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“LGBT Catholic” Video Presented at the Vatican? (CORRECTED)


Earlier this week, CNA reported that a video called “OwningOurFaith: LGBT Catholics” would be screened by the pope in a private audience yesterday morning.

A Vatican official says there will be no papal endorsement for an LGBT activist video whose backers want it to reach Pope Francis.

Father Gil Martinez, C.S.P., a member of the development team for the video “LGBT Catholics: Owning our Faith,” intended to present the video to Pope Francis in a private audience after morning Mass on March 17, according to the website of the St. Philip Neri Parish and Northwest Paulist Center in the Portland, Ore.

The video contains the personal reflections from self-identified LGBT Catholics, several of whom reject Church teaching.

An official with the Holy See Press Office told CNA March 16 that the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household had not announced any public events for Pope Francis on March 17. This means that “no public or official meetings are scheduled.”

“The Pope can, however, meet whomever he wants, but this cannot mean in any sense an official endorsement, since every audience is intended to be kept private,” the official said. Such meetings are made public “only if some of the people involved speak out about it.”

The press release for the video said it is dedicated to “achieving the full acceptance of LGBT persons in the Catholic Church.” It said that the video evokes “the need for change” and will “reach thousands, including Pope Francis, many bishops and other prominent Vatican clergy.”

The St. Philip Neri Parish website said that Fr. Mark-David Janus, C.S.P., would also present Cardinal Walter Kasper’s newest book from Paulist Press, “Pope Francis’ Revolution of Tenderness and Love.”

The “Owning our Faith” video is produced and directed by Michael Tomae, a parishioner of New York City’s St. Paul the Apostle Church. Fr. Martinez is pastor of the parish, which shares a mailing address with the “Owning our Faith” project. Tomae is part of the parish’s Out@StPaul LGBT ministry, which is promoting the video on its website.

The “Owning our Faith” video includes interviewees who reject Catholic teaching on sexual morality and marriage.

The fact is, we don’t know if the screening took place, or what was said. (Put this with the story of the “transgender man” who says he met with the pope last December in the “unconfirmed-but widely-reported” file.)

What we do know is that this is a huge battleground in the Church. We had the language in the mid-synod relatio document last fall which stated,

50.       Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community. Are we capable of providing for these people, guaranteeing […] them […] a place of fellowship in our communities? Oftentimes, they want to encounter a Church which offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of this, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?

     51.        The question of homosexuality requires serious reflection on how to devise realistic approaches to affective growth, human development and maturation in the Gospel,  while integrating the sexual aspect, all of which constitute an important educative challenge. Moreover, the Church affirms that unions between people of the same sex cannot be considered on the same level as marriage between man and woman. Nor is it acceptable that the pastor’s outlook be pressured or that international bodies make financial aid dependent on the introduction of regulations based on gender ideology.

     52.        Without denying the moral problems associated with homosexual unions, there are instances where mutual assistance to the point of sacrifice is a valuable support in the life of these persons. Furthermore, the Church pays special attention to […] children who live with same-sex couples and stresses that the needs and rights of the little ones must always be given priority.

This language was voted down by a slim margin by the synod fathers, although a simple majority wished to retain it. (Cardinal Baldisseri, General Secretary of the Synod, has stated that it was kept on the table for consideration by none other than Pope Francis himself. This, also, is unable to be confirmed.)

Whatever is truly driving this agenda, a new spirit of “openness” under the guise of “mercy” has empowered individuals who believe the Church should change her teaching on same-sex relationships or gender-reassignment to push harder for accommodation. And despite the high production values and obvious emotional appeal, that’s exactly what the “OwningOurFaith” video is doing: agitating for change on things which are unchangeable. It starts out subtle. Even features some authentically Catholic understandings of human sexuality. But watch as it evolves once the hook is set:

I personally feel a deep sympathy for those who struggle with the affliction of same-sex attraction. I’ve had conversations with two Catholics who bear this cross, and it’s a burden that is hard to understand and even harder to bear.

Changing what we believe about our divinely-created nature isn’t going to fix it. Difficult circumstances do not provide us with the power to alter reality.

Clearly, there are no easy answers to the questions these individuals face. The Church is confronted with a need to better understand the problem so that effective guidance can be offered. Celibacy for the unmarried is the law of the land for all Catholics. But this is not an issue of discrimination. Same-sex attracted Catholics are allowed to be married. They just aren’t allowed to be married to same-sex partners. They have the same opportunity we all have. The challenge is that their desires conflict with what is acceptable under the moral law.

Something all Catholics need, whatever their sexual orientation, is clear and unequivocal teaching (or, where the teaching is established, reaffirmation) from Rome on sexual morality and ethics. As for the mixed signals, confusing language, and secret meetings that imply change where change is impossible and yet somehow always make their way into the media? Those aren’t helping anyone.

CORRECTION: I originally stated that the mid-term relatio (officially referred to as the “relatio post-disceptationem”) received a simple majority vote, but it has been brought to my attention that this is mistaken. Upon further research, it appears that the midterm relatio was not voted upon. The section dealing with homosexuality was almost entirely rewritten for the final relatio synodi, and this far less offensive section was that which received the simple majority vote, rather than the two-thirds required. It appears I confused the two. However, it remains true that Pope Francis is reported to have ordered that both the midterm relatio and the voted-down sections of the final relatio be included in the final synod documentation.

Confused? I was too. I hope this helps clarify. My thanks to Murray in the comments for helping me to recognize my error and sort this out.

13 thoughts on ““LGBT Catholic” Video Presented at the Vatican? (CORRECTED)”

  1. I agree this video and the attitude behind it are a problem. So let’s not mince words about it. The traditional teaching on these sexual defects is infinitely merciful. In agitating for more, these people are revolting against God. So let’s call it that.

    You aren’t obliged to post your reflections on the deep struggle faced by these people every time you mention their perversions. You don’t have to do that! That’s your capitulation to the narrative. It’s one of the steps to the Hegelian mambo. It’s worse than not saying anything, to be honest.

    • I don’t have a deep struggle. I have a deep sympathy for theirs. It’s a unique and unusual cross to bear, and it gets at the very core of who a person is. I can only imagine how hard it must be to not merely struggle with a vice, or a particular sin, but an entire disorientation of one’s person. Not acknowledging this avoids a big part of the problem. Even choosing celibacy, if this is what they do, doesn’t alleviate the ongoing internal struggle of knowing that one’s desires are disordered. Of wanting, more than anything, to be normal.

      One of the reasons homosexuals shouldn’t become priests is because the homosexual inclination, in and of itself, is what the Church once rightly described as a “grave moral defect” which makes impossible to develop an authentic masculinity or spiritual fatherhood.

      What they need is actual Christian love. Love that wills the good of the other, even if it tells them what they don’t want to hear. In the anger and frustration many of us feel towards those who are trying to change our Church or force us to acquiesce to immoral beliefs, we can begin, quite easily I think, to treat those with this disorder as an enemy. This makes it impossible to evangelize them.

      So no, there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging the difficulties they face, especially in a world that constantly tries to persuade them that they should embrace their disorder.

      • I agree with Ioannes Barbarus, in that fornication is fornication no matter how it’s practiced. What sympathy and compassion do we have for young people who have been taught that every sexual impulse must be acted upon unless horrible repressive effects will occur? We tell them to man-up and get on with life!
        The sexual urge is strong in many, many people. One of faithful marriage’s ends is to satisfy this urge in a proper way. I believe it is disingenuous to treat sexually perverted desires as more difficult to bear than those of others.
        I disagree that this perverted sexual urge ‘defines’ who these people are. Does your hetro-sexuality define you? Mine does not define me.
        We speak this kind of language because sexually perverted people have co-opted our common language. Let’s not allow that. We can speak with sympathy and compassion without giving up our truth.

        • P.S. Lest I be accused of name-calling, I also believe in using words like ‘sexually perverted’ in their proper way. When the gift of the sexual faculty is perverted from its proper ends it IS a perversion no matter how we try to avoid using this word.
          This is akin to Cardinal Kasper telling us we should not call adulterers ‘adulterers’ because it’s unkind. Bosh!

      • Steve, *my* desires are disordered. So are yours. Irrespective of sexuality, concupiscence is an affliction we all share. Since every one of us is disoriented, it doesn’t help to classify those with SSA as somehow uniquely entitled to pastoral solicitude. Ioannes Barbarus is exactly right to warn against capitulating to the Hegelian narrative.

      • I don’t know why there is a problem with sympathy for these people or anyone that struggles with sin. The supreme law of the Church is the salvation of souls. This is the mission that all of us are given. If we are serious about this than we must have sympathy for anyone who struggles with sin.
        To not have sympathy and compassion for the sinner directly violates Church teaching. We must hate the sin but love the sinner. We cannot hope to assist people with SSA without this.
        To be silent in the face of evil is to permit it to happen. We, as faithful Catholics, need to call out evil wherever and whenever we see it.
        Humans are defined by their natures. I am a heterosexual man. This is my nature as God created me so thus it defines me. SSA is a corruption of human nature and must be acknowledged as such. Only then will anyone with it desire and move toward embracing the moral law concerning it. If we pass it off as just a mere quality that does not impact their personhood in some way, then it becomes a mere characteristic.

  2. Steve, I believe you’re confusing the midterm with the final relatio. The midterm relatio was thoroughly trashed by the Synod Fathers, and the final relatio text bears little resemblance to the scandalous language of its predecessor:

    55. Some families have members who have a homosexual tendency. In this regard, the synod fathers asked themselves what pastoral attention might be appropriate for them in accordance with Church teaching: “There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.” Nevertheless, men and women with a homosexual tendency ought to be received with respect and sensitivity. “Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons, 4).

    56. Exerting pressure in this regard on the Pastors of the Church is totally unacceptable: it is equally unacceptable for international organizations to link their financial assistance to poorer countries with the introduction of laws that establish “marriage” between persons of the same sex.

    The final wording is quite close to that in the CCC, and it is this paragraph that received a simple majority vote in the Synod, not the wording in the midterm relatio.

    Having said that, the Holy Father directed that both the paragraph above and the midterm relatio were to be retained, despite having been repudiated according to the rules he himself approved.

    • It is not good enough that the final relatio merely takes notice of homosexual unions and declines to deem them tolerable. As worded, the relatio fails to identify such unions clearly as disordered and scandalous, and altogether avoids the sinful nature of homosexual acts themselves.

      • I’m not defending the final relatio. It’s a serious improvement over the scandalous language of the midterm relatio, but it’s far from perfect. (Why are we even discussing homosexuality in a “Synod on the Family” anyway?) And the omissions you rightly point out may be the reason the section failed to achieve the supermajority required. But we want to be accurate in our critiques, and it’s not the case that the midterm wording on homosexuality received majority support.

  3. I have a gay friend. I love him in friendship but the reason, I think, our friendship has flourished is because he is celibate. I have to follow the Bible on this issue, the Word of God. The Old and New Testament are both very explicit on male w/ male sex and vis-a-vis female w/ female sex. There was one statement that I really took issue with and that was the young man who said that unless he had sexual intimacy he was not fulfilled for that was who he was. This is not true on several different levels. Celibacy is a form of intimacy and for those who practice it are they not wholly alive in ways that are a mystery and a grace. I am always bothered when someone says they just have to have something. When we follow this thought through what we find is that we are not allowing God to be the Potter and we are not acquiescing to be the clay. Gays want us to accept them, but it is more than that, they want us to accept their sexual intimacies as well and after that step then they want the community of Believers to come together and confer the Sacrament of Marriage on same sex couples… the entire premise feels wrong. Just some thoughts.


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