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Homosexuality & The Catholic Church | Testimony | Grade 8


Note: This is an audio file. Video file available upon request. Email info@pursuitoftruth.ca

Here are the comments from the organizer of the session:
Thanks so much for being with us, even if virtually  today.  I think it went really well with the class.  They especially  loved the analogy of the burger at the end.  I began the process by  simply asking the children the question “Who am I?”, to which they gave a variety of answers.  A dancer, a gamer, a hunter, someone who likes  sports but doesn’t like getting off the couch were all answers that were given by the students.  We then discussed a little bit as to whether  those things were defining characteristics of who they were, or if they  only revealed something of who they are.  Anyways, needless to say,  thank you so much for taking time out of your night to do that for us,  you are a great inspiration.  I have attached the  questions that the students (and some teachers) filled out.  I will  answer some of these questions and I will be scheduling a time to go  into the classrooms and answer their questions.  I thought I would give  you a chance to take a stab at some of them, especially the ones that  pertain to your individual story.  
Please comment of whichever ones you  like.  I put all the questions down as is, as well as the jokes, just in case you want a laugh.  Although some of them are pretty corny, there  are some gems in there.  Once again, thanks so much, I owe you. – Father G.

Here are the comments from the students:

Students were all given paper and pencil and asked to write a  comment, question, or a one-liner joke, so that no one would feel singled out in asking a question.

Jokes

What do you call a sleep walking nun? A Roaming Catholic.
Why did the mushroom go to the party? Because he was a fungi.
Why did the plane crash? Because the pilot was a tomato.
What did the red light say to the car? Don’t look, I’m changing.
What did the wall say to the other wall? Meet you in the corner.
Why do seagulls fly over the sea? If they flew over the bay they would be called bagels.
What do you call a centipede and a parrot? A walkie talkie.
What do you call a left-handed dog? A southpaw.
Lettuce taco ’bout your burger.
A guy enters 10 puns into a contest, but… No-pun-in-ten-did.
What does a secret agent pig write with? Invisible oink.
What did the burger say to the hot dog? ‘Sup Dog.
Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side.
3 guys walk into a bar, a priest, a gay guy and a straight guy. They all sit down and have a beer because they are all just people.
Knock knock. Who’s there? Me. Me who? Don’t be mean, I’m not an owl.
What do you get when you cross an elephant and a fish? Swimming trunks.
Why did the fat chicken cross the road? To get hit by my car.
A blueberry says to a green grape, I’m blue if I was green I would die.
Why does Cinderella suck at soccer? Because she always runs away from the ball and her coach is a pumpkin.
Why can’t monkeys open bananas with their noses? Because they can’t.

Response: I thought all the jokes were great – especially the one with the tomato pilot.

 

Questions or Comments

How was your burger? Did you get fries? Do you like food? I love food. Tacos. – I didn’t end up eating the burger – after I finished filming, I doused it in more ketchup and the ketchup smelled funny (it was pretty old) so I ended up throwing it out. Burgers come and burgers go… sigh… that is the cycle of life. Tacos… you can’t lose with a good taco.

Did you eat that cheese?
The cheese on the on the burger? Not sure what you are referring to, but if it was the cheese on the burger, no I didn’t – I had to chuck the burger – see above response.

Happy Easter!
Thank you! Please keep me in your prayers and I too will pray for your whole class. God bless you.

Will you go to heaven even if you’re gay?
What I think you are trying to ask is “Can you go to heaven if you experience same-sex attractions?” If this is true, then the answer is “yes”, and it is no different than someone asking “Can you go to Heaven if you experience opposite-sex attractions?” The reason is because the variable is simply the attractions we have been permitted to experience, without specifically choosing to experience them. Because we do not specifically choose our attractions (regardless of what they are), we know that the existence of our attractions is not in itself, “a committed sin”.

On that note, that does not mean we should take pride in our sexuality and that we should self-identify and define ourselves according to that single facet of who we are (pride in itself, is a sin because it is a glorification of self, which is contrary to the virtue of humility). It just simply means that we should acknowledge our attractions and or inclinations for what they are, while recognizing that we are more than our sexualities, and that even if we do experience same-sex attractions, we still have a very important role to play in God’s plan…and that role will be one in which we will be the living example of striving to exemplify Christian virtue (chastity and humility, among others). This is not a special treatment directed towards “gay” people (people who experience same-sex attractions), but rather is a call for all persons.

If you are asking whether a person can go to heaven if they, on purpose (specifically choose) to self-identify and define themselves according to their sexual attractions and or inclinations, then we need to examine the matter of specific choice, and where a person puts their relationship with God in that specific choice of how they see themselves. Do they place their sexuality above their relationship with God in how they see themselves? Or do they place their relationship with God above their sexuality in how they see themselves?

Remember, our sexuality is merely one facet of who we are (a very important and fully integrated facet), and since we ourselves are a part of finite creation, it means that our sexuality is also a part of finite creation, because our sexuality is a facet of who we are – the point being, we (including our sexualities) is finite. However, the Creator of our universe is greater than all that which is finite (everything in our universe, up to and including our universe itself). Since we know that “that which is infinite” is greater than “that which is finite”, ordering our relationship with God (who is finite) above our sexuality (which is finite) in how we see ourselves (in how we specifically choose to self-identify and define ourselves), is not simply something we are invited to do because “the Church says so”, but is rather something we are invited to do in order to be more completely honest with ourselves about what is actually true. That is, if we elevate God to be greater than sexuality, then we reflect a greater degree of truth and self-honesty for we are upholding the logical truth that the infinite is greater than the finite; or “that which does not come to an end” is greater than “that does come to an end”.

So ultimately, how we self-identify and define ourselves matters greater, because regardless of our attractions or inclinations, we all have the ability to specifically choose to order infinite God above finite creation, or not.

Now, to answer the main part of the question: Will I get to heaven if…? Only God knows what is on your heart, and we have to remember that our faith is a journey. There is not a checklist of the things you need to do “to get to heaven”, other than one thing: strive to put God first in your life in all ways. That is, strive to live in this world, but not be a product of this world. The Creator of our souls, God, invites us to journey towards Heaven, which is an infinitely greater reward than anything we could achieve or experience here on earth. Why? Because Heaven is God’s Domain – you get to hang with the infinite (and be fulfilled to the infinite degree), instead of being stuck in this world seeking fulfillment in the finite (or stuff that will come to an end).

None of us have a guarantee that we will get to Heaven, but that is why we strive to pursue truth and uphold that which is true, so that we can we live our lives according to that which is true.  Most of the time that will lead us to being at odds with the ways of the world, which basically say “do everything to satisfy yourself”, and “you are the only person you need”. No one can live a joyful life in complete isolation – we need each other so that we can walk together – especially when all the pressure is to turn away. We are able to specifically choose to walk together into deeper relationship with the Lord, and the Lord will be the judge of your heart. But don’t forget, because He is infinite, His love for you is bigger than any sin that you might commit – so please do not fall to the false idea that the Lord God could never love you because of something you did, or because of something you have experienced.

So… will we get to heaven? I don’t know, but I do know that being open to growing in Christian virtue is on the right path because being open to growing in Christian virtue is the ordering of God above self. That is, the ordering of God above is reflected in one’s increased openness to growing in Christian virtue (including chastity, which means including a chaste self-concept). One day at a time my friend, your eternal reward awaits you. Rise up and take your place in His plan!

Are you sure 1 + 2 = 3?
Within our universe, stripped of any context, we believe this to be true. Outside of our universe though, we cannot assume that it is true, or that the underlying logic would hold, exist, or rather exist according to the same circumstance. Think about it, if 1 + 2 = 3 in our universe, that means there is some law in our universe that makes it true – yesterday, today, and probably tomorrow. However, that which is greater than our universe (the Creator of our universe) need not be subject to those laws . Why? Because if God is greater than our universe and is the Creator of our universe, then God is the author of those laws. If you authored a book, you could make changes or overwrite something, could you not? If we as finite creation can do that, how can we say that God, as infinite Creator could not?

If you eat that burger do you think you will be happy?
Not really – the burger was getting kind of cold and gross. Plus I put some rotten ketchup on it and had to throw it out.  I am already a pretty happy guy – more joyful than happy though. Joy is where it’s at…that when the soul is shining bright. Sometimes we can be joyful, but not happy. Don’t get them confused. Strive for joy…happiness will follow. Strive for happiness, and you will be on an endless search to refill the happy-cup.

I thought God created us to have children. Is that one of the challenges of being gay?
This is a good question. Your question would apply to every person who has chosen to strive to live a holy and chaste life, such as Jesus Christ, a number of the Apostles (perhaps all of them), and Bishops, and every priest. The idea that “our purpose to have children” is true, but as you know, God calls us each into different vocations. Children are a great offering to the world, and the children you have could change the world – one person at a time, or even in the form of a world leader! But to link “doing God’s Will” to equal that we must have children is not entirely true. However, if we have faith and truly love God, and are honoring our vocation of chaste spousalship (aka being married), we will be motivated by our love for God, to come together, in love and self-sacrifice, to bring new life into this world and to raise and teach the children as best as they know how and are able.

The point I am trying to make is that this is not a “gay” thing, but an everyone  thing, and the challenge isn’t that same-sex relationships are  structurally closed to new life, but rather, all persons are  structurally open to growing in the virtue of chastity. A holy  relationship is open to the virtue of chastity (and all other virtues).  All persons, regardless of their sexual attractions and or inclinations  are called to strive to be the living examples of that virtue.

The other thing I would like to bring up is that your question seems to  imply that if someone experiences same-sex attractions, God would not  have the power or the ability to place a person of the opposite sex onto their heart. Many many many people believe that this would be  impossible – especially adults. This unfortunately is a belief that says “God has no power”. I am not referring to anything having to do with  the idea that people should “change their sexual orientation” or  anything like that, but rather I am simply saying that we need to be  open to the reality that God can do anything – which means that God can, if He wills it, place a member of the opposite-sex onto the heart of a  person who experiences same-sex attractions, and lead them into Holy  Marriage (and family). I personally know a number of people whom this  has happened to – and one thing links them all – and that is their  openness to continuously grow in the virtue of chastity, and to see  themselves first and foremost as beloved children of God (the chaste  self-concept).

These people are contradictions in our world,  because our world says that it is impossible. Our world says that it is  not possible for God to place another person onto the heart of another  person. The world says that people do not specifically choose their  attractions (which is true), and says that attractions just ‘come”  (which is also true), but then says that only a certain type of  attraction is possible for a certain person, by saying a person of the  opposite sex cannot be placed onto the heart of someone who experiences  same-sex attractions.  The world tries to make us think that some things are not possible, when in fact they are. In this way, the world is  promoting false ideas, as truth (and I invite you to investigate this,  because I know that people generally don’t like being lied to).

These people I know – they have come to see themselves in a different way – not as “gays”, but rather first and foremost as beloved creations of God – who are still honest with themselves about the existence of their attractions and or inclinations. They do not run from their attractions, nor do they seek to “change” their attractions. They have simply chosen to open themselves to growing in the virtue of chastity, and to embrace a chaste self-concept, out of their love for Jesus Christ. Their anchor of fulfillment is now him, and their joy is found in growing in deeper relationship with Him, and in growing in His virtues (including the virtue of chastity). The thing is, as they have grown in their prayer life, they have become more and more open to God’s Will for them, and to be open to what God can do.

At the very least, we need to make sure to investigate what the world calls “truth”, to ensure that it is actually truth being upheld. Here is the truth that the Church upholds: that which is greater than our universe can overwrite anything in our universe, including that which is written on our hearts.  To be closed to that idea is to say that the Infinite Author Creator of our universe is not greater than the finite authored creation. The world wants you to believe that, but the Church invites us to be open to that which is true, and to thus be open to what God may place on our hearts.

Sorry I couldn’t think of one but this is a sensitive and important topic for me.
Remember, God loves all of us as his precious children, regardless of our attractions and or inclinations. He invites us all to grow in the virtue of chastity (and other virtues) not so that we “miss out on life”, but rather so that we can live a life of joy, instead of a life containing a cycle of seek-and-not-find, searching for fulfillment everywhere except through Him.  God’s love is infinite, ask Him for the strength to be the living example of a holy life in this world – you may reach hearts that others might not be able to reach. Surround yourself with people that will help you grow in a chaste self-concept, and be very aware that the world will try to get you (and others) to embrace an unchaste self-concept, so that you will be more likely to see yourself through a different lens – the lens that says “being straight/gay” is who you are.

The world wants people to label each other in this way because it re-routes our journey towards fulfillment from being oriented towards God (who can provide infinite love), to being oriented towards ourselves and coming to fruition in who we perceive ourselves to be, while self-identifying and defining ourselves in a way that elevates sexuality to be above God.

We can grow in holiness and be the living example of what it means to be a faithful Christian, simply by striving to grow in the virtue of chastity. All of us who are choosing to put our relationship with Christ first, walk together in that journey. God loves you and He has created you for this time and place – do not forget that – and there are so many people who need to know that God loves them, and is open to them exactly where they are at in their lives. You can be the living example of that love and virtue.

Is it considered a sin if you are gay? If so, is it a very bad sin?
We need to be careful to not label people as “gay” or “straight”. That is the product of our culture that says we should self-identify and define ourselves in that way, even though it does not accurately or completely reflect the fullness of who we are as persons. With that being said, our attractions and or inclinations are not specifically chosen, and thus their mere existence is not a committed sin. However, if we entertain any form of thought that compromises the purity of our hearts (I will leave you to think about what that means), then we are committing a sin – because we are engaging a deliberate act of the will – we are doing it “on purpose”.

Please know that many people out there are fixated on homosexuality, when really they should be looking at a bigger topic-  the topic of sexuality in general. The reason for this is because the “very bad sin” that our world has committed (and promotes as a normal way of living), is the sin of specifically choosing to close oneself to the virtue of chastity. In other words, the sin of being unchaste – in heart (emotional, in body (physical), and in mind (in self-concept).  The more people come to know the beauty of the virtue of chastity, through good example, the more people will see the joy that abounds within it. It is hard though to see the joy of chastity when the virtue of chastity is made to seem like a punishment or something for losers.

I can promise you this – the virtue of chastity when embraced, can protect your hearts and the hearts of your future spouses (one for each person of course), so that when you finally meet your spouse – if that is God’s Will, you will be able to give the wholeness of yourselves to each other, in a near unbreakable bond. This not only matters for you and your future spouse, but also for your future children, for you will be bringing about a circumstance in which there would be a very high probability of stability, which as many of us know with our own lives is a good thing to have in the home.  Sadly many of us are left trying to figure out “what happened” and “how could I have done things differently” when our parents split up… it is not something that we should have to deal with at your age. Imagine if you could take steps to help prevent having your own children have to face those emotional situations….would you take those steps?

On that note, it might be interested to you in is looking into the divorce rates of couples who strive to practice chaste living. Those studies are generally pretty eye opening.

Why is it so hard to admit something to your friends because you’re afraid of what they’ll think of you? For me it was because I really desired to be loved and accepted. That’s common amongst most all of us. We also know that in grade 8, not everyone acts with maturity, so we also need to be careful with what we tell, and to who. We also need to make sure that if we tell someone, we are very clear to them that we are talking about the existence of our attractions (I assume that is what you are talking about), and that we are not talking about a way of self-identifying and defining ourselves. Remember, we live in a world that has built into the language that there is no difference between our attractions and or inclinations, and the way in which we should self-identify and define ourselves.

We are dealing with a world in which many people will want the best for us, and will try to help us in the best way they know how (this is a good thing in itself). The problem is that many of the adults will associate your “coming out” about the existence of your attractions, with a “coming out” that “you ARE gay”. Remember, identity labels are a big deal – they form our self-concept, and how others see us as well. If someone tries to have you embrace that identity, because they truly believe “it is what you are supposed to do”, you can be a bold example of the greater truth that you can choose to not self-identify yourself in that way, while still being perfectly honest with yourself about where you are at. That is, you can be perfectly honest with yourself about the existence of your attractions while specifically choosing to embrace a self-concept that is not anchored on only one facet of your being.

Many people of the world will think that it is crazy, but that is because they have not yet learned that attractions and identity are not the same thing. They might also reflect their investment into the way of thinking that everyone should be labeled “gay” or “straight” or somewhere in between. I simply invite you to continue to see yourself for more than that, and to be honest with yourself about the existence of your attractions, however, while also being honest with yourself that you can choose God above your sexuality in how you choose to self-identify and define yourself, and also being honest with yourself in acknowledging that God permits everything, and that it is entirely in His power to place a chaste-seeking spouse on your heart if it be your calling. That chaste seeking spouse will be a person who embraces a chaste self-concept – they will see themselves first and foremost as how God sees them, as His beloved child, and they will be looking for someone who also embraces a chaste self-concept. Perhaps that might be you? It begins with maintaining an openness to growing in the virtue of chastity.

I don’t know why it happens to me always?
I am not sure how to answer this question. Perhaps we can come to realize that just because something bad happens to us, it doesn’t mean we are getting the bad deal. Look at Terry Fox for example – he had something very bad happen to him. he got cancer, and instead of turning inwards, what he did is made a difference in this world by offering himself for others – by exemplifying strength, resilience, and leadership. It doesn’t matter the circumstance, we can use our lives to be the living example of the virtues of Christ, and in doing so, we can ignite the hearts of people to come alive in a journey towards greater understanding of everything they choose to pursue.

But it is tough sometimes – because it doesn’t seem fair. God does not will evil to be done, but He permits it to be done, by virtue of how He has chosen to create us. We all were created with the ability to exercise free will. Some people however, use that in ways that serve self instead of serve God, and in serving self, we often exploit or hurt others.

I will pray for you, and I really ask for your prayers too. That is something no one can take away from us – our ability to pray. And when you feel like you don’t want to pray, or that it is really hard to pray? That can often indicate that your prayers are needed the most. The dark side wants you to stop paying. It’s time we stopped giving him what he wants.

How did your parents react?
I was very blessed to have parents that reacted in a way that is very loving. I have friends who have been disowned, written out of wills, and all sorts of other things. They knew that I was talking about the experience of the attractions…and they too know that they are not something specifically chosen. I see myself first and foremost as how God sees all of us – as a beloved son (daughter I suppose if you are a girl lol). My parents know that, and they know I am offering my life joyfully to help other people come to know that God loves them too. I am very blessed, and thank God every day for the family I have. I did have to explain a ton of things to them though… that was not the most fun, but when it was all done and explained, it was the greatest feeling ever! I did have to assure them that “it wasn’t their fault” and that I was going to continue to strive to grow in holiness with the Church community (I recommend this for anyone).   How did you find out your sexuality? Its a long story, and it involves more adult themes. If your parents permit, I could send my story to them.

At what age did you discover your sexuality?
I was nine. But that meant my mind was rather fixated on it for a long time. I had to learn to break a lot of habits. Today I perceive sexuality in a way more holy and awesome way than I ever did before. I say that to help you understand that what I have gone through has made me not only learn more, but also appreciate more. So much so, that today I desire with all my heart to continue to grow in the virtue of chastity – and I do this with great joy!

I think it was a good speech. I learned how God loves us for who we are!
That is awesome – now if we could only share that with more people!!! So many people are out there thinking that God doesn’t love them!! It is heartbreaking – but we can be the difference! God loves us where we are, and invites us to pursue a deeper relationship with Him.

What is finite?
To say something is “finite”, means that is has an ending point. That which is finite, comes to and end. Also, because it comes to an end, it means it had a beginning. That which is finite has both a beginning and an end. Our universe is finite. We are finite, because while our souls last forever with God, we still had a beginning. All of creation within our universe is finite, because our universe is finite.

We all know that “infinity” is goes on forever… so we know that the infinite is greater than the finite, which does not go on forever. And because the infinite is greater than the finite, it follows that “that which is infinite” can provide more than “that which is finite”.  Hope this helps clear this up. It might be good to listen to the presentation again, with this understanding in mind. Thank you for your question.

I am very happy to see the Church is becoming more open-minded and talking about homosexuality – God loves us all!
I agree. It is tough though because we have to remember, not all priests are experts in all things, just as not all other people are experts in all things. In fact, the more I learn about this topic, the more I learn how little I know.  I have come to the point where I realize that if there is anything good or of truth that I might help people understand, then truly it is by the grace of God, and not by my own doing. Truth belongs to the Author of truth, and the Church is here in our world simply upholding that which is true, and I am simply offering what I can, to help clarify some difficulties that exist in addressing this topic. At the end of the day, indeed God loves us all! The question is whether or not we choose to love him back – love Him above ourselves that is.

I just want to say thank you for being open to tell us about your personal life.
Thank you. If but one person was moved to pursue this deeper, and or came to know that they truly are loved by God and that they do belong in the Catholic Church, and that we are all called to grow in the virtue of Chastity and humility (among the other virtues), then all glory be to God. That might be one future canonized saint – and I don’t ever want to lose sight of that.  I thank you for your prayers, sincerely from the bottom of my heart. God bless you!

Thank you for your faith in Christ and living out your sexuality under the Lordship of Christ.
Thank you for your words and prayers. Please know it is because of the faithful community of the Church, and by the grace of God, that I am able to share with you where I am today. If anything good is to come from this, let it all be directed to Him for His glory. God bless you!

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