Enter your email address to subscribe to Irregular Times and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 448 other subscribers

Irregular Times Newsletters

Click here to subscribe to any or all of our six topical e-mail newsletters:
  1. Social Movement Actions,
  2. Credulity and Faith,
  3. Election News,
  4. This Week in Congress,
  5. Tech Dispatch and
  6. our latest Political Stickers and Such

Contact Us

We can be contacted via retorts@irregulartimes.com

Why Would LGBT Americans Remain Catholic?

This morning, I read a headline that just doesn’t make sense to me. The organization Dignity USA writes, “Gay Catholic group urges D.C. to defy church”.

Dignity USA is an organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Catholics. The Catholic church declares anything but heterosexual activity within marriage to be a terrible sin. The doctrines of the Catholic church declare that truth comes from above, through the Pope as absolute leader, who is directly in touch with God, the ruler of the universe. The Pope, according to Catholic doctrine, is infallible.

So, how can the people at Dignity USA claim to be Catholic and at the same time urge other Catholics to rebel against the Catholic church? Isn’t this, in Catholic doctrine, the same as rebelling against God?

Why, when the Catholic church has made it so plain that it doesn’t like or respect LGBT people, do they stay with the Catholic church?

18 comments to Why Would LGBT Americans Remain Catholic?

  • le pelerin

    If LGBT people didn’t call themselves Catholics, they would lose political clout. It’s all calculated to get most news coverage.

  • Political clout with who? They certainly don’t get clout with the Catholic church. They don’t get coverage from me because they’re Catholic, except in this one article, in which I’m questioning what the hell they’re thinking remaining as members of such an objectionable group.

    These are not people who start out as non-Catholics, and then become Catholics just in order to gain PR advantage. They’re Catholics who turn out LGBT, and then, beyond all reason that I can fathom, stay with a church that’s hateful toward them.

    • le pelerin

      I think you have a point. Maybe it’s like Jews who don’t believe in God but call themselves Jews, like an identity, like race.

      • Joseph

        Um… the word Jew does refer to both a race and a religion, which is why a secular Jew is still Jewish. A gay Catholic is a Catholic who is gay. A Catholic believes in Christ, transubstantiation, seven sacraments, etc., etc. The current position on homosexuality is not dogma so one can be a gay Catholic. It’s the same as being a pro-life or pro-gun Democrat or a log cabin Republican. A Catholic considers their Church the one true Church, and leaving can be as hard or harder than coming out – they’re stuggling not just with their sexuality, but with what they believe to be the fate of their soul. Catholics hold that the eucharist is not only bread and wine but also the body and blood of Christ (transubstantiation) and most Protestant sects do not. Catholics also believe that the only people capable of consecrating the eucharist are those who have received a valid sacrament of holy orders, i.e. can trace their consecration as a priest back to the Apostles. Some “breakaway” churches are considered to have a valid succession of holy orders, but many do not. Leaving a church is in many ways leaving a family, as one has probably been with it since birth. For Catholics there’s the challenge of finding another church who they consider has valid priests and all the other theological difficulties, AND that Church has to accept them.

        Lastly, some don’t want to be run off and feel like they’re giving in to a “love it or leave it” mentality and want to stay and work to change the Church in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council and work for change.

        I hope that gives you a feel for some of what Dignity USA is about. It was founded by a retired Roman Catholic priest as a support group for LGBT Catholics, and today seeks respect and justice for gay Catholics within Church.

        • le pelerin

          “In the spirit of Vaticun II” I was following you until that hilarious worn out quote by liberal Catholics. Sin is sin, always has been. Sinners are welcome in the Church. Just be humble enough to see your sin and ask God’s forgiveness.

  • Steve

    “The Pope, according to Catholic doctrine, is infallible”

    No my friend that is not at all how it works. The pope is NOT considered infallibe. Rather, he has the ability to make certain statements which are considered infallible, but they have to fall under a specific context and be specifically stated as such. These are only made on VERY rare occasions. To believe that the Catholic church is blindly led by everything the pope says and takes every word as law isn’t just wrong. It is willfully ignorant and retarded.

    • Okay, Steve, so let’s get specific. Is it, or is it not, the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church that homosexuality is, without any doubt, a sin? Is there any teaching within the Roman Catholic Church that declares that it’s the lay people who attend church, rather than the priestly hierarchy, that gets to make the decisions about what’s a sin and what’s not?

  • HareTrinity

    Because it’s their religious belief, not their political choice?

    I guess to them, getting recognition as natural from the pope is a huge part in completing their identities.

  • Joseph M.

    “Okay, Steve, so let’s get specific. Is it, or is it not, the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church that homosexuality is, without any doubt, a sin?”

    Actually, it’s not. Their *current* teaching is that homosexual acts are sin. Ratzinger, however, has continued to throw around the “intrinsically disordered” slur that had disappeared for a time. The position of the Church does not to appear to have been against homosexuality until the Middle Ages and a mistranslation of the Sodom and Gomorrah text. It turns out the Church had a “Blessing of Same Sex Couples” rite that for all intents and purposes was gay marriage, and there was even a same-sex couple canonized. John Boswell wrote about this and you can read some more about this at
    http://libchrist.com/other/homosexual/gaymarriagerite.html

    The Second Vatican Council also gave guidelines for people to follow their conscience, which the conservatives don’t like to talk about. As a Catholic you are only *required* to accept the dogma maintained in the Nicene Creed, which is thus:

    We believe in one God,
    the Father, the Almighty
    maker of heaven and earth,
    of all that is, seen and unseen.
    We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
    the only Son of God,
    eternally begotten of the Father,
    God from God, Light from Light,
    true God from true God,
    begotten, not made,
    of one Being with the Father.
    Through him all things were made.
    For us men and for our salvation
    he came down from heaven:
    by the power of the Holy Spirit
    he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.
    For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
    he suffered death and was buried.
    On the third day he rose again
    in accordance with the Scriptures;
    he ascended into heaven
    and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
    He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
    and his kingdom will have no end
    We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of Life,
    who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
    With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified.
    He has spoken through the Prophets.
    We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
    We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
    We look for the resurrection of the dead,
    and the life of the world to come.

    ” Is there any teaching within the Roman Catholic Church that declares that it’s the lay people who attend church, rather than the priestly hierarchy, that gets to make the decisions about what’s a sin and what’s not?”

    Well, if you’re talking about “the primacy of conscience”, this is what the Second Vatican Council wrote:

    “A Catholic who feels compelled to dissent … from infallible teaching … has no option but to sever his connection with the church. On the other hand, when the question at issue is the obligatory force of non-definitive teaching … then Catholics may dissent from such teaching for serious conscientious reasons and still consider themselves to be in full communion with the church.”

    So if you believe in the resurrection of Jesus, the Priesthood and such, you can disagree with a position on homosexuality or women priests or condom use and still be considered a Catholic. Not me though, ’cause despite the 12 years of catholic school evident in my reply (4 I paid for myself), this gay Catholic became agnostic 2 years ago and probably an atheist today. Gonna be a blast at next year’s 20 year Catholic high school reunion. :-)

    • le pelerin

      You may be trying but you’re not even fooling yourself.

      • Joseph

        Who’s trying to fool themselves about what?

        • le pelerin

          You’re fooling yourself about the Church ever blessing peolple doing the gay thing.

          • Joseph

            I take it you didn’t read the article and have never read any of historian Boswell’s published research. It’s really an indisputable fact given the documentation that exists. Let me quote an excerpt from the article I linked to and see if anyone could be fooled:

            “The very idea of a Christian homosexual marriage seems incredible. Yet after a twelve year search of Catholic and Orthodox church archives Yale history professor John Boswell has discovered that a type of Christian homosexual ‘marriage’ did exist as late as the 18th century.

            Contrary to myth, Christianity’s concept of marriage has not been set in stone since the days of Christ, but has evolved as a concept and as a ritual.

            Professor Boswell discovered that in addition to heterosexual marriage ceremonies in ancient church liturgical documents (and clearly separate from other types of non-marital blessings of adopted children or land) were ceremonies called, among other titles, the ‘Office of Same Sex Union’ (10th and 11th century Greek) or the ‘Order for Uniting Two Men’ (11th and 12th century).

            These ceremonies had all the contemporary symbols of a marriage: a community gathered in a church, a blessing of the couple before the altar, their right hands joined as at heterosexual marriages, the participation of a priest, the taking of the Eucharist, a wedding banquet afterwards. All of which are shown in contemporary drawings of the same sex union of Byzantine Emperor Basil I (867-886) and his companion John. Such homosexual unions also took place in Ireland in the late 12th / early 13th century, as the chronicler Gerald of Wales (Geraldus Cambrensis) has recorded.

            Unions in Pre-Modern Europe lists in detail some same sex union ceremonies found in ancient church liturgical documents. One Greek 13th century ‘Order for Solemnisation of Same Sex Union’, having invoked St. Serge and St. Bacchus, called on God to ‘vouchsafe unto these Thy servants [N and N] grace to love another and to abide unhated and not cause of scandal all the days of their lives, with the help of the Holy Mother of God and all Thy saints’. The ceremony concludes: ‘And they shall kiss the Holy Gospel and each other, and it shall be concluded’.

            Another 14th century Serbian Slavonic ‘Office of the Same Sex Union’, uniting two men or two women, had the couple having their right hands laid on the Gospel while having a cross placed in their left hands. Having kissed the Gospel, the couple were then required to kiss each other, after which the priest, having raised up the Eucharist, would give them both communion.

            Boswell found records of same sex unions in such diverse archives as those in the Vatican, in St. Petersburg, in Paris, Istanbul, and in Sinai, covering a period from the 8th to 18th centuries. Nor is he the first to make such a discovery. The Dominican Jacques Goar (1601-1653) includes such ceremonies in a printed collection of Greek prayer books.

            While homosexuality was technically illegal from late Roman times, it was only from about the 14th century that antihomosexual feelings swept western Europe. Yet same sex unions continued to take place.

            At St. John Lateran in Rome (traditionally the Pope’s parish church) in 1578 a many as 13 couples were ‘married’ at Mass with the apparent cooperation of the local clergy, ‘taking communion together, using the same nuptial Scripture, after which they slept and ate together’, according to a contemporary report.”

            So if this is what is described in the writings from the period, and the documentation of the rites still exist and can be examined by anyone willing to go to the respective archives, how is that being fooled? We’re being fooled into believing that the Church has always held its current position. Heck, I just learned recently that for the first 1000 years, key figures in the Church did not hold that a soul was present from conception or that abortion was murder. The myth is in an infallible, consistent, unaltered dogma extending from the time of Christ to today.

            • le pelerin

              I have never heard of such a thing and don’t know the context. However, one person claiming this does not prove anything other then a need for a robuttal from a Church historian.

              “I just learned recently that for the first 1000 years, key figures in the Church did not hold that a soul was present from conception or that abortion was murdur.” Science has come a long way and now we know that life starts at conception. In the past, people could only guess what was going on at the beginning of life. But to suggest that church people didn’t condemn abortion from the beginning is rewriting history. Abortion was going on in the Roman Empire and the church always condemed it. Check the church fathers: Letter of Barnabas “The way of light is as follows. If anyone desires to travel to the appointed place, he must be zealous in his works. The knowledge therefore, which is given to us for the purpose of walking in this way, is the following…though shalt not slay a child by procuring an abortion, nor, again,shall thou destroy it after it is born.” Letter of Barnabas 19 (A.D.)74

              Check out:The Didache 2:1-2 (A.D) 70
              The Apocalyse of Peter 25 (A.D.) 137
              Athenagorus (A Plea for the Christians 35 (A.D.) 177)
              Tertullian 9:8 (A.D.) 197 The Soul 25 (A.D.) 210
              And hundreds of other Church Fathers and The Apostolic Contitution

              • Joseph

                Le Pelerin, it would seem to be rather hard to rebut the Church’s own documentation on the matter, but the late John Boswell’s volumes on the subject were simply ignored by most apologists.

                Your statement that the Church always condemned abortion isn’t what I claimed. I claimed that for long periods the Church did not view it as murder. All of the sources you cite back up your claim, BUT they’re only sources up to 210 A.D., while I specifically stated 1000 years. There are many sources you thus left out that show the ways in which the Church position vacillated on this issue. Circa 380 the Apostolic Constitution allowed abortion if it was done early in the pregnancy, but not if the fetus was of human shape and contained a soul. The Didache you cited condemned abortion but raised and did not answer the question of whether the fetus had a soul from conception. St. Augustine condemned abortion because of its interference with procreation, but accepted the doctrine of delayed ensoulment, “But who is not rather disposed to think that unformed fetuses perish like seeds which have not fructified”, and held that abortion was not homicide. This was the majority view among theologians of the time. Circa 675, the Irish Canons list penances thus: “destruction of the embryo of a child in the mother’s womb [at] three and one half years … penance of one who has intercourse with a woman, seven years on bread and water.” In the “Penitential Ascribed by Albers to Bede”, circa 8th century, the idea of delayed ensoulment is again present, “A mother who kills her child before the fortieth day shall do penance for one year. If it is after the child has become alive, [she shall do penance] as a murderess. But it makes a great difference whether a poor woman does it on account of the difficulty of supporting [the child] or a harlot for the sake of concealing her wickedness.” In 1140 the first compilation of canon law that was accepted as authoritative was produced. It reads, “abortion was homicide only when the fetus was formed.” In 1312 Thomas Aquinas held that abortion was a sin due to contraception, but that, again, it was not homicide unless there was a human soul present. Aquinas wrote that the fetus first possessed a “vegetable soul”, then an “animal soul” and finally a “human soul” during its stages of development. This was again consistent with the position of the first 1000 years and confirmed at the Council of Vienne. Pope Innocent III (1161-1216) declared that a monk who arranged for an abortion for his lover had not committed murder if the fetus was not “animated” at the time, and also stated in the early 1200s that the soul enters the fetus when the woman feels the first movements of the fetus, and that abortion was a less serious sin before that time.
                In 1588 Pope Sixtus V issued a bull condemning all abortion as murder, but a few years later in 1591 Pope Gregory XIV revoked that bull and reinstated the “animated” qualification of Innocentm which he felt happened 116 days into pregnancy. It was only Pope Pius IX in 1869 who dropped this test and felt that the soul entered the human being at conception. Thus, I feel the collective evidence supports my earlier premise that for the first 1000 years of the Church (longer, really, with a few back-and-forth periods) the Church did not teach the doctrine of a fetus being a human being from conception and did not consider it murder if it was early in the pregnancy. You may now go through the same shock that I did, le pelerin, when I realized we’ve been duped and lied to. :-)

                “Science has come a long way and now we know that life starts at conception.”

                We know that a fertilized egg is living, and that its DNA is human, but in no way, shape, or form does current science declare that cell a human being. That’s quite an overreach, as there’s not even consensus on what being human entails.

              • le pelerin

                I don’t have time to debate your slant. You obviously did deep digging to convince yourself that killing a baby at any stage is OK.

                The Apostolic Constitution states: “Thou shalt not use magic. Thou shalt not use witchcraft; for he says, ‘you shall not suffer a witch to live'(Ex. 22:18). Thou shalt not slay thy child by causing abortion, nor kill that which is begotten…If it be slain, it shall be advenged, as being unjustly destoyed”. (7:3 A.D. 400)

                The Church didn’t vacilate, some theologians may have had conjectures, later proved wrong. We have utrasounds that show babies in the womb. A 1000 years ago they didn’t have that luxury. That’s why different theologians had varying views, trying to come to the truth. There is no excuse now for abortion, other then fear on the part of the mother, and good income on the part of abortion providers.

              • Joseph

                “I don’t have time to debate your slant.”

                If you mean you don’t have time to address the evidence I’ve presented or otherwise familiarize yourself with any evidence that contradicts what you want to believe, then ok. I thought you were seriously interested in the subjects we were discussing. And I don’t have a “slant”, I simply presented evidence that backed my statement regarding the fact that fetuses have not been considered “ensouled” since conception for most of the Church’s history. Unlike you, who label a presentation of facts a “slant”, I thought otherwise, was shown contradictory evidence, then came to my present conclusion. I didn’t dismiss the cold, hard facts as slant and run away from them. Again, I really seek the truth, not confirmation of my existing beliefs.

                “You obviously did deep digging to convince yourself that killing a baby at any stage is OK.”

                You erect enough straw men that we shouldn’t see a crow for 1500 miles. I made a statement that the Church did not consider abortion murder at all points of the pregnancy for more than 1,000 years. When pressed, I presented quotes from Church fathers and even Popes to back up my conclusion, and was prepared to cite references if you asked, but you never did because you weren’t interested. I never advocated killing anyone.

                “The Apostolic Constitution states: “Thou shalt not use magic. Thou shalt not use witchcraft; for he says, ‘you shall not suffer a witch to live’(Ex. 22:18). Thou shalt not slay thy child by causing abortion, nor kill that which is begotten…If it be slain, it shall be advenged, as being unjustly destoyed”. (7:3 A.D. 400)”

                We went over all this, didn’t we? Including the parts you’re not quoting about the question of when the soul enters the body? And the canon law that specifically stated that early abortion was not to be treated as murder? And the Papal Bull that stated that the soul entered the fetus when it began to move and not before? Etc., etc? And you just repeat this one fact over again? Seriously? I’m sorry I wasted my time compiling evidence for someone who wasn’t serious about discussing this.

                “The Church didn’t vacilate, some theologians may have had conjectures, later proved wrong.”

                If by some you mean the vast majority, and if by theologians you mean people from Church Fathers like Augustine and Aquinas to multiple Popes, and if by had conjectures you mean issued Papal Bulls and wrote it into the first authoritative Canon of Church Law and stated in at an important Church Council, and if by proved wrong you mean one pope changed the position by fiat, then yes. And how does one “prove” a matter of theology anyway?

                ” We have utrasounds that show babies in the womb. A 1000 years ago they didn’t have that luxury. That’s why different theologians had varying views, trying to come to the truth. ”

                Unless ultrasounds can prove the existence of the soul and then show you when the soul enters the body, I don’t see how ultrasounds have anything to do with the issue they were grappling with.

  • What an unfortunate stranglehold religion still has on people’s lives. That these people would be willing to be a part of a religion (and presumably donate money to that religion) which is openly hostile towards them is unfathomable to me. But people stay in bad and abusive relationships all the time, sadly.

Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>