Saturday, May 30, 2015

What Does the Catholic Church Really Say About Homosexuality?

“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Pope Francis told reporters, speaking in Italian, on the plane returning to Rome from Brazil after World Youth Day in July, 2013.

The Vatican was quick to point out that Francis was not suggesting that priests or anyone else should act on their homosexual tendencies, which the church considers a sin but whether a gay man can become a priest. At one time Bishops did accept gay men for the priesthood but following the sex-scandals in which some priests were convicted of sexually abusing young males it was thought that accepting homosexual men could open the door to more abuse. Since most men in the Catholic priesthood (some priests who have converted from the Anglican Church and, although married, are admitted to the Catholic priesthood) take a vow of celibacy the question of ‘acting on their homosexual tendencies’ is a moot point. A priest, homosexual or heterosexual, is to live a life of celibacy.

What does the Catechism of the Catholic Church say?

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered’. They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

There have been many hypotheses of why people are homosexuals: is it genetic, hormonal or neurological or something else? Although some studies have been done, so far, nothing has been shown unequivocally to be the cause or explanation of why people are attracted to the same sex rather than the opposite sex. Because of this the Catechism of the Catholic Church states that homosexuality's "psychological genesis remains largely unexplained" (CCC 2357).

What does St. Paul Say?
In his Letter to the Roman church (chapter 1:18ff) Paul wrote:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has show it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honour him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.
Therefore, God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonouring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to dishonourable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.
... Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them.”

What Do Others Say?

“Marriage comes with the right to have children. How does a same sex couple get children? Not naturally. They use adoption and commercial third party reproduction, including the buying and selling of eggs and sperm, the renting of a surrogate womb, and creating a special class of women called “breeders.”

“The medical process required for egg retrieval is lengthy, and there are serious medical hazards associated with each step in the process,” said Pediatric Nurse Jennifer Lahl in Jephthah’s Daughters: Innocent Casualties in the War for Family “Equality. Women risk their own future fertility, blood clots, and reproductive cancers. Both surrogates and egg donors die. “Multiple embryos are implanted into surrogates in order to increase the chance of live births. Women are treated as commodities, paid vessels, a breeding class,” Lahl concluded. Multiple children do not survive the process. It’s the old game of kill a baby to get a baby.”

The Vote in Ireland
“This “culture war” election was conducted under extraordinary conditions that have never been seen anywhere before in the West. As we described in our pre-election article virtually all of the effort to pass “gay marriage” in Ireland came from massive funding from the United States.”


The Holy Bible.  San Francisco: Ignatius Press. 1966.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church.  Toronto, London, New York: Doubleday Publishing Group.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Hill of Crosses

In 1831 in Lithuania, simple hill covered with weeds was transformed into a memorial to those who had been killed or deported to Siberia during an anti-Russian uprising. People began to put up crosses and soon hundreds of crosses covered the hill. During subsequent wars and persecution crosses on the hill continued to multiply over the years.
The Soviet Era (1940-1990)
After WWII when the Soviet authorities took power in Lithuania, people’s freedom to worship was severely curtailed. Again people were sent to cold and miserable conditions in the work camps of Siberia for minor disobediences. As crosses appeared on the hill, the new Communist government declared the place ‘forbidden’ and trespassers were punished. At one point authorities destroyed the crosses in order to extinguish the ‘ religious fanaticism’.
In 1956 people started to return home from Siberia. In thanks to God for their return and in memory of the torture they underwent, they again planted crosses on the hill. The site not only symbolized resistance to violence but also their faith in God.
In 1961 the Soviet government bulldozed the area, burned the wooden crosses and buried the stone crosses. The government destroyed the hill four times. Once in frustration at the appearance of new crosses they flooded the area turning the hill into an island. One cross was put up with the inscription ‘Jesus, do not punish the villains for they do not know what they are doing.”

A Place for Pilgrims and Tourists
After the end of Communist rule in Lithuania (1990)the Hill of Crosses continued to grow. Today pilgrims and tourists from all over the world come to see this emotional site. Many visitors leave a cross behind as a prayer for someone. The total number of crosses is estimated at 100,000 but that number increases every day. In 1993 Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass at the site and left a cross.
The Hill of Crosses is both a symbol of heroic resistance to Communist atheism and a symbol of Lithuanian faith in God and freedom.
The Hill of Crosses is located northwest of Vilnius near the city of ƾiauliai. Within walking distance is a large Franciscan Monastery (built in 2000) where Masses are regularly held.
Wright, Kevin J. Catholic Shrines of Central and Eastern Europe. Liguori, Miss: Liguori Publications. 1999
Varanka, Antanas. Kryziu Kalnas (Hill of Crosses). Vilnius:Leidykla Anvara. 2009