In a country where gay marriage has gained widespread acceptance – both culturally and legally – in the past several years, it can be difficult for pastors or others in ministry to stick to the Church’s teachings on the subject without feeling like a bigot or a hater.
Difficult, but certainly not impossible, said leaders at the Truth and Love conference this week in Phoenix.
The conference was co-hosted by the Diocese of Phoenix and Courage International, the Church’s ministry to people who experience same-sex attraction. Pastors and others in ministry positions from throughout the country came for talks and resources on how better to teach the Church’s truth with love.
“The idea of these conferences is to provide resources, perspective and vocabulary for people in ministry. These are specifically for clergy, diocesan parish staff, or those in fields like psychology or social work – people that are going to be on the frontline of the field hospital,” Fr. Philip Bochanski said, referencing an analogy from Pope Francis, who called the Church is a type of field hospital.
“These are the people who are going to be doing pastoral first-aid and spiritual triage, they’re that first point of contact for people,” Fr. Bochanski told CNA.
Fr. Bochanski has worked with Courage for a number of years, and was recently appointed executive director of the ministry after the previous director, Fr. Paul Check, was assigned as rector of St. John Fisher Seminary in the Diocese of Bridgeport.
This is the second time the ministry has hosted a conference specifically for clergy and those in ministry, Fr. Bochanski said. By and large, these people have good intentions but are unsure of how to share the teachings of the Church on homosexuality with love.
“I think the problem is that the culture says that on this issue, you can’t do both – that somehow being faithful to the Church’s teaching makes you a bigot or a hater, or an unreasonable person,” he said.
“But the culture promotes a misplaced compassion, where pastoral ministers can be afraid to say the wrong thing, and so they don’t say anything, or they speak ambiguously or incompletely,” he said.
Fr. Bochanski said the apostolate has seen a significant increase in interest for local chapters particularly since the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision legalized gay marriage nationwide in 2015. Since then, about 20 new dioceses have expressed interest in starting new local chapters of Courage.
“From a secular, cynical perspective, it would be easy to say the legal issue is decided, the cultural issue is closed, Courage and the Church can just go away,” Fr. Bochanski said.
“But from the perspective of the Church, we’re realizing that it’s becoming impossible not to speak up about this, and I think bishops are realizing the Church cannot just be a church that says ‘no’. And if at times we do have to say no to behavior – never to people – it’s in order to help them say a bigger ‘yes’,” he said.
Full story at Catholic News Agency.
Teaching truth is an act of love!
In love, there is no hate, so as provocative as this article’s title might seem, truth is not hateful.
It is very important, for our Church (and all the Protestant churches, too, in our country) to do their jobs correctly, to teach and form Christ’s truths in their people. The secular world is selfish, ignorant, and sinful, and ruled by the powers of darkness– it has no knowledge of Christ. It is important for Church leaders to form their laymen in Christ, so that they, too, as well as the clergy– can go out into the darkness of the secular world, and bring the light of Christ into it. The Church must stand firmly for Christ’s Truth, and teach it, in all times, all eras, all places, and under all types of conditions. Whatever cultures may exist, on earth, throughout history– it is the job of the Church, to bring Christ to them.
Christ’s Truth is always objective, seeking to help suffering humanity. Those who are dedicated to teaching Christ’s Truths, will uplift and release those trapped in the jaws of the Devil, and bring them securely to a wonderful new life, in Christ! For those trapped in the “LGBT” illnesses– Christ will give them the most wonderful new life in Him, the life that their Creator truly meant for them, in the first place! And He will, in loving faithfulness to all His children — make good on all of His wonderful, heavenly promises to them! Including, with one’s faithful perseverence in Christ, to life’s end– Eternal Life, in Heaven!
LMaria: the Church does not use the word “illness” to describe those who have same-sex attraction. She does not! The Church calls the orientation “intrinsically disordered” which is a philosophical and theological judgment which means that the orientation does not lead to the goods of married life—which are the unity of the sexes and the procreation of children. Please people be charitable in your choice of words by adhering faithfully to the mind and words of the Church! PLEASE!
And you, the same, re. charitable words, mon amis.
There is NOTHING uncharitable about any of the words I wrote above. NONE. However there is a lot of uncharitableness in using the word “illness” when the Church doesn’t even use this word in relation to those with same-sex attraction.
Jon, I agree with you that the Church does not use the word “illness” to refer to LGBT people. You are correct about that. But I do think that Linda maria’s point about LGBT people was actually correct.
Here is what she wrote. I agree with it.
“Christ will give them the most wonderful new life in Him, the life that their Creator truly meant for them, in the first place! And He will, in loving faithfulness to all His children — make good on all of His wonderful, heavenly promises to them! Including, with one’s faithful perseverence in Christ, to life’s end– Eternal Life, in Heaven!”
I think the significant number of gay priests will always make the Church sound hypocritical on this topic.
To hate means to wish to see someone or something destroyed or annihilated. To wish to convert someone so as to (at least) save them from eternal damnation is not hatred. Indeed: in the matter of mortal sin SILENCE EQUALS DEATH.
We’ve already been saved. Jesus, not you, is the Savior.
Only the truth will set you free. Sister Lucia of Fatima was told that the last great battle between satan and the Church will be about marriage. We are witnessing that today. People that proclaim the truth about marriage are being silenced and persecuted. There is only one marriage in the eyes of God, and that is the marriage between husband and wife or man and woman. All else will be the work of the Father of all Liars. The Church should stand firm and proclaim the truth no matter what the consequences are. Be not afraid! Pray America Pray!
The final battle will b a conflict between the Church and the Marxists theologians who hve supplanted the traditionalists. The Church’s troubles go back to the late 19th century and Leo’s Rerum Nivarum where the Church accepted the Marxist critique of capitalism, which ironically is the sole guarantor of religious freedom.
That the “smartest guys in the Vatican” can’t figure this out is stunning.
So it seems that Courage is transforming itself from a personal ministry to gay Catholics who want to live a celibate life, into an organization that has a political agenda. There is a huge difference between the two, akin to converting a rosary guild into a lobbying organization. All the studies that come down the pike about why people leave the Church show that the politicization of faith is a main cause.
That’s interesting if true. Do you have a Pew Reaearch study to valid your claim?
YFC, from your lack of response, it looks like you don’t have a reputable source. Can you cite one that is less than reputable?
Steve, what you should take from my lack of response are two things. One, I don’t maintain a database of everything I have ever read, but I do have a pretty good memory. Two, I am open to alternate data – including ones you might provide – which attempt to get at the heart of why people are attending Catholic Masses in fewer numbers than in the past. If you have data, kindly provide. I am sincere in trying to understand what we are doing wrong. Are you?
So far, I haven’t provided any data because I haven’t made any claims. However, with that said, I recently heard that a major cause of why young adults are leaving the Church is the data phone. Reason: Receiving a plethora of frequent alerts destroys authentic reflection and interiority which is an important ingredient for faith. There’s a book that elaborates in detail. If you’re interested, I’ll try to find the title for you.
But the way, I was interested in your source because I was interested in evaluating it. I still find your claim difficult to believe. Could you possibly be confusing people leaving a parish over a political pastor with those leaving the Church?
Steve Seitz, the Fellow Catholic previously has made claims unsubstantiated by actual reliable surveys, such as his claim that studies show “people leave the Church [due to] the politicization of faith.”
In fact, the most recent Pew Research Survey (Aug. 2016) shows only 4% of those who left did so because “religion focuses on power/politics”, the closest thing to his unbased claim.
The greatest number of people who leave per Pew (36%) is that they are “disenchanted/no longer believe”. Many of the neo-atheists mention “science”, “logic” or “a lack of evidence” for their loss of faith. Hard to blame politics, or…
…”non-acceptance of gay people”, or the abuse crisis, or whatever, for the great abandonment of faith. Not that facts have anything to do with it.
Thanks for the link to Pew. Looking at the data, the main reason, right or wrong, might be insufficient Christian witness in the way we live our lives. The ever distracting data phone might also be an underlying cause.
Steve Seitz: I take to heart your goal of understanding why people have left the pews. I am not not providing my source in any kind of way of hiding it. I am telling you honestly what I have read. I will continue to try to dig up the original study, and believe me, I’m kicking myself for not saving it in the first place. Of course it has its flaws and you are welcome to use good critical thinking to examine it. Please be patient!
I won’t be dropping by this message area too much longer. If it takes some time to find the link, please reply to me in another message area that I’m actively posting in. Thank you.
Steve Phoenix, thanks for providing the link to the pew study.
@Your Fellow Catholic. That’s not the case at all. Courage keeps a considerable distance from anything having to do with politics. It’s just that they are now seeking to serve both individuals and ministers who are impacted in a new way by the political situation.
Mary, I hope you are right, but this statement makes me think otherwise: “we’re realizing that it’s becoming impossible not to speak up about this, and I think bishops are realizing the Church cannot just be a church that says ‘no’.”
Seems to me that speaking up means they are entering the political realm.
If you were there at the conference, you might have a more accurate take on it than I do, since I am simply reading this post.
Your Fellow Catholic – I was in attendance. There is NO political aim with Courage. Only speakers who helped us to understand better where those we minister are coming from , how to reach out , speak to , how to better love those who desire to leave behind unchastity and embrace chastity. Those working with Courage and Encourage need to understand the beauty of The church’s call for chastity for every person. How it is a gift. How it allows one to be free from the chains of sin.
I believe rather than implying that Courage is getting political .. like Mary said – we do need to understand how the ministry of the church / and the culture at large has been impacted by the recent political laws passed. The church can’t just…
Enourage leader: There is a strict limit on the length of comments here on CCD, so you were cut off. Would you like to continue?
YFC, that is not t rue. There are other reasons why people leave, but politicization is not one of the main oens.
Do you have data, Bob One? I think we need to have an open-ended discussion about the reasons, I think you will agree. I am simply relaying the studies I have seen.
In the progressive/Marxist lexicon, being identified as a hater means you disagree w the left’s dystopian vision. So if you are NOT considered to b a hater by these nasty pieces of work, u really aren’t doing ur job…
Rerum Nivarum = Rerum NOvarum…its was the devil…
Great analogies by an insightful Law Professor – Mike Adams
How to Kill Everyone on Welfare (In the Name of Liberalism)
– recent comment made to me by a self-proclaimed liberal was so calloused it deserves a serious response. I will paraphrase =
“I would rather have hundreds of my tax dollars used to abort an unwanted child now than have hundreds of thousands used for public assistance later.”
In case you did not grasp the obvious, that comment is not an example of liberalism. It is an example of eugenics, plain and simple –
– if fascism ever comes to America it will be at the hands of self-appointed Utopians…
The degree of homosexual acceptance in our U.S. is largely in part due to what some believe is a homosexual or perhaps bisexual presidiot residing in the White House these last 8 years and promoting homosexuality through political correctness and labeling hate crimes, abortion, racism and rioting, illegal immigration and voting, terrorism within our borders, communism through the commucratic party, increasing the national debt and unemployment (look at the real figures), and growing dependence on government subsidies to buy voters. Need I identify more? In reality, “We the People” in our nation are fed up with all this evil and stormed the voting booths to show our disapproval/non-acceptance of it all. Truth shows love.
Doug, really, Obama had very little to do with “homosexual acceptance”. The only thing he did was move the African American community in Maryland in their vote on marriage in (I forget exactly) 2012. That’s about it.
More recently he has been a vocal advocate for LGBT rights, but most of the social and cultural acceptance came before he was vocal, not as a result of it.
Your rants about his supposed communism and rioting and increasing unemployment are just simply false. Unemployment, for example, has fallen every year that he has been president. He was handed a crippled economy by George W. Bush and the economy has been enjoying a long, if slow, growth ever since Obama became president.
Wish I had more space to also remind people reading my previous post that under the dictator Obama we also felt his bully pulpit: Obamacare or penalty fees to the IRS and IRS treatment to conservatives such as the Tea Party and other groups!
Truth = Hate ; among those who hate the Truth.
According to the Congressional media in “The Hill”,’ the dictator and crook Obama has granted commutations to 1,385 federal inmates as presidiot, more than the total number given by the past 12 presidents combined’.
Real dictators put their political opponents behind bars, which is something that Trump promised during his campaign. Dictators do not, as a rule, offer leniency towards any kind of criminals, so Bruce, your statement is self-contradictory.
Please stop lying and deceiving any gullible readers. Those of us millions of patriotic Americans who have an independent intellect and search for the truth, haven’t fallen for your leftist lies and willingly drunk the leftist koolaide. Doug is not ranting, but telling the truth.
Brian, please don’t accuse me of lying. Everything I wrote to Doug is absolute truth. Doug is very erroneous in his statements. He might not be aware of that, or intentionally saying false things, but he was wrong about very many things.
In answer to the title: Yes, Yes you definitely can! Love the sinner but hate the sin. Homosexuality is a grievous sin against God, and since it offends God as good Christians who love God we should be offended by the sin and hate it too. St. Paul makes it very clear in our truly Roman Catholic Douay-Reims Holy Bible in Romans Chapter 1 verses 25 to 31 how upset God was with those Israelites who were committing homosexuality and adultery. The real haters are the LGBT community, hateful of God’s commandments. The real lovers are those who want the homosexuals to go to heaven, but know they can’t get there until they please God by repentance, penance, and amendment of their lives from homosexuality.