get married; which I understand, it doesn't fit the definition of marriage, the lack of assistance to those struggling with their orientation(there is the Courage chapter but those are few and far between), Supports homosexuals from being in the military, refuses to allow them to adopt children, refuses to allow them to be EMHCs, the list can go on and on. If the truth would be known, I don't think the church really wants homosexuals through the front doors of any church on Sundays. As a homosexual myself, I keep asking myself WHY I even go to church. The church says God loves me sooo much & bla bla bla....well, I highly doubt that given the fact that I have prayed time and time again to be straight, also, to rid me of this HORRIBLE depression that I now have cause I think what I COULD have had if I weren't a homosexual man. God has his chosen people and that is plain and simple. There is a Bible passage in reference to whom he loves and whom he hates. Romans 9:13 states clearly "I loved Jacob, but I hated Esau." Plus, there are clearly other things in the Bible that talk about God not liking people, like the Noah's Ark story, God chose Noah and his family to live but drowned every other person. He also picked sides when that Red Sea was parted and drowned a bunch of soldiers, again, the list could go on and on. I am pretty much at the breaking point with my life and the life involving the Church. I'm a friggin lonely, unwanted and unloved person. HOWEVER....I am gonna change that real quick by logging on to a personals website and finding somebody(yes a guy) who will LOVE me. Cause nobody else will take the time!!!!
    A lonely, unloved, unwanted human being

    1. I am sorry you feel lonely and unloved. That sucks.

      The Church wants us all, even me! I have a list of sins and crosses that you would probably find entertaining.

      And the Church wants the best for me, including my happiness! Jesus died for us and HE IS THE WAY.

      I would urge you to get in touch ASAP with a Courage priest and perhaps also with a good Catholic counselor.

      I can assure you, there is hope and lots of good stuff once we surrender to the One who loves us the most.

  8. Oh and lets not forget the child of two lesbian mother's who was booted out of a Catholic school cause her mothers were an item. Punish the lesbians. Also, lets not forget about the disdain of gay-straight alliances in schools by the Catholic Church. You know, the only reason the Catholic Church wants gay people in the church is to collect money from them when that collection basket comes around. I've wasted a number of years going to the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. As Jesus said on the cross - it is finished and frankly, so am I.

  9. So what Jesus meant from the cross was that the Church is finished?

  10. I have no clue what Jesus meant by that. I guess He was saying that He was finished with all the pain and misery on that cross. I guess what I am trying to say is...IT'S FINISHED FOR ME. FINISHED WITH THE CATHOLIC CHURCH THAT IS. I'm not going to go where I am not truly wanted. I've suffered enough at the hands of the RCC while everybody else is HAPPY. Like I said in the above post--God has His chosen people He loves. Obviously I am not one of them. I think God makes it pretty obvious who He loves and who He does not. In my case, it took me forever to figure this out and I can't believe it took me soooo long!

  11. So which would best describe your situation

    a) There is no God and there is no Church
    b) There is a God who hates me and a Church who hates me
    c) There is a God who loves me but there is a Church who hates me

  12. The answer to that one would be the second one; b).

    I do believe in God. Yes I do. However, I don't believe He loves everybody. My case in point. Refer to Romans 9:13 in the Bible. God does hate. Now as far as me, I have suffered tremendously with depression which is coupled by OCD and it is severe. So bad that the worst amount of physical pain you have ever felt or will feel in your life is about the least amount of mental PAIN I feel. No amount of antidepressants help, no prayers for that matter help either. NOTHING works. You know, I could quote numerous passages from the Bible that clearly shows God isn't exactly as loving as you would tend to believe. For example, check out these passages in the Bible: 2 Kings 2:23-24, 1 Kings 20:35-36, 1 Samuel 15:2-3, Deuteronomy 17:12, I could go on and on as there are more passages than that! I seriously have it figured out. Took me a long time to realize it as I am gullible and will fall for just about anything. So, having that been said, my eternal HELL has already begun. What I am experiencing right now is only an appetizer of what is yet to come. Now, as far as the Church goes, She wants me there! But just for me to put money in the collection plate. I got it. I totally got it.

    1. I am truly sorry you feel that way. Obviously, we Catholics need to do a better job of showing the love of Jesus to all.

      One thing I can assure you: the Church does not want your money. You could be there forever without putting anything in the basket and you would still be welcome! It is true.

      It is also true that you do not really want to live the way you say you are living. No one does. And you don't have to live like that.

      God does love you. And loves you like a father! Sometimes He is stern but his heart burns for love for us.

      Have you tried to get in touch with your nearest Courage chapter?

      Tonight, I will by praying for you.

  13. One more thing Father--Be thankful to God that you are a chosen one. Thank him every day. For all the straight men and women out there with families--thank God everyday that you are straight and have children. Some people out there don't have this and want it so badly but will never get the chance to. Thank God that you are loved by another human being and cherish every second of it. Some of us aren't so lucky to have that.

  14. Thank you Fr. Hollowell!
    Thank you for the courage, the clarity and for having enough true love for people with same sex attraction to reach out to them with the beautiful truth of God and His Church.
    God bless you on your apostolate and thank you for your vocation.