Catholics Care About Gays?: The Myth Debunked

This post by Christina Mead is reprinted from LifeTeen.com

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Did you know that the Catholic Church actually cares about those with same-sex attraction? I even feel confident saying that we love them a lot. I sincerely hope that no one has ever made you think otherwise because they were sorely misled and misinformed . . . and probably unhappy too because of this faulty way of thinking.

However, I’ve heard so many people attack what they think the Catholic Church is saying about homosexuality and gay marriage that I want to clear things up a bit.

Here’s what I (based on what the Catholic Church teaches) would say to these common questions (and accusations). Now I know that not everyone is going to agree, but I hope everyone can understand that the Church is always looking out for our souls and trying to help us get to heaven and become saints.

These teachings are hard to accept, but they come from love.

When is the Church going to come around and accept gay marriage?

Well . . . never. You see, the Church’s teachings and beliefs can’t ‘evolve’ like some other people’s can. God created the Sacrament of Marriage the way it is (between one man and one woman) for a reason and it’s not up to us to change what God has established, and which we know through Scripture and the Traditions of the Church.

Because men and women were created different and unique, they each bring something totally different and unique to a marriage. These differences are complementary and help to make a marriage healthy and holy — both for the couple and for the children.

Speaking of children, they’re a pretty big part of what marriage is all about. When a couple has sex inside of the Sacrament of Marriage, God made it to be for two purposes: babies and bonding — or in more official terms, procreation and unity. (That’s what naturally happens when a couple has sex, right?)

When one of those two components is taken away it degrades the nature of sex. A degradation of the nature of sex, something we do with our bodies, also degrades us as people. We are made of a body and soul and you cannot separate the two; what you do with your body matters to your soul.

If you willfully and purposefully take away the bonding nature of sex through an act of rape or sexual abuse — that violates the nature of sex, and violates the person.

If you willfully and purposefully take out the procreative aspect of sex by homosexual acts or contraception, it also violates the nature of sex and therefore violates the person. It goes against what God made sex for and what God made us for.

So you’re saying gay people can’t love each other?

No, that’s not what I’m saying. The Church says they can’t love each other as a man and woman united in Marriage can love each other. That does not mean they can’t have a deep friendship-type love.

True love means to will the good of the beloved.

What is the good of the beloved? It is to always act with our ultimate end in mind — eternal happiness in heaven. We have to look out for each other’s souls since we are all brothers and sisters.

Both heterosexual and homosexual people are called to live a life of virtue, a life of chastity, because we’re all called to be saints. Contrary to what many believe, the highest expression of love for someone is not to have sex with them (CCC 2359).

In a document from the Catholic Bishops about homosexuality, they say:

‘It would not be wise for persons with a homosexual inclination to seek friendship exclusively among persons with the same inclination. They should seek to form stable friendships among both homosexuals and heterosexuals . . . A homosexual person can have an abiding relationship with another homosexual without genital sexual expression. Indeed the deeper need of any human is for friendship rather than genital expression.’

You see, sex is supposed to mirror Christ’s love for us and be free, faithful, fruitful, and total — this is only possible in the Sacrament of Marriage. When the procreative side of sex is removed — like it is in homosexual sex — it has become reduced to pleasure and the couple is only using each other.

Is love merely use? No!

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Gay, Catholic, and Doing Fine

This post by Life Teen is reprinted from LifeTeen.com

Editor’s Note: This blog by Steve Gershom, a Catholic, gay, young man, was originally published on the blog, Little Catholic Bubble.

If you want to read more about the what the Catholic Church teaches about homosexuality and gay marriage, check out this blog that debunks some common misconceptions.

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I have heard a lot about how mean the Church is, and how bigoted, because she opposes gay marriage. How badly she misunderstands gay people, and how hostile she is towards us. My gut reaction to such things is: Are you freaking kidding me? Are we even talking about the same Church?

When I go to Confession, I sometimes mention the fact that I’m gay, to give the priest some context. (And to spare him some confusion: Did you say “locker room”? What were you doing in the women’s . . . oh.) I’ve always gotten one of two responses: either compassion, encouragement, and admiration, because the celibate life is difficult and profoundly counter-cultural; or nothing at all, not even a ripple, as if I had confessed eating too much on Thanksgiving.

Of the two responses, my ego prefers the first — who doesn’t like thinking of themselves as some kind of hero? — but the second might make more sense. Being gay doesn’t mean I’m special or extraordinary. It just means that my life is not always easy. (Surprise!) And as my friend J. said when I told him recently about my homosexuality, “I guess if it wasn’t that, it would have been something else.” Meaning that nobody lives without a burden of one kind or another. As Rabbi Abraham Heschel said: “The man who has not suffered, what can he possibly know, anyway?”

Where are all these bigoted Catholics I keep hearing about? When I told my family a year ago, not one of them responded with anything but love and understanding. Nobody acted like I had a disease. Nobody started treating me differently or looking at me funny. The same is true of every one of the Catholic friends that I’ve told. They love me for who I am.

Actually, the only time I get shock or disgust or disbelief, the only time I’ve noticed people treating me differently after I tell them, is when I tell someone who supports the gay lifestyle. Celibacy?! You must be some kind of freak.

Hooray for tolerance of different viewpoints. I’m grateful to gay activists for some things — making people more aware of the prevalence of homosexuality, making homophobia less socially acceptable — but they also make it more difficult for me to be understood, to be accepted for who I am and what I believe. If I want open-mindedness, acceptance, and understanding, I look to Catholics.

Is it hard to be gay and Catholic? Yes, because like everybody, I sometimes want things that are not good for me. The Church doesn’t let me have those things, not because she’s mean, but because she’s a good mother. If my son or daughter wanted to eat sand I’d tell them: that’s not what eating is for; it won’t nourish you; it will hurt you. Maybe my daughter has some kind of condition that makes her like sand better than food, but I still wouldn’t let her eat it. Actually, if she was young or stubborn enough, I might not be able to reason with her — I might just have to make a rule against eating sand. Even if she thought I was mean.

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5 Reasons You Need The Victory App

This post by Matt Fradd is reprinted from LifeTeen.com

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I could try to be more excited, but I’d be unsuccessful. The Victory app is here, and it’s going to wreak some serious damage on your—or someone you know’s—porn addiction.

What is the Victory app? It’s a new app that provides a strategic battle plan for victory in the struggle against pornography. Here are five of its features, which, are also five reasons you need to download it now.

1. One Day at a Time

Recovery from porn addiction isn’t something that happens to you, rather, it’s a series of daily — sometimes hourly — choices we make by our actions. The victory app reinforces this by allowing you to track your progress one day at a time. When you open the Victory app you’ll see a calendar displaying the month you’re in. At a quick glance you’ll see the days you had setbacks (indicated by grey squares), the days you experienced victory (indicated by white squares), and even the days you went to the Sacrament of Confession (indicated by green squares).

2. Daily Check-In’s

Morning, Noon, and Night, the Victory app notifies you to check-in. How are you doing – good, okay, bad? You can let the app know if you’ve had a setback, and it will take you to another page to assess that setback – were you bored, lonely, angry, stressed, or tired? What was it that triggered you (got you thinking about looking at porn)? After a couple of months, you’ll be able to check and see how much progress you’ve made from the previous months.

3. Accountability Button (aka, the “Bat Signal”)

In the fight against porn addiction, no person is an island. We need each other. That’s why we’ve put a handy-dandy accountability button (lovingly called the “bat signal”) at the top right-hand side of the screen. In the app “settings,” you can enter up to three accountability partners. In a moment of temptation, you can press this “Accountability button” and those accountability partners will be notified on their phones (even if they’re locked) with this simple message, “Please pray for (your name).” How cool is that?

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I am Not Depression

This post by Thomas Grant is reprinted from LifeTeen.com

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If you met me in high school and college you would see someone that had it all together. You would see someone actively involved in youth group, someone that did well in school, and a person that was well loved by friends and family.

What you wouldn’t see is a person that sat up at night, writing journals about how worthless he was. You wouldn’t see someone that stopped looking at himself in the mirror because he only saw failure. You wouldn’t see a person that late at night went through a list of people that would be better off without him. You wouldn’t see someone that was quietly breaking down while smiling wide. It is possible to be alone in a room full of people; it is possible to be seen but not heard. It is possible to fake happiness. I lived a life without really living at all.

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I struggle with depression. A lot of people don’t know that about me – for a long time I was embarrassed by it. I struggled to tell my parents and friends, and honestly, I didn’t tell anyone. I felt weak.

I questioned myself:

“If you were stronger, you wouldn’t be here. Can’t you just pull yourself out of this yourself?”

“Maybe you just aren’t cut out for the work you are doing or for school. It has already broken you.”

“You just aren’t good enough – if anyone finds out about this, they will think you are weird and not want to be around you.”

When I did speak to some people about depression I was met with a mixed response; well-meaning people said some non-productive things. One friend, who is a faithful Christian, told me that, “It was a spiritual problem and I didn’t need a diagnosis.” I felt even weaker, “He’s right,” I thought, “If I had a better prayer life and closer relationship with God, I wouldn’t feel the way that I do.”

Those feelings were what caused me to stay quiet. They were what caused me to keep the smile going on the outside while I quietly broke down inside. It wasn’t until I had a conversation with a priest about my struggles that I came to an important realization:

I am not depression. I am the son of the King. Even in darkness, He carries me.

I am not defined by my frailty. And neither are you.

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At the Foot of the Cross

This post by Joel Stepanek is reprinted from LifeTeen.com

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The voice of God thunders, a King is lifted up on a cross between two common criminals, blood flows from his broken body. Women cry. A tomb is empty. God’s glory shines forth and His body and life are freely given so that all those present can get to heaven. Angel choirs sing. Heaven and earth meet.

Everyone witnesses a sacrifice, a death, and a resurrection.

And that all happens before the second communion song.

If you’ve been to Mass recently, you’ve also been to the foot of the Cross. If you’ve received Eucharist this past week, you’ve been at the Last Supper. You experienced the singular death and resurrection of Christ – and I bet at least once you wondered why you had to sing so many verses to the closing song.

If you’ve ever wondered why the Mass is the most important thing we do each week, why we call it the Source and Summit, and how simple bread and wine can constitute a sacrifice – then wonder no further.

A Sacrifice Planned Through History

When Jesus dies on the cross, heaven opens up for us. The death and resurrection of Christ are events that are of eternal significance. The Passion of Christ happened once, but it echoes throughout history. It is so important that Jesus didn’t allow it to just be something that we read about as ancient history – He made sure that He let us know it was an event to be lived each time we celebrated the Eucharist.

Jesus did this by instituting the Eucharist – and it was no accident how it happened.

To fully understand the significance the Last Supper, we need to jump all the way back to the Exodus.

Jesus institutes the Last Supper on a very particular occasion – the Passover. This feast was sacred for Him; His family celebrated it every year as did all the faithful Jewish people. Passover commemorates God’s saving action; God took the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. Before this exodus, God institutes a special meal for the Israelite people. They need to find an unblemished lamb, sacrifice it, and then put some of the lamb’s blood on their doorpost. It is this action that saves the people from death and allows them to begin their escape.

Jesus is celebrating the Passover meal with His disciples. There is bread and wine (two necessary components for Passover – but no lamb (because Jesus is the lamb (boom! (this is a lot of parenthesis)))).

Jesus breaks the bread and gives it to the disciples, but He offers it by saying, “This is my Body.” Jesus is connecting the offering of the Eucharist with His offering the next day on the cross. He is giving His Body and Blood as a sacrifice on the cross, and also giving it in the Eucharist.

Skeptical that this was Jesus’ intent? Please, nerd out with me for a moment:

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