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Questions and Answers

I certainly respect your views although I must disagree with the belief that gay men and women of good faith are restricted to a celibate way of life in attempting to fulfill their baptismal vows. I realize also that that puts me, and other religious, outside of the teaching of the Magisterium. Even so, I believe that God’s mercy and love will embrace those of us who, in good faith and conscience, may be in error. . . . I [am] concerned with a held belief that homosexual men, simply by virtue of their sexual orientation, would not be appropriate candidates for the priesthood and/or religious life . . .  [even though] their vow or promise of celibacy would be as binding as for any other candidate. That is not in question. Would you be so kind as to respond to that for me?

Outline of the Answer
• Desires and lifestyle
• The tradition of chastity
• Repentance of sins
• Gambling with Faith
• Disobedience and Scandal

To begin with, we must understand the difference between one’s sexual desires and one’s sexual lifestyle. One’s desires are a combined product of social influence, psychological responses to childhood experiences and conflicts, and certain genetic characteristics. One’s sexual lifestyle, though, is a free choice.

The Tradition of Chastity

Through the ages, Scripture, the Tradition of the Church, and the Catholic mystics have all asserted that chastity is an integral aspect of Christian spiritual life. As a result, everyone, man or woman, who dares to call himself “Christian” (that is, all the baptized, not just those under religious vows) must freely choose to live a pure and chaste lifestyle.

This is made clear in Matthew 19:11-12 where Christ gave us two options: celibacy, or Holy Matrimony in which a man and a woman, under God’s blessing, join together until death for the sake of family and children.

This means that all sexual activity which is not open to procreation between a man and a woman within the indissoluble bond of Holy Matrimony and family is a sin and is merely a psychological way to hide our essential vulnerability and brokenness by defiling the body, the temple of the Holy Spirit—that is, making the body into a toy for our pleasure and amusement. We can hide our emotional wounds from ourselves as much as we want, but only in chaste holiness through Christ can we repent our sins and be healed.

Repentance of Sins

In regard to repentance, we need to understand something here about the difference between Purgatory and hell. If you read Saint Catherine of Genoa (who literally wrote the book about Purgatory), you can learn something remarkable about the concept of remorse. No matter how miserably we have sinned, if we come to feel sorrow for our behavior, to the point of disgust for our sins, then we have set ourselves on the path to Purgatory, to be purified of all stain that would prevent us from standing in God’s holy presence. But if we have no remorse for our sins, whether out of pure malice or whether out of a disobedient refusal to recognize sin as sin, then we set ourselves on the path to hell and eternal separation from God’s holy love.



They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator [emphasis added], who is blessed forever. Amen. Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God [i.e., repent], God handed them over to their undiscerning mind to do what is improper. . . . Although they know the just decree of God that all who practice such things deserve death, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.


—Romans 1:25-29, 32

Therefore, good faith and conscience must of necessity strive to exclude all error.

Gambling with Faith

Now, I do understand that sometimes we have difficulty comprehending what sin really is, and we are tempted to step outside the Magisterium of the Church in order to preserve our self-interests and claim tangible satisfaction in the moment. Yes, you can take the risk of asserting that Jesus made mistakes in His teachings, that Tradition and Scripture are dated and no longer relevant to modern society, and that God doesn’t really care about anything we do as long as we “believe” He exists. But to say any of this is like playing Russian roulette. You take a big risk gambling that you can live a Christian life outside of the Faith that has been handed down to us through the ages.

If you risk your soul, you risk it because you lack faith. You cannot risk your soul in “good faith.” The love of God is too precious to risk it for anything. The only path to true love and total surrender to God is through a total acceptance of our essential broken emptiness and a commitment to chaste purity of heart. Clinging to a belief that you can reject the holy importance of chastity fools only yourself. And the more we try to fool ourselves the less we can accept the healing of our lives through the broken bread of the holy Eucharist.

Disobedience and Scandal

Thus the very act of gambling with your soul is a declaration of disobedience, and disobedience in itself is a grave sin.

And anyone who persists in disobedience should not be allowed to be a priest.

The issue here, then, isn’t about homosexuality or heterosexuality per se, nor is it a matter of being condemned for who you are. The real issue is about whether or not you choose to preserve your own self-interests by misleading others and telling them that sin is not sin. To gamble with your own salvation is one thing, but—whether by what you say or what you fail to say—to encourage others to commit sin is too horrible a scandal, and too lacking in compassion, to contemplate.

Saint Francis of Assisi, the saint everyone likes to think of as the most free-spirited and happy saint of all, nevertheless told us in The Canticle of All Creatures, “Woe to those who die in mortal sin!” And if a priest encourages others to sin, he will pay not just for his own sins but for the sins committed by those he misdirected (see Ezekiel 33:7-9).

So unless sincere and all-pervasive remorse for sin in all its human entirety is at the core of a man’s life, he won’t have a clue about his own brokenness, and, consequently, he won’t have a clue as to what the priesthood is all about.

Saint Francis’ Canticle of All Creatures

Most High, all-powerful, all-good Lord,
All praise is Yours, all glory, all honour and all blessings.
To you alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your Name.
Praised be You my Lord with all Your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun,
Who is the day through whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour,
Of You Most High, he bears the likeness.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
In the heavens you have made them bright, precious and fair.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
And fair and stormy, all weather’s moods,
by which You cherish all that You have made.
Praised be You my Lord through Sister Water,
So useful, humble, precious and pure.
Praised be You my Lord through Brother Fire,
through whom You light the night
and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.
Praised be You my Lord through our Sister,
Mother Earth who sustains and governs us,
producing varied fruits with coloured flowers and herbs.
Praise be You my Lord through those who grant pardon
for love of You and bear sickness and trial.
Blessed are those who endure in peace,
By You Most High, they will be crowned.
Praised be You, my Lord through Sister Death,
from whom no-one living can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
Blessed are they She finds doing Your Will.
No second death can do them harm.
Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks,
And serve Him with great humility.


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