Sunday, April 28, 2013

Fr. Robert Barron on 'coming out'...

Forgive me!

"[M]any gay people have “come out of the closet,” and this is indeed welcome."

Fr. Barron writes about same sex marriage and the breakdown of moral argument in this week's edition of The Catholic Spirit.  It's quit good. 

He noted that the problem developed pretty much because there no longer exists a 'coherent conversation about ethics'.  He goes on to name another important draw back in the discussion:
"Still another indication of the breakdown in moral argumentation is the sentimentalizing of the same-sex marriage issue."
That is very true.  Interestingly enough, Fr. Barron discusses the benefits of 'coming out' as a same sex attracted person.
"Over roughly the past 25 years, many gay people have “come out of the closet,” and this is indeed welcome. Repression, deception and morbid self-reproach are never good things. The result of this coming out is that millions have recognized their brothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, uncles, and dear friends as having same-sex attraction.

The homosexual person is no longer, accordingly, some strange and shadowy “other,” but someone I know to be a decent human being. This development, too, is nothing but positive. The man or woman with a homosexual orientation must always be loved and treated, in all circumstances, with the respect due to a child of God.

Nevertheless, it does not follow that everything a decent person does or wants is necessarily decent. Without a convincing argument, we cannot simply say that whatever a generally kind and loving person chooses to do is, by the very nature of the thing, right.

This is why I am never impressed when a politician says that he is now in favor of same-sex marriage because he has discovered that his son, whom he deeply loves, is gay. Please don’t misunderstand me: I am sincerely delighted whenever a father loves and cherishes his gay son. However, that love in itself does not constitute an argument. - Fr. Barron
To come out, or not to come out?  To identify as gay or ssa, or not to identify as such?

What to do?  What to say?  Fr. Barron's statements pretty much turn my opinions upside down, don't they.  (That wasn't a question.)  I can't say his POV matches my experience however.

Looks as if I've been wrong - about everything.

I'm so embarrassed.  My sincere apologies to all of my readers for writing about my personal experience, trials and errors.  It's not as if I didn't warn you though.  I've always told you to seek advice and direction from the proper Catholic sources, and to ignore what I say - whether you agree or disagree with me.  I'm no expert.

That said, possibly my worst advice has been to tell people what I have repeated in the past few days in my writing about Carla Hale.  Pay no attention to the man behind the...  I was wrong to suggest that you not seek employment in the Church, volunteer or serve on committees, and so on.

Yeah.  So.  Come out, come out, and apply for work in the Church, teach CCD, coach, whatever you feel called to do.  All are welcome.
The Church loves, welcomes, and respects a woman or man with a same-sex attraction . . . while reminding him or her of our clear teaching that, while the condition of homosexuality is no sin at all, still, God’s teaching is clear that sexual acts are reserved for a man and woman united in the lifelong, life-giving, faithful, loving bond of marriage. - Cardinal Dolan
Mea culpa!

Works for me!



  1. not sure why you are apologizing Terry. There is a lot of truth about what you have written.

  2. There are sinners and public sinners, both displeasing to God, but public sin has the added problems of scandal, bad example, and leading others astray.

  3. Mari - I'm being slightly facetious. It is my way of saying that I am definitely not the go to guy on this issue.

    Donald - that is very true - and a sign of our times.

  4. Terry your advice is valid for those who a) have SSA; b) act on their attractions and c) are active in their parish or work for the Church. Fr. Barron's advice seems geared toward those who remain chaste. There's no conflict in working for the Church if one has SSA, assuming one isn't hitting on people.

    Note that an actively gay acquaintance was visiting a monastery and was invited never to return based on his behavior. I figure he was hitting on the monks.

  5. Thanks Nan - I'm afraid I'm just a bit too self-righteous for others. I think I turn people away.

    I'm going to try and write simply what I think, avoiding any sort of 'advice'in the future. Like other good bloggers, I'll link to sources who know Church teaching better than I do.

  6. But we like the bad blogger! Those who turn away turn away because you present the truth and they don't like it.

  7. Terry, it is obvious that your own experience and deep conversion/suffering has given you a PROFOUND insight into the behaviour/mental conundrums/spiritual problems of ssa folks - all of which has been really significant for me, at least, to read here. Of course this priest is 'right': who among the clergy is going to go deeper than this, at this point, or in these forums. You point out the inner spirit behind the mere 'attraction', and possibly many games that can lead to death of the conscience, and the spirit. It is all so complex - don't give it up, please.

  8. Terry, I don't understand why you are judging your deep insights on Fr Barron's mere opinions. He is no authority. Don't get me wrong, he's right on a lot of things, his "Catholicism" series is commendable. But he is not infallible, and YES I've seen several doctrinal errors in his teachings. (PLUS he's a celebrity priest. Those guys just set themselves up to fall with pride issues, imho.) Anyway, I'm not knocking Fr Barron, but he has been wrong, and he is again WRONG in this matter. He says, "Coming out is good." For what? So we can all slap them on the back for a disorder they are struggling with? By that logic, we should be encouraging every person with every disorder to "come out" so they can be affirmed. Come on. The world is full of concupiscence. We all struggle with something or other. But we should not be reveling in it, and scandalizing the young and less-informed by showing approval of the disorder, less they confuse it for approval of the sin.

  9. I personally heed very little of what Father Barron says. It seems to me this is a very conflicting message that he is giving. He is telling people that it's a great thing to come out and announce to the world that you're homosexual, but remember, it is a terrible rotten sin that you're admitting to. How is that helpful to anyone who is trying to overcome this? It's like we want to give respectability to homosexuality without giving respectability to homosexuality, if that makes any sense.

    Our Lord most definitely loves homosexuals just as he loves all sinners. But isn't the reason for the confessional to keep our sins confidential? Do we really need to burden everyone else with our crosses?

  10. Er, that first line should read:

    Terry, I don't understand why you are using Fr Barron's mere opinions as a standard by which to judge your own deep insights on this matter.

  11. As I hinted at in my labels - approval will come about by incremental steps. Commending people for coming out is just another step. Remember, Fr. Martin SJ hopes priests gay priests will soon come out to help people accept and understand things better. I believe he said something to that effect after one of the Religious Ed conferences in Los Angeles.

    Don't worry, I will keep writing.

  12. i think fr. barron is dead on right. when a person accepts the fact of their orientation, they can deal with it appropriately. if they don't, they act out in very unhealthy ways. and by coming out, one need not report it to the entire world. but to themselves, a trusted orthodox spiritual director for guidance and with the sacrament of reconciliation ... yes.

  13. I know what you mean Doghboy, and I expect that is how Fr. B meant it. Nevertheless - as you know - 'coming out' is more than simply a healthy exercise in self knowledge and acceptance - 'coming out' is a political act meant to announce to the world that gay people are here - deal with it. It is linked specifically to gay pride.

    For those who dispute the propriety of the use of ssa as oppsed to gay, I'm surprised that isn't obvious.

    Thinking outside one's state in life, imagine a 6th grader coming home to tell his parents, "Mom, Dad, I'm gay. You must accept that." The kid is still in his formative years, subject to his parents. It happens DB. They teach this stuff in schools.

    I'm so glad for gay people who come out to feel better about themselves - but maybe they need to be a little less narcissistic and begin to consider the effect it has on normal families and those parents who want to raise their children to be faithful Catholics.


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