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Despite the sign, all not welcome at downtown church

Scott Pomfret, author of Since My Last Confession: A Gay Catholic Memoir, reports he is no longer welcome as a volunteer at St. Anthony's Shrine in Downtown Crossing, despite eight years of service, because of the publicity surrounding his book. Also, the shrine has disbanded its GLBT Spirituality Group:

... Wednesday, Sept. 17, I went to the Shrine for the regularly scheduled meeting of the GLBT Spirituality Group, which met every third Wednesday of the month. As soon as I entered the Shrine's lobby, I knew something was amiss. Our little paper rainbow flags that point the way to the meeting room were absent.

When I got to the meeting room, the door was half-closed. A sign taped to the door indicated that the Lay Ministry Training Committee was meeting. The Committee trains new lectors and Eucharistic ministers. I have been an important member of this group for five years. Yet I was given no notice of the meeting. I instantly realized I had been deliberately excluded. ...

Via Sam Baltrusis.

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...and I'm thinking, "What took them so long?"

Really, what did this guy expect of the Roman Catholic Church?

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While I feel for the author, I think the catholic church (my church) is wrong on its views on homsexuality, I cant help but feel that he must have known what was going to happen. After all he had a good thing going, he got to be himself and have gay spiritual meetings in a church (A Catholic Church imagine! That itself is amazing), he was treated like any other member even though he was very out and writing erotic novels on the side. It used to be that writing any gay erotic based book would be enough to get you kicked out of the club, but in Boston things have softened quite a bit, and that didnt stop anything.

The problem seemed to come around when he wrote a book spot lighting the church and the sect, its openess to homosexuality, some of its friars being on gay.com, its hosting of gay prayer groups! Its all in a book, which was covered by news papers, and the cover has what looks like male alter boys in love. I wonder how many heads were spinning at the Arch Diocese, even possibly at the Vatican over this. How hard did the local church get it from their superiors for allowing such "things" to happen in their church? Once the whole thing was exposed Im sure that there was no other option but to "straighten" out or face termination or relocation themselves. Im not going to go out and say that the author was wrong, because as I said I think the church is wrong, but he shouldnt be suprised, even a bit. I just feel really bad because he obviously cares about the church more then someone like me who hasnt been to church on a regular basis for years and yet lives a lifestyle they find "appropriate."

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I have a few points. I know that the Catholic faith seems strange to someone outside of it. So much of what we believe is not a part of contemporary life that it's misunderstood.

One thing is the line about "all are welcome." Well I don't know if the Shrine had that sign. I've seen that sign on a lot of Protestant places, and I know what it's supposed to mean - that the place is open and tolerant, which is supposedly a good thing.

But for the Church, and for a lot of other Bible believing groups too, openness is not a virtue unto itself. I think the Church's position is that it's not open to sin, or tolerant of sin. The words of Jesus were, "I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish." The word repent is all through the New Testament. Jesus sat and ate with sinners, yes, but he called them to repent, not to continue sinning. The Church is the same way. All are welcome, but all are asked to repent. All, not just gay people are called to repent. Sometimes gay people give the impression that they are singled out by the Church, but that is not true. Being a Christian is hard and all are asked to transform their lives. All are asked to carry the cross of Jesus. My wish here is that gay people don't feel singled out when in fact everyone has to give up a lot to be a Christian.

The next point gets to one little phrase that one person used - he said "I think the catholic church (my church) is wrong." I know this makes little sense to people living in the world outside of the Church, but what we think has NOTHING to do with what the Church teaches. We're so used to democracy that we think it's a universal good, but it's not. We have that even in our own politics to some degree. Our basic rights - the rights of the Declaration, and of the 9th amendment - are not given to us by politics decided by the voters. They are born into us, or retained by the people outside of politics.

The Church works the same way sort of. First, what we think has nothing to do with morality. That is God's will. He decides what's right and wrong. We don't. And we know his will through the Bible and through what Sacred Tradition teaches. So a person who says that they don't believe in what the Church teaches really doesn't know much about the Church. It is our role to accept its teachings and pray for God's guidance. That is called humility. I know that because I've lived that path too. I came back to the Church without understanding why she teaches that homosexuality is wrong. But I trusted the Church, and gave up my own homosexual conduct, with some slip ups, of course. Since then I've come to see why the Church, based on the Old and New Testaments, teaches that homosexuality is a sin.

That leads me to the next point,and that is that homosexuality is a sin because it's bad for us, plain and simple. I lived that life for over thirty years, and it still has some pull for me, but all my experience - both in that life and out of it - tells me that homosexuality is not good for us. I don't want to go into all the problems with it here, but I know that it's bad for everyone who's involved with it.

Now you don't have to believe that. But even not believing in that, you can see that if the Church really does believe that it is bad for people, she's not doing something to hurt people by asking them to give up the practice of homosexuality. Again, you may disagree with whether it's bad for people or not, but you hopefully can see that the Church's motivation is to help people.

What's happened in the Church lately is that she's coming back to enforcing things that she's taught but has been lax about. So a lot of priests have been too lenient by allowing active homosexuals in parish ministries. That's changing. So it may seem odd that this writer was allowed to publish his earlier books and now this one gets him disciplined. What's going on now in the Church is a change whereby the things she's always taught are now being enforced. Maybe a few years ago this sort of book would not have prompted a reaction. Hopefully in the future, the Church's teaching will be more clear long before this point has been reached.

And this man was not kicked out of the Church or his ministries. I am sure of that. He certainly was asked to repent and change his ways. I pray that he does. If he is no longer in communion with the Church, that has been his choice, a choice that he is free to change at anytime. His choice is to accept what the Church teaches. I know that's hard because I had to do that myself. But I couldn't read the Bible and not know that homosexuality is a sin. In some way, I had made it my own god and that's a violation of the First Commandment, to love God above all others. Again the issue is humility and obedience before God, which is always hard, but is made harder in a society where humility is a novel idea. The question that we all face is not unique to homosexuals. We all have some idol that separates us from God - money, success, career, food, drugs, sex, alcohol. Like I said above, what hurts is when homosexuals think that they alone are being asked to give up something, when everyone is asked to surrender himself to God. All the sages have shown that human happiness lies not in holding onto things, but in letting go of things.

Another thing is how Bishops are now taking Catholic politicians to task for supporting abortion. The change has been brewing since the early days of Pope John Paul II and has come to fruition under Benedict XVI.

I hope and pray that people can understand our position, and maybe even see that it's right. The Church and Jesus both love homosexuals, just like they love all sinners. And all are welcome, but all are called upon to repent, for their own sakes. I know I thank God every day that the Church was firm with me and only let me in communion once I had accepted all her teachings.

One other point to Mr. MilkMan, the Church sure does have a problem with you saying that you're a Catholic but not going to Mass every Sunday. You gave the impression that the Church has no message for you, just for this writer, and that's wrong. I mean it's your conscience to decide what you do, but I think you're falling into that same mistake that says that the Church just condemns active homosexuals while asking nothing of straight people like yourself. I don't want to seem like I'm condemning you, but I think you know too that the Church says that we're all supposed to go to Mass every week. When you ignore that in your post, you give the wrong impression that the Church only asks for repentance from homosexuals. Missing Mass with no good reason is a mortal sin, just as much as is homosexuality. The situation that you're in now is the same as this actively homosexual writer. You're both asked to go to confession before receiving communion, as am I for that matter. So yes, all are welcome... to come to confession.

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I think your the reason why I stopped going to mass. That and the whole scandal with the priests molesting kids. Your obviously a radical and ignorant of the world around you in your own way. I have a hard time accepting everything the church states as fact, just because a group of guys in robes told me it was so when they are fallable as well. Ive had my own connection with god, or what I feel is his presence, and I had the impression that he would be fine with homosexuals and would condemn child molesters. Instead our church protected molesters and kicked out homosexuals, thats the opposite of what I feel is right.

Before you run around saying who does know, and doesnt know what about the church I should let you know that I went to Catholic school for my whole pre college education and had also been activly involved in teaching confirmation for a number of years as well. I was an alter boy for a very long time, and even a eucharistic minister. I had met Cardinal Law, and other high level priests from the Vatican on more then one occasion, and am quite familiar with church history. I had my own crisis of faith shortly after the implosion over the church molesting scandal and havent found my way back (I was never molested, I just couldnt believe all these people I thought were so good could let that happen and cover it up, it shook me to my core.)

I feel that the church doesnt like homosexuality because it affects birth rates, as gay people do not procreate naturally. Thats why the church also frowns on birth control, and safe sex. Thats not a good reason to condemn a class of people. I agree with the church that marriage is a good thing and lends to stability. Thats why I agree with gay marriage, as I think it will lend stability to the lives of gay people as well, and they can raise kids just like everyone else. Sure in an ideal world a kid would have a mom and a dad, because I feel women and men have different perspectives on life, but we dont live in an ideal world. We barely even live in a good world, so when two people who love each other find each other whats wrong with that? Even more whats wrong with those two people showing parental love to children? I cant imagine Jesus turning a gay family away from the gates of heaven. There is no clear cut definitive word in the bible that says "gays not allowed". Good luck with being a zealot, looks like its working wonders for you.

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Can I just start by asking why all the personal insults towards me? I insulted no one, and nothing I said about homosexuality excluded myself. Please, I don’t want to get into a net fight.

I only came back to the Church after the abuse scandals. I was away from the Church for over thirty years while I lived as a gay man. So I missed the visceral gut level reaction of being in the Church during the worst of the abuse scandals. I can only imagine what that was like, especially in Boston. I got a whiff of it recently when I read some old stories about this priest in my own diocese of Arlington, VA. This story mentioned the Bishop and some priests that are still there. It really did shake me, even though it turned out that the story I read on the net was not factual. For a while I felt like I make all these sacrifices for my faith while these leaders are living lives of hypocrisy. Luckily like I said, it turned out that what I read wasn’t right, but based on this little experience I can only imagine what you guys went through while I was outside of the Church doing my own thing.

I really don’t know where to start other than to say to pray, to talk to a good solid priest and to have some faith and pray. It seems that you have a lot of problems with some particulars of the faith – homosexuality, birth control, etc. – but that the core problem is lack of faith in the Church itself. Like I said, I can’t imagine how the abuse scandals would have affected my faith. In some way, I was lucky by being a heathen at the time. Maybe my faith will get tested like this in some way. I hope that I can come out of it solid.

I really am writing this to offer some help to someone who must be a good Christian and Catholic or else you wouldn’t have done all the work for the Church that you talked about. I can really only tell my story. I am telling you this in the hope that even though we have very little in common as far as where we started from, that it will help you come back to the Church.

I lived my life totally on my own, without God or the Church since I was about 15. I came out as gay when I was 18 and lived that way till earlier this year. I was as out and open about my homosexuality as anyone. I was proud of it, and never hid it from anyone. I didn’t see any moral problems with it and didn’t believe that anyone could have a problem with it. But, I did see a lot in gay life that was deeply troubling, but I always wrote that off to problems that society put onto gay people, not to homosexuality in itself. I really don’t want to go into what I saw – and still see – in gay life, but I’ll say again that gay people will not tell a straight person what it’s really like. Trust me on that one, gay life is not what the media and activists describe; it’s much worse. Setting that aside, I felt the call to come back to the Church late last year. I guess it had been there in a small way for a while but it became something real through reading Dante’s Purgatorio and Paradiso. That lead to reading Aquinas, Augustine, Boethius, and the Bible. I wanted to go to Mass but I knew that my own homosexuality was a problem. On one hand, I didn’t think there was anything wrong with homosexuality, yet I couldn’t get around what I know the Church teaches and what the Bible says. So I went to daily Mass without communion for a few months. I prayed on this, asking God for direction. I really didn’t talk to too many people, and only one priest. I also came across Divine Mercy, which I think worked on my soul more than I know. I also believe that my great Aunt is in heaven praying for me. I felt her presence during Divine Mercy several times and broke down and cried.

As I said before, after some thought, I realized that my own homosexuality for me had become like a god, and I asked myself which I loved more, homosexuality or God? It seemed to me no different from any other person outside the Church who has made their career their god, or money, or fame, food, alcohol or drugs.

I don’t know what your crisis of faith was, but I know I went through a crisis of faith when I came back to the Church. But it was a crisis that involved me stepping out of the life I’ve known into the unknown. After a lot of prayer, I decided to go to confession and confessed to over thirty years of sin, including my homosexual sins. This was very hard. That night I cried for about an hour while praying the rosary several times. But that passed, and I was able to go to communion with a clean conscience. Looking back, this was the change in me. Though I had been going to Mass every day for several months, it was confession and communion that changed everything. Slowly I began to understand what the Church teaches on homosexuality. But I got this I think only by being humble and listening to what the Church teaches even if I didn’t understand it just yet. With that little bit of faith, the rest came in its own time.

When I read your response, what I heard was a person who had been hurt really badly by the abuse scandals and whose faith was really shaken. I don’t know what that’s like. I moved in the other direction through a crisis of faith that was no less unsettling. But I do believe that your faith is still there in God, just not in his Church. I’m not a theologian, but I have learned through my own experience that the Church really is the Body of Christ on earth. Jesus really became incarnate on earth with a human body, and he’s still here in the Church. It’s really not a bunch of old men in robes talking. Through them, as fallible as they are, and through the Bible, and through the saints and Church Fathers, we have true teaching. I don’t know what I or anyone can say to you to get you back into the Church. Maybe it will take some time. What the Church teaches on homosexuality is not about power, or birth rates, or anything like that. It’s about what’s good for us as people. The same is true for birth control.

I know this is hard for you with your experience with the abuse scandals. The people of the Church let you down, and I’m not sure how I’d handle that myself. I really don’t know but I know I would be devastated and it would probably shake my faith too. We are coming at this from two different directions. But my life has been healed by the grace of God through the Church. I love the Church as much as I love Jesus because she is the body of Christ. I really hope that with prayer and yes, with humility before the body of Christ, that you can come back to the Church. Really, I’ll be praying for you. Maybe just as a suggestion you could talk to a priest, but may I suggest someone who represents the whole teaching of the Church.

Peace in Christ

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The bishops you mention are just like the rest of them, picking and choosing what they want to take out of the Bible and leaving the rest behind.

Another thing is how Bishops are now taking Catholic politicians to task for supporting abortion. The change has been brewing since the early days of Pope John Paul II and has come to fruition under Benedict XVI.

So where are the bishops out there who should be taking Catholic politicians to task for supporting war? Nowhere, because calling out Democratic Catholic politicians is principally a political position, not a religious one. Pope John Paul II called the war in Iraq "defeat for humanity which could not be morally or legally justified." But where is the church on that now? Hobnobbing with the architects of preemptive war, because that's where the money is. What have our Bishops said lately about Guantanamo? I think you'll find the least of my brothers down there these days... But the official position is mumble mumble torture mumble Hey, look over there! A homosexual!

So-called Sacred Tradition browses at the Bible like it's a salad bar. Sodom and Gomorrah? We'll take that, with a sprinkle of Leviticus. The things that Jesus actually said about helping the poor and infirm? Nah. That's bad politics. Poor people don't buy us fancy gold stuff.

Don't get me wrong - I'm glad your faith is bringing you some solace (for these last few months, except for those slip-ups) - but you could probably find solace without swallowing a lot of bull from old men pretending to be God. Believing that every word the man at the pulpit says is the word of God is another form of idolatry.

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You're right that both Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI have opposed America's involvement in Iraq. So there's no need to cite all the times they've spoken out against that.

But what you say about comparing abortion on one hand with the Iraq war, torture and social justice is very wrong. First, the US Bishops have spoken up quite a bit about all these issues. On torture, see Torture is a Moral Issue: A Catholic Study Guide, or Reject Torture. The Bishops spoke out just the other week againt the Government's crack down on illegal immigration in Worksite Enforcement Raids. On the need for complete immigration reform see Bishops on Immigration.

So the American Bishops have been and continue to be outspoken in criticizing torture, the Iraq war and defending the dignity of immigrants. But there is a very important difference between these issues and the issue of abortion, and this is why recently the Bishops are beginning to deny communion to politicians who support abortion.

Abortion is always wrong. No circumstance can justify the taking of an innocent life. This is right out of the Ten Commandments, "Thou shall not murder." Under no circumstances can abortion be allowed. However, war is not in the same category because a defensive war is allowed. Some wars are moral while some are not. The Church in the form of two popes and the US Bishops have condemned the Iraq war, but not the Afghan war. But that position, while pastoral and having a seriousness worthy of attention, is not an infallible teaching of the Church. In other words, they could be wrong about their position on Iraq and Afghanistan. Some could argue that the Iraq was was self-defense. The popes and Bishops argue otherwise, but some could argue that the Iraq war was in self-defense. There is a small amount of uncertainty there, even while at the same time the Church opposes the war. The Church does not oppose the war in Afghanistan on the grounds that it is self-defense. That position could also be wrong, though the Church does not believe it to be so. Some could argue that the US could defend itself from al-Qaida without the war in Afghanistan, or that this war causes more harm then it prevents.

Christians are always called upon to protect the poor, but that command can be followed in many different ways. There can be no clear teaching on what is the best way to deal with poverty and immigration. Some could say that our obligation to the poor is met through allowing open borders to all. Others could say that our obligation is met by kicking all illegal immigrants out while at the same time promoting free trade to improve the economies of the home countries of the immigrants. The Bishops have their pastoral positions on these issues. The moral situation involving immigration is not so unclear that no position can be taken. But it's not so clear cut that there is no room for error.

Abortion is different from all these other issues. Abortion is always wrong, and there is no excuse to lessen it. That is why the Bishops are slowly beginning to deny Church communion to those politicians who support it. This is long overdue.

This is not "cherry picking" the Bible. You know, I really don't want to get into a net fight. I'm only pointing these things out to show that the Bishops are not silent on torture, war and poverty, while at the same time showing that the Church believes that abortion is in a different class because it is always wrong. You're free to disagree with this, but you can't say that the Church does nothing about torture, war or poverty.

You say that the Bishops "mumble" things about the poor, but only take action against homosexuals. Well, there is a big difference in what the Bishops can do in the real world. They don't have direct influence over the causes of poverty other than moral force. And they use this moral force as much as they can. If the world doesn't listen, if the media doesn't report it, that's not the fault of the Church. Quietly the Church is working around the world for the poor. My own parish supports a Nicaraguan nun who has an orphanage for kids who lost their whole families in natural disasters. And Catholic Charities run all sort of food banks and homeless shelters in all diocese across the US. It hurts a lot and is so untrue when you say that the Church does nothing to help the poor. But the Church's influence is limited though.

On the other hand, the Church has total control of a situation like where this gay writer represented the Church at the same time he was in opposition to her teachings. The Church had to take action because this guy was working for the Church.

What you seem to be arguing for is that the Bishops deny communion and remove from active participation all who support the Iraq war or don't do enough to help the poor. As I explained above, these situations are not so clear cut as to who is right and who is wrong. It's the Church's position that the Iraq war is wrong, and that the recent immigration raids are wrong. But these specific positions are not part of the infallible teaching of the Church, in other words the faithful should listen to them, but the Church can't deny communion to those who disagree. Abortion is clearly against the two-thousand year teaching of the Church, so there is no lack of clarity here. Homosexuality has been seen as a sin from the time of the Apostles and Church Fathers. There has been no lack of clarity on this teaching till the last twenty years or so. And to the extent that the Church decides who is in communion with the Church, where there is a clear cut break with the Church, that person will be asked to repent before coming to communion.

I do resent the snide tone taken against me, snide comments about how I still slip up in my life. What was I supposed to say? That I'm perfect? I may not be perfect, but I care and I take a stand, and I've put my beliefs into practice and have given up a lot (though only something that is a sin) to be in the Church.

Your post is filled with hatred and that my friend I can't do anything about. When I hear this sort of bile, I'm reminded of Archbishop Sheen who met a seminarian after class who was irate about "how the Church has all this money" while there is still poverty in the world. Archbishop Sheen asked the guy, "How much money did you steal from the collection?" The man said nothing, so Sheen repeated it, "How much did you steal?" The man admitted that he had stolen money from the Church. When I hear this sort of blind and inaccurate criticism of the Church, I wonder what the real problem is? I'm also reminded of the saying "The man who says that the Church is out of date and is hopelessly corrupt really means to say, 'I'm sleeping with my best friend's wife.'"

The Church is not a bunch of old men pretending to be God. The Church is the body of Christ here on earth, and as Jesus said in Matthew 28:20, "I am with you always, even to the end of the age" and as St. Paul said in his first letter to Timothy, the Church is "the pillar and bulwark of the truth."

While you complain about the Church cherry picking beliefs you in turn told me that I should cherry pick what Church teachings I accept. Well there's a word for that and its called Protestantism, where every person is their own pope. And I've seen what happens when a group of Christians decide to accept abortion, divorce, and homosexuality - that group withers. Look at the Episcopal community. It's dying out in America and England, while the parts of it that have the faith are growing in Africa. Here in DC we have the National Cathedral, a place that liberals love. It accepts abortion, divorce and homosexuality. And it's empty of people and just about bankrupt. They've had to shut the lights off at night because they can't afford the electric bill. I had to attend a service there last week and there were only SIX people there, in a place that seats over three thousand! Many people will cheer their stances on aborion and homosexuality, but they won't get off the couch and come there to worship. That same day, in my little parish at the very early hour of 6:30 AM there were over seventy people at Mass. When the teaching is real, the people will come out. When the Spirit leaves, so do the people. That same Spirit is what saved me and what sustains me. It cannot be edited and constrained to fit this Dark Age that we now live in.

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The only dark age I see around here is the one in your mind. I feel for you.

You say some interesting things, not all true. I encourage you to educate yourself about the history of Catholicism. In fact, abortion has not always been considered an ipso facto sin in Catholicism - much less the easy out you describe it to be in church teachings today.

I'm sure you've heard of a fellow called Augustine. You might even have read his writings. They call him a saint these days. Well, Augustine condemned abortion as hiding the proof of adultery, not as destruction of a fetus. I quote: "But who is not rather disposed to think that unformed fetuses perish like seeds which have not fructified." (De nuptiis et concupiscentia) Following Augustine, abortion was a sin requiring penance only if the purpose was to conceal fornication or adultery - which were much graver sins.

The recognition, within the Catholic Church, of a difference between a fetus and a born human has a long history. In 1140, when Gratian compiled the first authoritative collection of canon law, the canon Aliquando stated that abortion was homicide only when the fetus was formed. If the fetus was not yet a formed human being, abortion was not homicide. All the way through Thomas Aquinas, and up to the nineteenth century, church teaching was that abortion, although sinful, was not murderous until the fetus was fully formed. Except for three years in the 16th century, the doctrine that abortion is always murder was not church teaching until 1869, when Pope Pius IX set excommunication as penalty for abortion.

If you think about it, you will notice that the Catholic church did not consider abortion to be murder for longer than it has considered abortion to be murder. The absolute condemnation of abortion is a recent historical development in Catholicism, and it's a pretty good bet that it will go away again someday, perhaps within your lifetime.

The reason for that is the real difference between the topic of abortion versus poverty, war, etc.: the rule was a historical creation of men, eons after the creation of the Bible and the life of Jesus, and has nothing whatsoever to do with the teachings of Christ.

Again, I wish you well and hope you find the solace you seek. I also hope you don't throw out the baby with the bathwater. There's no need to intentionally blind yourself to history and reason, because they're really not incompatible with faith - just with gullibility.

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What exactly are you arguing in support of? Are you supporting abortion? Are you saying that the Bishops should deny communion to anyone who they (or you) think doesn't live up to the command to support the poor? Or are you saying that the Bishops and Church should do nothing at all? That they should allow every and anyone sort of behavior in the Church? Should the Bishops take all Church teaching and deny communion to everyone who isn't perfect?

If your point is true (which it isn't) that the Church has changed what it teaches on abortion, what then is the conclusion to be drawn? Do we then question all Church teaching so much that its reduced to impotence? I'm really not sure what exactly you want the Church to do.

As for what the Church's historical position on abortion, I'd start with the Didache, written circa 100 AD, "...you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is begotten."

What you're re-hashing here is the mess that Nancy Pelosi got herself into back in August when she claimed that the Church has many positions on abortion. She also cites Augustine. Many US Bishops stepped up to explain the Church's teaching, so there's no need for me to re-write that. I'll just show one section here and link to the Bishops themselves.

From Bishop Chaput of Denver,

"Since Speaker Pelosi has, in her words, studied the issue "for a long time," she must know very well one of the premier works on the subject, Jesuit John Connery's "Abortion: The Development of the Roman Catholic Perspective" (Loyola, 1977). Here's how Connery concludes his study:

"The Christian tradition from the earliest days reveals a firm antiabortion attitude. ... [u]The condemnation of abortion did not depend on and was not limited in any way by theories regarding the time of fetal animation. Even during the many centuries when Church penal and penitential practice was based on the theory of delayed animation, the condemnation of abortion was never affected by it.[/u] Whatever one would want to hold about the time of animation, or when the fetus became a human being in the strict sense of the term, abortion from the time of conception was considered wrong, and the time of animation was never looked on as a moral dividing line between permissible and impermissible abortion."

"Or to put it in the blunter words of the great Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer: "Destruction of the embryo in the mother's womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed on this nascent life. To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And that is nothing but murder."

From the Bishops as a whole comes this.

St. Jerome (circa 400 AD) said, "You may see many women widows before wedded, who try to conceal their miserable fall by a lying garb. Unless they are betrayed by swelling wombs or by the crying of their infants, they walk abroad with tripping feet and heads in the air. Some go so far as to take potions, that they may insure barrenness, and thus murder human beings almost before their conception. Some, when they find themselves with child through their sin, use drugs to procure abortion, and when (as often happens) they die with their offspring, they enter the lower world laden with the guilt not only of adultery against Christ but also of suicide and child murder.
- Epistula 22

Athenagoras (d.177) wrote, "What reason would we have to [u]commit murder when we say that women who induce abortions are murderers,[/u] and will have to give account of it to God? For the same person would not regard the fetus in the womb as a living thing and therefore and object of God's care [and then kill it]….But we are altogether consistent in our conduct. We obey reason and do not override it.
From: Legatio 35

And: "How, then, when we do not even look on, lest we should contract guilt and pollution, can we put people to death? And when we say that [u]those women who use drugs to bring on abortion commit murder[/u], and will have to give an account to God s for the abortion, on what principle should we commit murder? For it does not belong to the same person to regard [u]the very foetus in the womb as a created being, and therefore an object of God's care,[/u] and when it has passed into life, to kill it; and not to expose an infant, because those who expose them are chargeable with child-murder, and on the other hand, when it has been reared to destroy it. But we are in all things always alike and the same, submitting ourselves to reason, and not ruling over it."
From: A Plea for the Christians 35.4

St. Basil (circa 350 AD) denies the difference between the "formed" and "unformed" fetus:
"To Anfilochius, Bishop of Iconia:

"[u]She who has intentionally destroyed [the fetus] is subject to the penalty corresponding to a homicide. For us, there is no scrutinizing between the formed and unformed [fetus][/u]; here truly justice is made not only for the unborn but also with reference to the person who is attentive only to himself/herself since so many women generally die for this very reason."
From: First Letter 2

St. Augustine says that even the "unformed" fetus is alive and will become a full human being after the resurrection:

"Hence in the first place arises a question about abortive conceptions, which have indeed been born in the mother's womb, but not so born that they could be born again. For if we shall decide that these are to rise again, we cannot object to any conclusion that may be drawn in regard to those which are fully formed. Now who is there that is not rather disposed to think that unformed abortions perish, like seeds that have never fructified? But who will dare to deny, though he may not dare to affirm, that [u]at the resurrection every defect in the form shall be supplied, and that thus the perfection which time would have brought shall not be wanting,[/u] any more than the blemishes which time did bring shall be present: [u]so that the nature shall neither want anything suitable and in harmony with it that length of days would have added, nor be debased by the presence of anything of an opposite kind that length of days has added; but that what is not yet complete shall be completed, just as what has been injured shall be renewed.[/u]
From: Enchiridion 23.85.4

St. John Chrysostom (circa 390 AD)wrote:

"Why sow where the ground makes it its care to destroy the fruit? where there are many efforts at [u]abortion? where there is murder before the birth?[/u] for even the harlot thou dost not let continue a mere harlot, but makest her a murderer also. You see how drunkenness leads to whoredom, whoredom to adultery, adultery to murder; or rather something even worse than murder. For I have no name to give it, since it does not take off the thing born, but prevents its being born. Why then dost thou abuse the gift of God, and fight with His laws, and follow after what is a curse as if a blessing, and make the chamber of procreation a chamber for murder, and arm the woman that was given for childbearing unto slaughter? For with a view to drawing more money by being agreeable and an object of longing to her lovers, even this she is not backward to do, so heaping upon thy head a great pile of fire. For even if the daring deed be hers, yet the causing of it is thine. Hence too come idolatries, since many, with a view to become acceptable, devise incantations, and libations, and love potions, and countless other plans. Yet still after such great unseemliness, after slaughters, after idolatries, the thing [fornication] seems to belong to things indifferent, aye, and to many that have wives, too.
From: Homily 24 on Romans

When you cite Pius IX on abortion, what he's doing there is affirming a teaching that has been present all along, not creating a new teaching. This is what popes do in encyclicals. For example, Pope Pius XII proclaimed the Assumption of Mary only in 1950. But the Assumption of Mary had been a teaching of the Church since antiquity. You can go into any art museums and see paintings of the Assumption going back to the Middle Ages. The Orthodox Church has always believed in the Assumption, though they call it the Dormition. Another example is when after the Council of Trent, the Church listed all of the books that were part of the Bible. The Bible always had the same number of books; Trent didn't add or take any out. But the Church felt the need to act because during the Protestant revolt many people were questioning what books were part of the Bible. So when Pope Pius IX teaches about abortion he's affirming and explaining Church teaching, not creating a new one.

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It's great that the Church provides pamphlets you can transcribe. They've got lots of smart folks there who can rewrite history pretty convincingly, certainly enough for an obviously smart fellow like you to be sastisfied with it. And there's a couple thousand years of active debate to cherry-pick from. Given time, they could even make a case that the Catholic Church has always supported heliocentrism, or has always accepted iconography as non-idolatrous.

However, it's hard to get around the simple fact that excommunication wasn't the penalty for abortion until Pius IX made it so. And it's very peculiar that the first document you cite, the Didache, wasn't first published and embraced by the church until after that canonical change. Until that it was just one of many uncertain and lost apocrypha. Embracing the Didache was one of many convenient reinterpretations of history.

It's hard to get around the words of the Bible itself, which differentiate between the value of adults and of fetuses (Exodus 22 "If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she has a miscarriage but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman's husband demands and the court allows. 23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise."), and has priests actually performing abortions on fornicating women (Numbers 5:22, "May this water cause you to be barren and have a miscarrying womb "). In elevating abortion above other sins, Pius IX turned his back on the Bible itself. But that's a theological argument which has gone on for two eons, and it's not going to be resolved here.

Yes, some forms of abortion have always been seen as sins in Catholic and Christian traditions. The important thing is that there are many, many things that have always been seen as sins in Christian tradition. And, within the traditions of Catholicism, many, many other things were seen as far graver sins than abortion - for example, adultery and fornication, which perhaps a majority of Catholics now commit at some point in their lives. You have committed sins that were historically far worse than abortion, and yet you were welcomed back, not excommunicated. Why do you deserve mercy and they don't?

Opposing abortion is one thing. I oppose it. I think it's a desperate act that does damage to humanity and should be reduced and avoided. The difference is that I know that blathering about politicians who don't want to force desperate women into back alleys with coathangers is not something that reduces abortion or increases human dignity.

What exactly am I arguing in support of? No, I'm not supporting abortion, any more than politicans who don't want to throw doctors and desperate women in jail do. I think it's a terrible thing and should happen much less. The way we get it to happen much less is by supporting sex education and birth control, and by reducing poverty and desperation as well, in order to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. The truth is that Catholics and fundamentalists have abortions at the same rate as everybody else. Dogma, guilt, excommunication, and punishment don't really reduce the rate of abortion. It's just silly, counterproductive talk.

I'm arguing in support of seriousness and reason. It's really easy to go after women who have abortions, because no woman ever thinks she'll get one before she does. It's easy to go after homosexuals, because they're a small and identifiable group and you can chase them out (except for the ones behind the pulpit). What's harder is to actually reduce abortion, or to deal with the fact that some people are homosexual. The scandals of the past decades are a direct result of the Church's failure to seriously address the sexuality of the clergy, a failure which continues.

As it stands today, if a priest rapes a little girl, he may just be shuffled off to another parish. If the little girl has an abortion, however, she will be excommunicated, the worst penalty available. If a politician says the little girl should not go to jail for not bearing the rapist's child, he may be denied communion. This is a picture of a Church whose priorities are out of order. They've done some house-cleaning, but they haven't addressed the source of the mess.

As you ask, what then? Do we question all Church teaching? Yes. We do. So much that it's reduced to impotence? No, not that much. The Catholic clergy is a body of mostly intelligent, spiritually profound, and well-meaning men (and a few bad eggs). In general, you'd do well to talk to and listen to them. The more you do, the more you'll find diversity of opinion, experience, and belief within the Church. Sacrificing your own critical faculties would be going too far. Just as it's okay to doubt, it's okay to hope the Church will change and become better.

To go back to the matter that started this thread, Pomfret was obviously pushing it. He was looking for the limits and he found them. It's too bad, because he seems to have had something to offer fellow parishioners. However, I don't see that particular event as singling out of homosexuals. The church still lists the group on their web site (along with a support group for divorcees).

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You seem like a reasonable person, so I'll keep the noise level down.

First, I cannot accept that Numbers 5:22 is saying that the Jewish priest committed abortion. The "waters of bitternes" don't refer to the broken amniotic fluid. It seems to be that barrenness is a punishment for infidelity. To say that the Bible teaches abortion misses the whole point of the book, that God is for life, and abortion is death.

There has been no theological argument that abortion is a grave sin, even if there were difference in the punishments for that sin. I showed you a few of the many of the Church Fathers who called it murder. There are a lot more like that. None ever said that abortion wasn't a grave sin.

You ask why was I forgiven for my sins when women who have an abortion aren't? That's not true. A women who is was not a Catholic and who has had even multiple abortions can be absolved through confession once she becomes a Catholic. A Catholic woman can be absolved from her first abortion also through normal confession. However, if the same woman gets a second abortion, she can only be absolved through some sort of process involving an appeal to Rome, and some sort of hearing as to why she got a second abortion. My sins of homosexuality didn't result in the death of anyone. But abortion does. If a woman keeps having abortions, I guess the Church does not want her to keep on doing this, since it results in the death of the innocent.

The key part to all forgiveness is contrition. All are forgiven of all sins, not matter how grave, with contrition. There is no sin that the Church won't absolve with contrition. Even that second abortion can be forgiven after the higher authorities look into the situation. So please don't say that abortion is never forgiven.

As it stands now, abortion is not punished by excommunication. It's a mortal sin, just like many other things are.

Also, one thought about Pius IX. Up until the time of St. Pope Pius X around 1910 or so, the Church did not have one universal canon law. So when St. Pius IX made abortion punishable by excommunication, he wouldn't have been changing that for the entire Church, as it operated under many sets of canon law. The standardization of canon law was one of St. Puis X's greatest achievements. I don't know what all the other canon laws at the time did about abortion.

You say that birth control is a solution to abortion. Again, that's not what the Church teaches. A friend of mine is a pharmacist and he's told me that more forms of birth control are really abortions. The pill stops the fertilized egg from implanting, and is a form of abortion. But more to the point, it seems that it is birth control itself that leads to promiscuity, that leads to unwanted pregnancies and that leads to abortion. Birth control doesn't always work, but the feeling that it does work leads people to have sex outside of marriage. It's no coincidence that now that we have birth control, we also have high rates of pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and all the rest. This is what Pope Paul VI warned about in Humanae Vitae.

Yes, most Catholics don't follow the Church's teachings. But maybe that's because the hierarchy has been too lenient. It's no secret that they don't support Humanae Vitae. They have the same spirit of questioning that you do. And look where that spirit has lead to - more birth control, more premarital sex, more abortion and then to homosexuality.

The solution to unwanted pregnancies it not more of the same thing that got us into this mess. Contraception is all around us. You can get condoms at any 7-11. The solution is to start to teach self-restraint. We don't tell people who are fat to get the stomach-staple surgery, we tell them to control their appetites. We don't tell people who are alcoholics to learn to drink more responsibly. We tell them to stop drinking. The Church, at least in America, has not ever tried to teach abstinence. The clergy paid lip service to Humanae Vitae but never taught it.

Poverty does not cause abortion. Abortion is caused when a woman thinks that death for her child is better than the other choices. It's caused by a lack of morality, or a morality that doesn't value life. The same could be said for euthanasia. We could say that in poor countries, old people and the handicapped are a burden (and they are) on society. But that burden only gets turned into euthanasia when that society doesn't value life. No amount of poverty could get me to kill someone; that could only be caused by me not valuing life.

The same can be shown by the fact that rich and middle-class women get abortions too. The cause is not economic. It's the woman's priorities. The sad truth is that having a kid is a sacrifice, and people now don't want to sacrifice anything. It's all about the ego and instant gratification. That morality is the cause of abortion, not poverty.

And you're also confusing Church teaching with the conduct of the clergy. One, a girl getting an abortion is not excommunicated. And two, to protect a child abusing priest is not Church teaching. It's a mistake that goes against Church teaching. Those are two different situations.

It's that same culture that tolerates sin that lead to the priestly scandals. The fact is that the abuse was done by homosexuals men against young boys. This is not a scandal of sexuality in general. The majority of priests are heterosexual but the scandal did not involve those priests having sex with women, or with little girts for that matter. The scandal involved homosexual priest with young boys. And this gets to my other point that says that homosexuality and heterosexuality are not interchangeable. But starting some time ago, too many men were let into the priesthood who were homosexuals. Maybe their superiors thought - just like a lot on here seem to - that there is no real difference between straight and gay, and that celibacy is celibacy. It didn't turn out that way. Look, I lived as a gay man, and I know all kinds of gay men. This abuse scandal is just the kind of thing that homosexuality produces. The problem isn't the rigid standard of the Church. The problem is that the hierarchy didn't follow the teaching of the Church and let in too many gay men. The Church is not picking on homosexuals now.

I will say it again. Homosexuality is not good for the people who practice it. I've got a lot of friends who are still in it, and I see what it does to them.

Your faith in the clergy deserves to be shaken. But what you're advocating is more of the same thing that caused this situation in the first place. Confusion on teaching leads to promiscuity, which leads to unwanted pregnancies and abortion. Confusion on teaching leads to equating homosexuality with heterosexuality, which leads to the abuse scandal.

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In Numbers 5:22, the Jewish priest gives a bitter potion to the woman suspected of adultery. This sin is not visible to anybody but God, and so he leaves it to God to show that she committed adultery by making her go barren and have a miscarriage, or to show she didn’t by letting her be ok. It’s like the witch trial in Monty Python. The Bible doesn’t teach abortion. It does, however, show that it has been common for millennia, and that it was considered a far lesser sin than hurting a born human or straying from one’s marriage.

Now, however, it’s considered a far graver sin. As you say, a woman who has two abortions (following the Wilde rule, the first might be an accident, but the second looks an awful lot like carelessness) needs an investigation by Rome to see if she can be allowed back into the faith. A person who commits fornication, adultery, rape, robbery, or perhaps even murder a second time doesn’t need this.

As you correctly note, the birth control pill prevents implantation of the fertilized ovum in the wall of the uterus. But there are forms of birth control that work through preventing conception itself. There are even forms of sex that prevent conception. The most important way to prevent unwanted conception, however, is education. The theory that education and birth control cause unwanted pregnancies, and therefore teens should be kept ignorant, is bizarre and backwards. We’re not in a dark age right now; the fact is that there is a 20-year decline in abortion rates, thanks mostly to greater access to birth control and more sex ed in schools. What you propose is to reverse that decline. That’s right – the policies you advocate, by undoing the gains of the past 20 years, would increase the rate of abortion. Is that what you want? Why do you love abortion so much?

Where has the spirit of questioning lead? To clergy abuse? No. That was achieved through blind submission to the clergy. The kids who got abused were told again and again that they must shut up and submit to the clergy, despite what they thought or felt. The result was that the bad eggs among the clergy were able to abuse the children. The children didn’t get abused because they were questioning the clergy, but because they weren’t. And it was boys who got abused because it was boys who were left alone with the priests. It wasn’t until the 80s that altar girls were allowed. Abuse was a scandal of the Church’s conflicted stance on sexuality as well as its harmful position on human fallibility. The clergy are fallible, because they are human, and even children should know that. You shouldn’t believe everything they say, and you shouldn’t do everything they say, because sometimes they’re wrong.

There wasn’t a sudden influx of gays into the clergy, resulting in this abuse. Lots of clergy have always been gay and are still gay. In many families, it’s an easier out to go to seminary than to admit you’re queer. Today’s gay priests are just better at hiding it than the ones who got found out. Your priest might be gay, and you will likely never know ... except in a bad situation. That’s not necessarily a good thing, as clandestine sex isn’t healthier.

The problem wasn't gay priests, it was sick, conflicted, self-denying men with secret compulsions in a position that gave them almost absolute power over children. Gene Robinson isn’t more likely to molest your child because he’s publicly in a committed relationship with a man, he’s less likely. Letting gay Catholic priests be open about it would reduce the chance of them doing harm as well.

It seems to me like you know a lot of bad gay men, and have perhaps done some bad things. That’s a pity, and I hope you find absolution. I’m sure I’ve met some people like that, but I probably stayed away from them. I have gay friends, and none of my gay friends are bad people who do sordid things. My gay friends are all good citizens, good spouses, and good parents (yes, all of them are married, with children – are you horrified?) Oh, and none of them are Catholic, which is not their loss but the loss of the Church.

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While I agree with you, thankyou for taking the time to match him point for point I couldnt handle it without getting mad, letting priests be openly gay would have to follow allowing priests of all sorts to officially have sexual relationships which is currently forbidden. I think priests should be able to get married, it would allow more priests to join the clergy.

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I'd really like to continue this talk directly by e-mail off of this place. It's hard for me to remain composed when I get personal attacks by others.

My e-mail is [email protected]

I actually had dinner with a young priest friend of mine tonight and asked him some of the same questions that you brought up. I also realized through talking to him that I had made some mistakes, based on not remembering things that he's said to me before.


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To sum up,

1.)The Church has always been against murder.

2.)Abortion has always been seen as a sin, while there was some disagreement as to when the soul enters the body. Some Church Fathers differentiated between a time when the fetus has no soul, while other did not.

3.)The Church, basing its reasoning on the existing science taught that human life began at a certain point after conception. But it always used science to determine when human life began, and from that taught when abortion is a form of murder, i.e., when human life began.

4.)Even noting this distinction, abortion was always a sin, and many believed that it was always murder, as shown by quotes from many Church fathers.

5.)With the development of science, the Church teaches that human life begins at conception. The theology has not changed; the Church has always taught that taking a human life is murder. Science made it more clear when that human life begins.

6.) The moral teaching of the Church has been consistent that abortion is a sin and that the taking of an innocent human life is murder.

From The Linacre Center:
"Early Church law (as shown, for example, by Hippolytus, Basil and the councils of Elvira and Ancyra) was severe and gave the same penalties for abortion as for homicide. Over the following centuries these penalties were gradually lessened and, in the context of confession, distinctions were made between abortion and murder, and between early and late abortion. While some medieval canonists argued that early abortion was not homicide, strictly speaking, the same canonists also argued that early abortion was very close to homicide: a sin against God and against nature."

"However, the inviolability of unborn life at every stage has been a constant feature of the Western Christian tradition. This was so even for those medieval theologians who held that God infuses the rational soul at some point after conception."

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As an open, self-respecting, "regular" gay guy, I am so, SO tired of hearing twisted lectures from the likes of you and all the deluded, shame-filled homos who run the RC church. Speaking only for myself: Piss off.

And try to keep your closing blather to 25 words or less, will you? Jesus, Mary...

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I know my story short-circuits "gay" propaganda, but yet here I am. I was as out and open in the gay life as anyone, maybe more. I formed a gay group in college, wrote newspaper articles, have done both radio and TV, and never hid my homosexuality. Yet here I am, having walked away from it.

Since that time, I've been more attacked for leaving homosexuality than I ever was for preaching it. I've been insulted, threatened and told that I'm a liar. I've been accused of never having been gay, or been a closet case, or that I'm really a straight guy pretending to have a gay past. I've been accused of being mentally ill and of having "denied the health benefits of elderly lesbians." (on another blog, I know, I don't get what that means either.)

And all of this from people who claim to want tolerance and the right to exist.

Question, do I have the right to tell my story?

What really seems to bother the "gay" activists is that someone who knows all the lines and who knows all their arguments has left it all behind. And there are a lot more people who have grown sick of the homosexual world, not through prejudice but through experience.

What never has happened is a rational reply. Instead I get insults and name-calling. I guess it does bother me, and I still am surprised by it.

St. Paul saw the same thing almost two-thousand years ago, and wrote about it in Romans 1:27-31.

Question, exactly how am I shame-filled if I was out to everyone, and have done TV and radio? There's not a single person I've known in the past thirty years who didn't know I was gay. So how am I "shame-filled" or "closeted?"

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Since that time, I've been more attacked for leaving homosexuality than I ever was for preaching it.

Sexuality is not a religion and homosexuality and heterosexuality are not denominations(yelling "oh Gaawwwd" doesn't count). You make it sound like a theologic difference rather than an inexplicable preference.

I mean, I know how I like to spend my Sunday mornings, but geesh.

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I'm sorry to head that your life as a homosexual was filled with all sorts of other heathen activities, but thats not the way every gay person lives. If you are in fact telling the truth, I still doubt it but Im giving you the benefit of the doubt, then you are using your past "bad behavior" as an excuse to condemn all gay people. I have some very good friends and some family members who are gay and none of them are any crazier then the straight people I associate with. Anyone whos read my comments know that I am a conservative person in action (liberal in politics) and that translates to who I associate with as well. MY gay friends are all pretty "normal" people, some are bachelors (and probaly sleep around a bit, whatever I have straight friends who do that too), some are in committed relationships, and some are even married with kids. In my opinion their is a difference between the gay world of sex filled warehouses and gay people in the "real" world, and you cant seem to seperate the two.

And there are a lot more people who have grown sick of the homosexual world, not through prejudice but through experience.

The lesbian couple I know with two kids really dont seem to have "tired" of living as lesbians. They have a great family, and well behaved children. Ive looked around their house for whips, and torture dungeons but havent found anything yet...

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I'm guessing it's pretty hard once you've got one of your hands nailed to the cross to get the other one attached on all by yourself.

Nobody here is persecuting you. Most people you meet probably aren't persecuting you. What you have to say about your own life and the choices you've made and your ability to squelch whatever desires and lifestyle you used to have in order to attend to a new way of life is nobody's decision but your own. Unfortunately, you then choose to prescribe that for everyone else. You tell people that you'll pray for them and want them to come around to God just like you did. That you were able to step away from your homosexuality of your past and therefore they should also. People don't want to follow in your footsteps and there's other studies suggesting that all you are doing is repressing your true nature in order to fit in with Catholicism (still utterly your choice).

Regardless, don't foist your crap on other people. You'll get a lot of blowback and even worse, you'll call that persecution. And that's what it's not. You are the one making the initiative to tell them how they're wrong and how you're a shining example of how they're still wrong and you've corrected yourself. You are invading their lifestyle, don't act like a wounded lamb when they tell you to piss off.

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To All,

Hey, I'm done here.

If someone wants to go around preaching that abortion is fine, that's their choice. There are many dying Protestant denominations that will welcome you. But don't expect that the Catholic Church will except this evil.

You can COPY all the reasonings you want from the so-called "Catholics for Choice" (to murder the unborn) but that doesn't mean that the Church ever condones abortion, as these dissidents claim.

Show me ONE place where the Church has not condemned abortion.

What you all are spreading is the doctrine of relativism, that we have no certainty, and therefor, all bets are off and anything goes. If it feels good, do it. Welcome to America in the Dark Ages then. How many millions of the unborn are dead? How many people lead into homosexuality only to die of AIDS? How many kids raised with only one parent? This is the result of such nonsense.

Your knowledge of the Bible is beyond rudimentary if you can claim that it supports abortion. You must be more wise than St. John Chrysostom, Athenagoras, etc., because they didn't see abortion in the Bible.

Explain EXACTLY how how that snippet about "water breaking" affirm that priests committed abortion. And then explain how no one noticed this until now. But again, we're so much smarter now then our stupid ancestors.

If you want to believe that up is down, and down is up... you're free, but you should tell this to your priest so that you can hear what the Church teaches.

As far as homosexuality goes, save your crocodile tears for someone else. You'll have to find someone who doesn't know what homosexual life is like before you can pawn off on me the BS about how gay people act like everyone else.

Remember, you've made your choice. You've decided to support abortion, deny the authority of the Church and enshrine homosexuality as something natural.

We've had thirty years of open homosexuality, and twenty of those has been spent dealing with AIDS. What's next? Another, even less treatable disease?

Homosexuals have a life expectancy in their mid-forties, have high rates of suicide, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, sex addictions, incest, sex with kids. The abuse in the Church was CAUSED by homosexuals. This is the kind of thing I saw for thirty years, and it's also how the Bible describes homosexuality. It's an evil thing. It's a lie. And its author is the father of all lies, a liar since the beginning.

So go ahead, defend murdering the unborn, live with no rules, reject the Bible, reject all that's normal and decent, all in the name of your sainted conscience.

I for one have walked away from such filth, and no matter how dark it seems, the Church will survive, as it always has.

But don't dare to call yourself Catholic. Unless you change what nonsense you're spreading, you'll be shown the door at some point just like that "Sodomite porn-writer."

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Homsexuals only live until their 40's??? Where did you get that outrageous statistic? I mean seriously, come on, thats just insane. The average lifespan of Americans is well into their 60's (at least) and your telling me the average homsexual kicks the bucket before they can even have a midlife crisis?

Your done here? Good, theres the door, show yourself out, and dont let the door hit yeah where the good lord split ya (cause I know how much you would enjoy that.)

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Medical report on the Life Expectancy of Homosexuals.

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A few months after the article was published, the authors of that article directly discussed and repudiated the abuse of their data in the way that you have done.

I didn't even have to search really hard to find that page. It was linked directly under the abstract that you linked to. Way to go.

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The cohort was enumerated and followed through 1992. It was also an urban subgroup.

Medications to control HIV infection came after that.

Nice try, lamer. Take your Center for Misinformation and Blame elsewhere.

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Not even going to waste my time googling, since I know the sensible people are all aware of these references and Our Neighborhood Closet Case is going to ignore them anyway, but just thought I'd mention how pretty much every mainstream medical, education, and social service professional organization holds an official statement that GLBTTPQAEIEIO people deserve full rights in terms of marriage, parenting, culturally competent and welcoming healthcare providers and schools, etc. Most of these also have ethical stances that it's harmful to try and convert GLBTetc. people to something they're not. This is of course all backed by scientifically sound research.

But I suppose that the discontexualized opinions of a couple of people outweigh all the research and positions of the vast majority of people whose job it is to work with people.


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I would never want to be a member of a group whose symbol was a guy nailed to two pieces of wood.
-- George Carlin

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There's no need to defame all of the followers of an entire religion. Focus on the people who use their religion to promote hatred -- there's a fine example right in front of you. And/or the people who refuse to acknowledge and deal with their Christian privilege. But don't attack everyone who follows this religion. Most of them don't believe the kind of bigoted bullshit that a few of them are spewing.


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I think your taking his Carlin quote a little bit too seriously lol.

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George thinks thought the crucifix was just a symbol. It wasn't. Jesus of Nazareth was crucified. Argue if you want about whether he was the son of God but either way the crucifix is more than just a symbol... and Jesus' death was more than just a story.

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Of course we'll never hear from "MarkF" again, since s/he registered only to troll this thread, is not and has never been the person s/he claimed to be, but is one of those sociopaths who spend their time intruding on discussion threads containing the words "gay" and "Catholic".

"I've been insulted, threatened and told that I'm a liar. I've been accused of never having been gay, or been a closet case, or that I'm really a straight guy pretending to have a gay past. I've been accused of being mentally ill..." Repeatedly? I rest my case -- such is the fate of the homophobic sockpuppet. Good riddance, tiresome troll.

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"...is not and has never been the person s/he claimed to be..."

This is what I mean. People who are still in the homosexual life refuse to believe that I was an out and open gay man for thirty years. Well I was.

I did: TV, radio, newspapers, ran a gay group, everyone knows I was gay, brought guys I knew to family events, helped closeted guys to come out. I wasn't just out, I was active in gay politics.

What does it say about his reasoning that he has to deny who I am, and where I've been? Maybe that he has no answer to what I say?

The other personal insult that another person dragged up was that I'm "closeted." I'll ask it again, how can I be closeted when I was the guy who pushed for people to come out for thirty years?

Oh well, chalk it up to the bad schools we have.

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I thought you were leaving.

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This discussion has been very enlightening, stimulating and thoughtful. One note that I think is missing here though is that the Church is really at it's best when it leads by example, when it promotes discussion, negotiation, and presents sound reasoned arguments and Holy Tradition and stays out of secular punishments. Where were the church officials when all the news was repeating the military mantra "Shock and Awe" when God actually calls it "blood and carnage of innocent civilians". The whole precision in language is lost when the church officials push specific secular laws that are never about love.

It seems to me, it is an unreasonable response to the sin of abortion to call the law a response to "killing babies" and to censure legislators. This is not a black and white issue as Mark presented. One important legal issue is who gets to decide when the mother's life is at risk--the mother and doctor or some bureaucrat? You can't just look these answers up in a Book. Christians are not Pharisees.

The second point I wanted to bring up is my firm belief that "honesty, transparency and purity-of-motive" trump all religious doctrine and indeed all scientific fact. These three things cut to the core of all knowledge. This might sound a little extreme, but hear me out because they are more than simply some nice ethical considerations. When a chemistry professor gets in front of a class to teach chemistry there is a transactional expectation of trust going on. The students are expecting that they are actually learning chemistry, or at least the truth about chemistry, as far as the professor understands it. But if he says: "First, I feel it is Ok to lie to you about chemistry whenever I think it is for your own good. Now...water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit at sea level." What are the students suppose to think about anything he says? The trust relationship, the faith in him is broken. This same trust relationship exists with anyone "teaching" the [Orthodox] Catholic Faith, about the doctrine of the Holy Trinity or anything else. Unfortunately, the Church has firmly embedded in its tradition a historical lack of honesty, transparency and purity-of-motive.

In justifying his principle of "Reservation" [It's Ok to lie to Christians], Cardinal John Henry Newman quotes early Church Father Clement of Alexandria and his principle of "Economy" [It's also Ok to lie to Christians] and Newman also threw in the Sophists in his defense who acted like lawyers:

"He both thinks and speaks the truth; except when careful treatment is necessary, and then as a physician for the good of his patients, he will lie, or rather utter a lie, as the Sophists say. . . . Nothing, however, but his neighbour’s good will lead him to do this. He gives himself up for the Church."

The result for himself was that after Cardinal Newman was buried with his "special-friendship partner" by his "emphatic irrevocable will/order" the Church Militant now is separating him from him and denying the future saint's "irrevocable demand". So much for honesty, transparency and purity of intention.

Faith and trust in the teaching of the Church is what brings people to the Church and keeps them there. I tend to think that the Orthodox Church may be even less honest, transparent and pure-in-motive than the Catholic Church on the issue of homosexuality. All the official websites for the Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox and the Coptic Orthodox as well contain public condemnations of homosexuals and cite Sodom and Gomorra as a main reason. I noticed that Mark referred to the "Sodomite porn-writer." Even if we assumed [for the sake of argument] that gays are condemned and all going to hell, we still would have to ask the question "Is this passage about Sodom the passage that does the actual condemning?" I don't understand how any human in the 21st century could come to that conclusion. The old testament describes the sins of sodom and homosexuality is not in the list. A straight reading of the story sounds like a cruel mob, to the last man, was intent on raping the men [angels] to humiliate them instead of fulfilling their obligation of hospitality to strangers. Lot saw that obligation trumping his duty to protect his own virgin daughters and scandalously offered them instead of the strangers. Honestly, this specific story does not condemn loving homosexual partners nor even casual trysts. It specifically condemns involuntary, sexual violence by males whether they are homosexual or straight who do this. There are two bars in my downtown area. The gay bar never has police and the straight bar almost always has police in front of it because of some ruckus.

In the bookstores of every city there are rows and rows of "Lies This" and "Lies That." Evil is done in the darkness and Good is done in the daylight. The Church needs to get out of the secular punishing business [and probably also the secular marriage business] and start standing up for honesty, transparency and purity-of-motive everywhere in society.

In Christ,
Father George

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