From the Letter of St Jude, Apostle and Martyr...

'Now I desire to remind you, though you were once for all fully informed, that he who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels that did not keep their own position but left their proper dwelling have been kept by him in eternal chains in the nether gloom until the judgment of the great day; just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lust, served as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. Yet, in like manner these men in their dreamings defile the flesh, reject authority and revile the glorious ones.'

I've attracted some criticism from a Catholic priest for my previous post. I believe I should clarify what I said in the post as I can see how it could be construed as being offensive to Catholics struggling with the Cross of homosexuality. I happen to be one of those Catholics.

The main concern I expressed in the post was to highlight the way in which the State and those lobbies to whom it gives most attention use the word 'love' and the emotive power behind it in order to convince a population of the rightness of their cause. To see a word which has such depth and rich meaning in a Christian context being used in order to advance an agenda for same-sex marriage is worrying. This is because it is my opinion that with the same-sex marriage crusade comes a desire for State and society to approve of homosexual acts and a desire to accord to the act of homosexuality an equality with the conjugal act of husband and wife which is open to the gift of children.

I tried to look at what St Paul said of love and noticed that when St Paul talked of love, it appeared to have very little to do with lust or even sex. St Paul said that 'love is patient, love is kind, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil' but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.'

I do not take exception to the idea that two homosexual men can share a love which is holy and life-giving. I also understand only too well that chastity is a lifelong struggle and one which we can never even begin to attain by our own efforts.

But I have been told in no uncertain terms by a Catholic priest that it is not 'primarily' my concern whether the love that exists between two homosexuals manifests itself sexually. It is at this point at which we must depart in view. For while it may not be my personal concern as to whether a relationship between two men or two women becomes sexual, it is the Church's concern and it certainly concerns Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Salvation of Souls.

Life is a messy affair and we are all aware of it, but let us be clear, there is no 'theology of the body' in homosexual acts. What feels like love is so often not love. If homosexuals are living 'loving relationships' then the homosexual acts are a departure from that love which always seeks the good of another. Homosexual acts are not an expression of love. To say that would be to make the Apostles and their Successors liars. To engage another in the act of homosexuality is always and everywhere a sin that 'cries out to Heaven for vengeance'. The Lord Jesus is not a vengeful God. He is merciful and forgiving and if we are guilty of the sin we would do very well to confess it and take up our Cross once more. Such a sin is an act of gross spiritual vandalism against ourselves and the other just as is adultery and fornication.

There is no reason why with God's grace two men cannot share a deeply holy and chaste love for one another. Like all Catholics, homosexuals are called to be Saints. I apologise if I in any way offended those who either show pastoral care to those in their community who struggle with homosexuality as individuals or as a couple or those who do so. I did not intend to suggest that homosexuals do not show love in any way to individuals who they share lives with. What I intended to say was that with the campaign for 'gay marriage' comes an explicit desire that the State (and even the Church Herself) approve of homosexual acts and rename them under the banner of 'love' as equal to the conjugal act which takes place between man and woman in the context of marriage. Language is important because it feeds into public understanding of right and wrong. Dressing up those things which are wrong as right and just by altering the language in which we describe them is not the business of the State. If it is the business of the State then it is the business of a State which has extended itself beyond its legitimate remit and has embarked upon a road that eventually leads to totalitarianism - especially when those who speak out against the new State orthodoxy are at first pilloried and eventually silenced.


umblepie said…
An excellent and humble post. What you say is absolutely correct. I trust the priest who criticised you for your previous post, will be as forthcoming in his praise for this Post. By the way, for what it is worth, I thought your earlier post very good, although if you will forgive me, perhaps a tad over-long. Nevertheless if I could write remotely as well as you, I would be very satisfied!
KYpapist said…
Bones, I have read your blog for some time and have always been blessed by your loving kindness toward everyone, including those with SSA.
The priest, quite simply, is wrong. If a person suffers from SSA, he must do everything to avoid the near occasion of sin by not living with a "partner" even if they intend to live chastely; and if known to be homosexual by others, to avoid being a source of scandal. You are quite right that the promotion of "same sex marriage" is intended to promote approval of homosexual acts. And if the priest believes that SSA "love" is not all about SSA "lust" and homosexual acts, then he should go to a "gay pride" parade and watch the floats.
Amfortas said…
I wonder....perhaps Fr AS would make a distinction between the internal and external forum...between the public teaching of the church and the need to exercise charity when giving pastoral care. Perhaps Fr AS would clarify.

Either way I do wonder whether it's healthy for your own external and internal life to be quite so fixed on the issue of homosexuality in your posts.

I also wonder at the use of 'SSA' as an alternative to homosexuality or homosexual orientation. There's an odd linguistic transformation going on in some Catholic circles. The church is quite happy with the phrase 'homosexual persons'. Can we please stop mangling our language?
Fr A S said…
Please do not put words in my mouth Mr England. I said that you should not presume to know the nature of another's relationship, nor castigate and condemn them based on those assumptions which may be false. I think it was quite clear what I said. From my perspective it seems that you are deliberately trying to misinterpret and twist my comments to make a defiant point.

Thank you for your comment Amfortas. Thank heavens for some rationale thought. I was indeed thinking of the internal and external forms. If a same sex (or heterosex) couple are involved in sexual relations outside marriage then that is for their conscience to seek and find resolution. It is not the responsibility of Mr England to make assumptions about the nature of their relations or to pontificate on their circumstances. To do so is a sin, let us be clear about that. Neither does doing so bring them any closer to the church's teaching.

Indeed I would agree that Mr England's fixation on gay issues appears like an unhealthy obsession (or what analysts might call a neurosis) which goes beyond a commitment to uphold church teachings. The CDF document on the nature of homosexual relations even acknowledges that for some people in some circumstances a committed same sex relationship may be tolerated as a lesser sin (eg where someone is unable to follow a chaste life and a committed relationship is the only realistic alternative to being promiscious). As the great Cardinal Hume said, all love comes from God and all love should be respected. To deny that homosexual persons do and can love (as you did in your original post) is intellectually and theologically dishonest.

Mr England's postings castigatng homosexual persons pre-date the issue of same sex marriage by some time and many of them are less than respectful, as well as giving opportunity to commentators to spew their hateful bile. Both are symptoms of unacceptable prejudice.

Therefore but for the grace of God, go I....
Fr A S said…
''Bones, I have read your blog for some time and have always been blessed by your loving kindness toward everyone, including those with SSA.''

I do not see any loving kindness or charity in Bone's posts, only quite the opposite. I do not see that he exercises any pastoral or fraternal sensitivy. In fact I'd go so far as to say he appears to seek and cause controversy and pain to those who he directs his posts towards.
The Bones said…
I don't presume to know the state of anyone's sexual life, nor the state of anyone's soul.

All I've done is reiterate the Church's position, as revealed in the Catechism, on the act of homosexuality, not forgetting to mention fornication and adultery and I had thought I had done so, in charity.

I'm very sorry that you feel this way about my blog, Father, but be reassured that you are free not to read it or comment upon it whenever you please.

If I may be so bold, I would rather know what the Church teaches and be unafraid to proclaim it, than be a source of confusion to others in an effort not to offend anyone and to gain popularity.
The Bones said…
I might add, that all that I have said and published is in the public domain and you know my name.

I do not know yours. By all means, sign with your full name, Father, so that your comments can be attributable to a Catholic priest in good standing.

You are clearly convinced of the justice of your cause. Very well, then, put your name to your opinions.
umblepie said…
'please do not put words into my mouth, Mr England' Fr A.S.

I see no evidence of this, Bones has always re-iterated with conspicuous charity and care, the Church's teaching on homosexuality. He has never condemned the sinner only the sin, as did Our Lord. Do not denigrate Bones for having the moral courage to speak the truth. Of course a man may quite properly share a house with another man, and a woman may well do the same with another woman, without any question of an homosexual relationship, and it is right ‘not to assume evil until evil is proved’. But Bones has not fallen into this trap, and has effectively been concerned with, and condemning of, the practise of homosexuality, and the arrogant and dictatorial intention of the UK Government to legalise and legitimise same-sex marriage, despite widespread opposition, including opposition from 90% of the Churches. This threat is the culmination of aggressive political manoeuvering by small but powerful minorities, on the false premise of 'equality', to force onto Society liberal and secular values, some of which are diametrically opposed to Christian teaching and tradition. This is what Bones has condemned, and all credit to him. With regard to the quote by Fr A.S. from Cardinal Basil Hume's book, Bones has said that the Cardinal was referring to brotherly or fraternal love, and certainly not physical, homosexual love, and I agree with him. It is inconceivable that the Cardinal, when correlating human love with Divine love, was referring to physical homosexual acts,clearly condemned in the Old and the New Testament.
Amfortas said…
I do think Fr AS' responses lack charity.
Muriel from seaford said…
Archbishop of Canterbury urges teenage Christians to overcome disgust about homosexuality

June 27th,2012

Dr Rowan Williams,the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury,has urged a group of teenage Christians visiting Lambeth Palace to overcome disgust about homosexuality. The event – entitled “Help,my friends think I’m mad” – included discussions about how the Church is viewed by the outside world.

The Daily Telegraph reports:

In his most frank public comments to date on the subject,the Archbishop accepted that the Church was in a “tangle” over homosexuality. On one hand many Christians may themselves be “wrestling” with their own sexuality while others appeared to display only strong feelings of revulsion,he said.

“What’s frustrating is that we still have Christian people whose feelings about it are so strong,and sometimes so embarrassed and ashamed and disgusted,that that just sends out a message of unwelcome,of lack of understanding,of lack of patience.”

“So whatever we think about it,we need,as a Church,to be tackling what we feel about it.”

I think he speaks a lot of sense! Now I await the enslaught of condemnatory comments!!
The Bones said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Annie said…
"Fr. A S" is one of Damian's trolls.
Fr A S said…
Perhaps these issues are not as black and white as you would like to think. A Cardinal has this to say on the topic today....

The Church must rethink its approach to remarried divorcees and gay relationships, the world's youngest cardinal has said.

Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, 55, made his comments in an interview with the German weekly Die Zeit and said that while the Orthodox Church considers only the first marriage sacramentally valid, divorce and a second marriage is tolerated. Asked whether this could be a model for the Catholic Church, he replied that the Church should talk about it.

Commenting on gay men in relationships he said he tried not to see them as just violating natural law but as people trying to take responsibility for each other in lasting partnerships. "We must find a way of allowing people to live without going against church teaching," he said.