Here is an interesting and important comment we received to our post of January 4 on Most Holy Redeemer:
"Mr. Cooney, I lived for thirty years in the homosexual world before I came back to the Church. When I was in the process of deciding whether I could accept what the Church teaches on homosexuality I realized that I had made it my own god, and just as St. Paul says, all sin is form of idolatry. But there does seem to be something more idolatrous about homosexuality. Perhaps it's because it is not just a single act of sin, or even a whole series of acts that are sins. After all, an alcoholic indulges his sin all the time, yet alcoholism, though a form of idolatry, does not become a religion in the same way that homosexuality does. Maybe it's because that alcoholics and other sinners do not convert their behaviors into something to be praised. Anyways, I'd like to know what I can do to reach out to the community of people with SSA? I already write on-line a fair amount. But where else do you think I could be helping people who are trapped in this death-style?"
How much is packed into this short comment!
First, God bless you for your effort. May you be an example to all of us who are struggling with our own particular sinfulness!
"But there does seem to be something more idolatrous about homosexuality... Maybe it's because that alcoholics and other sinners do not convert their behaviors into something to be praised."
You hit the nail right on the head. The issue at MHR is not that people are sinners--the number of sinners in any church is 100%. The issue is that at MHR we have an entire church denying that one particular sin is not only not a sin, but is something to be celebrated. In fact, as you say, the issue is idolatry.
As to the question: what can you do? It sounds to me like you are already doing the best thing--living your life in accordance with the teaching of the Church, preaching the truth, and meeting our same-sex attracted brothers and sisters with love. If we can reflect the love of Christ the Holy Spirit will do the rest. And don't lose heart. You are living proof, and you are far from alone! If there is a "Courage" apostolate in your diocese, they could probably use your help. A happy, thoughtful person living in accord with the teaching of the Church is the best evangelization.
What is quite upsetting is that this commentator, and other same-sex attracted Catholics like John Heard and Eve Tushnet are being largely left to carry this burden by themselves. At least in our Archdiocese, those responsible have been unwilling to address the issue. For whatever reason, over the past 30 years the Archdiocese of San Francisco has been passive, at best, and now we see the result. Openly same-sex "married"and "transgendered" lectors, acolytes, and Eucharistic Ministers serve Mass and trumpet their "marriage" in the pages of the Archdiocesan newspaper. It is clear that the Archdiocesan approach, if it can be even be called that, has failed. And most importantly, that failure includes causing scandal to those who, like our commentator, are struggling to live a chaste life, but perhaps lack his fortitude.
I understand that if the Archdiocese ever insists on Catholic teaching at MHR, MHR will lose the vast majority of its parishioners. (according to the San Francisco Chronicle, in 1998 90% of the parishioners were gay). It might have to close. But at some point this will have to happen, and the point is not keeping buildings open, it's the salvation of souls.
Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney