Fr. Martin's book ...
In his recent book Building a Bridge (HarperOne), Father James Martin, S.J., calls the Church to a spirit of respect, compassion and sensitivity in dealing with persons with same-sex attraction. This is good advice. It makes obvious sense. He asks the same spirit from persons in the LGBT community when dealing with the Church. Father Martin is a man whose work I often admire. Building a Bridge, though brief, is written with skill and good will.
But what the text regrettably lacks is an engagement with the substance of what divides faithful Christians from those who see no sin in active same-sex relationships. The Church is not simply about unity – as valuable as that is – but about unity in God’s love rooted in truth. If the Letter to the Romans is true, then persons in unchaste relationships (whether homosexual or heterosexual) need conversion, not merely affirmation. If the Letter to the Romans is false, then Christian teaching is not only wrong but a wicked lie. Dealing with this frankly is the only way an honest discussion can be had.
And that honesty is what makes another recent book – Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay by Daniel Mattson (Ignatius) – so extraordinarily moving and powerful. As Cardinal Robert Sarah writes in the Foreword, Mattson’s candor about his own homosexuality, his struggles and failures, and his gradual transformation in Jesus Christ “bears witness to the mercy and goodness of God, to the efficacy of his grace, and to the veracity of the teachings of his Church.”
In the words of Daniel Mattson himself:
We cannot remain reluctant to speak about the beauty of the Church’s teaching on sexuality and sexual identity for fear that it will appear “unloving,” “irrational,” or “unreal.” We need to love the world enough to speak about the Christian vision of sexual reality, confident that God’s creation of man as male and female is truly part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ we are called to proclaim to a lost and confused world. We need to be a light for the world and speak passionately about the richness of the Church’s understanding of human sexuality. We can’t place the Good News of the Church’s teaching on human sexuality under a bushel any longer, for the world desperately needs the truth we have (p. 123).
Spoken from experience. Spoken from the heart. No one could name the truth more clearly. - Archbishop Chaput
It bears repeating, over and over if necessary:
As the Catechism teaches: "Basing itself on sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved" - Catechism of the Catholic Church 2357
"'Fitting in' to a society of deeply dysfunctional sexuality results in the ruin that we see in so many other dying Christian communities." - Chaput