Sunday, May 20, 2018

So here is the deal ...

I've spent much of my life in a titanic struggle.

To be holy.  To be a boy.  To be a man.

To fit in.

To not fit in.

To run away.

To come home.

To find a home, a place.

To be chaste.

To be normal.

To be holy.

To love...

Never knowing how to let myself be loved.

That's like a poem in a way. 

So anyway.  I came across a comment on Fr. Martin's blog in response to what the Holy Father told Juan Carlos Cruz, that God made him gay.  The man is in his 60's and wrote:
I wish I could relive life and as I was realizing I might be gay, some priest or pope had said that to me. How different my life might have been. ....but no one did...and so I lived in hiding and dark depression through my teens, twenties and some of my 30s. Dark suicidal depression. I might have actually been open to love and had a beautiful life. But no. I believed extreme conservative religious teaching and never had love. My one existence on this earth....and no love. Really sad. my 60s now that I don't care about love...God has made me happy....but man oh man...I wish I had not listened so much to the Church and super religious people. - Mark F.
Fortunately, that hasn't been my experience, but I understood the sentiment.  It also made me sad and made me feel somewhat alienated.  If someone had told me it was okay - and they did - it didn't change anything.  My conscience wouldn't allow it.  When my conscience was formed, I was still very young.  I had no understanding of same sex attraction.  I knew what it was to be chaste however.  I knew it was holy and good.  I knew sexual 'self-abuse' and looking at 'dirty' pictures, and 'impure' thoughts were sins - even mortal sins.  I knew sex was for marriage.  I knew virginity was for religious life, and chastity was for all - according to their state in life.  (I really did - from a very young age in fact.)  Though I never wanted to commit a mortal sin, I did.  Being in the state of mortal sin made me unhappy... infinitely sad.

Therefore, I was never happy when I engaged in sexual acts which I knew were mortal sins.  I was never happy in a lifestyle based upon that.  I liked and loved gay persons, worked with them, socialized with them, and enjoyed good times, but I never quite fit in.  I tried to fit in - but I never did.  A good friend of mine once shared with me that he could never understand how some guys were just fine with being gay - they felt fulfilled, and so on.  He and I couldn't understand how they could reconcile sexual acts with being Catholic and receiving the sacraments.  Neither of us could do that in good conscience - even if and when a confessor might tell one of us that it is not a sin.  Our consciences told us otherwise.

So.  I don't get it.

Like I said, I've spent much of my life in a titanic struggle with these issues.  I've had to defend myself against gay people who made fun of me for my faith, from straight people who were suspicious because I live with a friend, or worked in a gay profession, or had gay friends.  I never fit in with the conservatives who insist that gay Catholics not say gay, or insist that they need to belong to a self-help group, and then it can only be Courage.  I never fit in with all their rules about that, or their insistence I condemn this priest or that gay-Catholic as too liberal.

So many of these folks gossip and condemn others based upon who they live with, what their past was, how they dress.  They suspect every single man and woman.  They want to know why you are not married, do you have a girlfriend, and so on.  They point out who they think is gay and speculate on their moral life.  These same people often put great emphasis on their religious practices, judging your Catholicism based upon the question 'are you trad or novus ordo?'  Even great Churchmen - aka Cardinal Burke - tell families they shouldn't let their gay relatives, especially those in a relationship/living with a partner, come over for family dinner.  Likewise, a man who lives with another man - albeit chastely and celibately - can't sing in the choir, nor can they do the readings at Mass.  (Personally, I would never presume to even take up the collection at Mass, lest I scandalize someone.)

To be sure, I tried to fit it all in - I even tried to defend religious people who said and did that stuff - those who said you not only had to be chaste and celibate - you couldn't live with a same-sex best friend.  But it didn't work - it wasn't my call.  Some of the discrimination I point out here bordered on the 'unjust' - based in bigotry.  Their 'acceptance' was superficial and conditional, as well as patronizingly situational.  It wasn't authentic.  I wasn't being authentic trying to assure these types that I fully embraced and lived Catholic teaching.  (I did and do.)  Needless to say, I totally understand the man who said he wished he hadn't listened to super religious people.  I agree with him for reasons I just stated, but also because all they seem to see are evil threats to their perfectly constructed theories and neatly placed battlements.  Though I do not fit in with these folks, neither can I fit in with the New Ways Ministry types, or those who ignore Catholic moral teaching and indulge their sexual appetites and claim God blesses that.   I don't know how they justify that, but I'm not their judge.

I am fortune's fool.  

What the Pope said to Juan Carlos Cruz, if true, is not meant for me.  (I've said the same thing about Fr. Martin's book and message.)  What people will take from what the Pope purportedly said is not for me either.  Some are interpreting the Pope's statement to mean approval for homosexual acts and they are saying the Church's teaching must change, and so on.  They claim that if God made men gay and wants them to be happy, then homosexual acts are not disordered, and so on.  The Pope did not say that.  And even if he did, (he didn't) - it is a message/teaching not meant for me.

This is one of the few times I've become concerned over something the Holy Father is quoted as saying.  I have no way of determining the accuracy of the comment, but many are responding as if it was a new teaching.  That's unfortunate.

Like I said, it has been a lifelong struggle not without some degree of suffering - and it isn't over yet - but that is why I have dropped everything, as it were, to comment on this issue today.  I do not look for sympathy or agreement - this is just my personal reflection.

'He has confused the proud in their inmost heart' - I think that is the grace in all of this for me.  If I can become humble - O my God, what a grace this is.

Jesus meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto thine.

Song for this post here.


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    1. "This is one of the few times I've become concerned over something the Holy Father is quoted as saying. I have no way of determining the accuracy of the comment, but many are responding as if it was a new teaching. That's unfortunate."

      Unfortunate indeed.

      You know I have always supported our Holy Father but I can't wrap my mind around what he may or may not have said to Mr. Cruz.
      I am of the opinion that Mr. Cruz should have kept their conversation private. Whatever happened to respect for privacy and discretion? What was the point of sharing such a conversation? Stir things up? Seek approval? Confuse or upset even more folks? Open the door to more Papa Francis bashing? I remember reading somewhere that he is referred to as "the homosexual pope."

      Like you posted before and I will pray for the grace to take it to heart ... "what is it to you? Just follow me."

      Ah well ... so much easier to be a busybody and a chisme than to die to myself and follow the Risen Lord but if I want to gain heaven, best be about my daily duty.

      Prayers for Papa Francisco and Mr. Cruz.

      P.S. Querido Terry,

      If that be you in the picture, you are a real beauty with great hair and fashion sense. ^^)

    2. Haha! That is e in the photo. As for the Holy Father, we can offer up our prayers and confusion for him. As for Mr. Cruz - he maybe should have been more discreet or maybe misquoted. I don't know. We can believe Jesus when he told that to Peter and follow him. Thanks Yaya.

    3. I think Juan Carlos Cruz is a very brave man for exposing the Barros case. After his meeting with PF, he felt vindicated after the awful things said about him and the other victims. As a "gay" man, Cruz believed that what PF said to him regarding being born gay - was very comforting for him. He saw it as a sign of compassion from PF. I do not see it that way, but he did.

  2. One of the best things written on this topic that I have ever seen. Thank you.

  3. There's no reason for Pope Francis not to say God made Cruz, it's true, but doesn't imply that homosexual acts aren't sins. Prople so often hear what they want to hear.

  4. I think there's a huge difference between saying "God made gay people," and saying "God made people gay." I think it is understandable that you would question which of these PF is saying. I wonder the same thing.

  5. Be at peace, my friend. You are a child of God! Susan, ofs

  6. I sympathize with anyone who has suffered at the hands of religious people like you have Terry.

    I was in adoration last week and saw a little Examination of Conscience pamphlet with a rather gory picture of Jesus scourged on the cover and I knew instinctively it was published by “crazies” of the type that used to scare me when I was younger. Ever since I discovered you when I first got online, you have seconded my instincts about who it is prudent to ignore and it has been so helpful. I, like you, tend to keep to myself and just do the good I think God is leading me to do.

    Your post of “Novena of Surrender” has revolutionized my life as of late and has given me new strength. I wish you could see the faces of the people I am able to comfort because of your help.

    You have been my comfort for many years, Terry. Only in heaven will you understand the good your suffering has done.

  7. I just read this and found it edifying. Mr. Flynn is always gracious and respectful when it comes to any commentary he makes about our Holy Father. I appreciate that so much.

  8. Once again a snipit of a conversation gets blown out of proportion and bang. The Pope is approving this or that. Could it be that he meant that being born gay is being made that way by God, but practicing an active gay life style is still sinful? I do not know. This is just my logical explanation. Jesus never taught about this. I wonder why? I am just sad that so many suffer such pain and condemnation. I think we all need to be less concerned about monitoring others sins and pay attention to our own.

  9. Thanks y'all. Looks as if I over-reacted to what the Pope was quoted as saying. It really doesn't apply to me, and so it is none of my business.

    1. Every time I come back to this blog, I read something that increases my admiration of its author.

      God bless you, Mr. Nelson.

      As for the Pope's words, charity towards our fathers (see Gen. 9 and Bp. Challoner's notes on it) compels us to avoid haste in rushing to judge them (which you have not done - I speak generally). My own suspicion is that this is a case of "who am I to judge" all over again: the liberal media has been pretty angry with Pope Francis ever since the sad saga of Alfie Evans, and this is their (childish) way of hitting back.

    2. Many thanks. As for what he said, I think I get it now. It's entirely consistent with his way of approaching those alienated from the Church. Having more background on the story helped me out - Cruz was evidently discredited by the Chilean bishops pointing out that he was gay and unreliable, and so on. So it fits that the Holy Father would make this comment privately without feeling the need to hold up the catechism and point out what actual teaching is. It was a private exchange and affirmation of an individual person, and so on, I'm not sure the Pope expected it to be made public, nor was it a correction of doctrinal teaching. My initial reaction had more to do with how media and social media esp. erupted, and it reveals how deeply my own 'doctrinal adhesion' if you will, became a barrier to a basic sense of empathy. It's amazing how many outside the Church, esp. former practicing Catholic celebrities, understood the gesture immediately.

      Thanks again for your kindness.


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