EWTN Catholic Q&A
Catholic Teachings
Question from SJ on 02-02-2002:

Email from a friend who wrote for a prayer request on this site and the Catholic Rev. reply. It is lengthy but I didn't know where to go with this or how to verify his order and what he states as factual. You can ans me by email and not post if desired.

Is this Rev Salvato and his order sanctioned by the RC church? Would you please state errors in his statements below. Should he be reported to a higher authority?

Thank You. God Bless, SJ

---- Original Message ----- From: Br. Gianmichael Maria Salvato, CFI To: Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2002 6:17 PM Subject: Re: A slice of the Culture and Family Report

... they fall on deaf ears. As a gay man, I have addressed the American Catholic Conference of Bishops, speaking on AIDS ministry. As a gay man, I have served on the parish councils of a number of Roman and American Catholic churches, as a ministerial liason to their AIDS ministries. Like most depraved "ex" (yeah right) gays, you misstate the truth at every turn: In the mid-1970s, the Catholic Church recognized the difference between being homosexual and engaging in homogenital (same-sex) acts. The Catholic Church holds that, as a state beyond a person's choice, being homosexual is not wrong or sinful in itself. But just as it is objectively wrong for unmarried heterosexuals to engage in sex, so too are homosexual acts considered to be wrong. So until a time when narrow-minded fundamentalist and deluded homosexuals (ie, "ex"-gays) realise that we have no legal OPTION for marriage. "Practicing" homosexuality will remain a matter of our own relationship with God and the decision to move on that.

The Church also teaches understanding and compassion toward gay and lesbian people. In their 1976 statement, To Live in Christ Jesus, the American bishops wrote, "Some persons find themselves through no fault of their own to have a homosexual orientation. Homosexuals, like everyone else, should not suffer from prejudice against their basic human rights. They have a right to respect, friendship, and justice. They should have an active role in the Christian community. The Christian community should provide them a special degree of pastoral understanding and care." In 1990, the U.S. National Conference of Catholic Bishops repeated this teaching in their instruction, Human Sexuality.

In 1997, the U.S. Catholic Bishops released a Pastoral Letter entitled Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers, directed to the parents of gay and lesbian Catholics. In this document, the bishops briefly addressed lesbians and gay men, saying, "In you God's love is revealed." The letter also encouraged families to remain connected when a member revealed his or her homosexuality, and called for the establishment of ministries sensitive to the needs of gay and lesbian Catholics and their families.

Besides appealing to Scripture and Tradition (constant Church teaching), the Catholic approach to morality also relies heavily on human reasoning. The argument from natural law is a prime example. Other instances are the study of the human sciences or attention to people's personal experiences.

But arguments from natural law are inconclusive, for the nature of human sexuality is debated. Procreation is certainly one aspect of sexuality. Yet the Catholic Church allows marriage between known sterile couples and sex between couples beyond child-bearing age. Moreover, Catholic teaching has recently emphasized the unitive aspect of sex loving, caring, interpersonal sharing. Is the biological or the personal the key aspect of sex among human beings?

Similarly, the human sciences provide no universally accepted conclusion, but the majority opinion is that homosexuality is a natural variation, biologically based, fixed by early childhood, in no way pathological, and affecting about 6% of the population in virtually every known culture. (This 6% includes both the exclusively and the predominantly homosexual.) Likewise, while some may condemn practicing homosexuals as Godless and sinful, contemporary lesbian and gay Christians recognize their self-acceptance as a graced moment and report that, since coming out, they are happier, healthier, and closer to other people and to

As for your gross and evil attempts to misinterpret scripture:

It is not easy to summarize briefly the body of research on homosexuality in the Bible. But these are the interpretations that most contemporary biblical scholars are proposing: The story of Sodom in Genesis 19 is about offense against the sacred duty of hospitality. That is how Ezekiel 16:48-49 and Wisdom 9:13-14 interpret this text. The attempted male rape only heightens the atrocity of this offense.

Leviticus 18:22 does forbid male-male sex as an "abomination." But the word simply means an impurity or a religious taboo like eating pork. As in the case of Catholics who used to be forbidden under pain of mortal sin to eat meat on Friday, the offense was not in the act itself but in the betrayal of one's religion. The ancient Jews were to avoid practices common among the unclean Gentiles.

Romans 1:27 mentions men having relations with men. But the terms used to describe them are "dishonorable" and "shameless." These refer deliberately to social disapproval, not to ethical condemnation. Moreover, according to Paul's usage, different from the prevalent Stoic philosophy of the day, para physin ("unnatural") would best be translated "atypical" or "beyond the ordinary." So it bears no reference to natural law. And it can imply no ethical condemnation because in Romans 11:24 God is said to act para physin. Paul sees gay sex as an impurity (see Rm. 1:24), just like uncircumcision or eating forbidden foods. He mentions it to make the main point of his letter, that purity requirements of the Jewish Law are not relevant in Christ Jesus. See L. William Countryman, Dirt, Greed, and Sex.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:8-10 list arsenokoitai among those who will be excluded from the Reign of God. This obscure term has been translated "homosexuals" but its exact meaning is debated. It certainly does not include women but only some kind of male sexual offenders. If it does refer to men having sex with men which is dubious it must be interpreted in light of the abuse and licentiousness commonly associated with male-male sex in the Roman Empire. See Robin Scroggs, The New Testament and Homosexuality.

Finally, Genesis 1-3 shows Adam and Eve created for mutual companionship and procreation. These accounts use the most standard of human relationships to teach a religious lesson. The point is the love and wisdom of God, who made all things good and wills us no evil. Nothing suggests the biblical authors intended a lesson on sexual orientation. So as you march onward with your evil little plan... ask yourself if you even have a CLUE what the Church really teaches? Official Catholic teaching requires that homosexual people abstain from sex. But the Catholic Church also teaches solemnly that people are obliged to form their conscience carefully and responsibly and to follow it as the bottom line in every moral decision.

Neither Scripture nor Tradition nor natural law theory nor human science nor personal experience convincingly supports official Catholic teaching about the immorality of homogenital acts. Accordingly, and after much soul-searching, many gay and lesbian Catholics have formed consciences that differ from official Church teaching and have entered into homosexual relationships. In this respect they are exactly like the many married Catholic couples who cannot accept the official teaching on contraception.

In 1975 the Vatican published a Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics. One of those questions was homosexuality. A principal author of that document was Fr. Jan Visser, C.Ss.R. In an interview published in the January 30, 1976, edition of L'Europa, he said: "When one is dealing with people who are so deeply homosexual that they will be in serious personal and perhaps social trouble unless they attain a steady partnership within their homosexual lives, one can recommend them to seek such a partnership, and one accepts this relationship as the best they can do in their present situation." One of the very men who formulated the Vatican teaching that homogenital acts are wrong allows that in certain individual cases one may not only permit but even recommend a homosexual relationship.

Similarly, speaking about Catholics who dissent on Church teaching about contraception, the Canadian bishops wrote in 1968: "Since they are not denying any point of divine and Catholic faith nor rejecting the teaching authority of the Church, these Catholics should not be considered nor consider themselves cut off from the body of the faithful."

My suggestion is that you ask yourself, if you are such a "good Christian"... how many homeless people did you feed today? (I fed close to 100 in Woodruff park as we do each week, with a group of gay men and women). How many people dying with AIDS have you personally held in your arms and prayed with in their hour of death? (Since 1981, I have had that privilege with over 209 people.) When it was cold last month, how many homeless people did you buy blankets for? (Our gay prayer group purchased and distributed 36 of them.) How many little children did you make wool caps for on the streets? (Each year, we make dozens.) How many parents have you brought to reconciliation with their gay children? (Each year, the number of families we help foster acceptance and healing with numbers in the dozens.)

Now just WHO do you think is REALLY following the Gospel Mandate of Jesus Christ? In three years of public ministry, Jesus (a man who lived in loving relationship with twelve men) never saw fit to even MENTION homosexuality, let alone the kind of venomous judgement and hatred you spew under the guise of "love".

Better let you go... you have to write your letters to my superiors!

In the love of Christ for ALL His children,

Rev. Bro. Gianmichael Maria, CFI Minister General Order of Franciscan Companions of the Immaculate

Brother F. Gianmichael Maria Salvato, CFI Brother Guardian - Provincial

Our Lady of Grace Friary Province of St. Francis & St. Clare PMB 609 - 1579 Monroe Drive, Suite F Atlanta, GA 30324 Compassionately serving the exiled people of God, engendering an environment of reconciliation, healing and acceptance in the context of authentic Catholic Spirituality.

Copyright 2002 Order of Franciscan Companions of the Immaculate; All rights reserved.

Answer by Dr. Warren Carroll on 02-02-2002:

Your post is excessively long, and you never make it clear just what you are asking me. So far as I can tell, the brother's statement represents sound Catholic teaching on homosexuality, which is that homosexual FEELINGS are not sinful, but homosexual ACTS are sinful. - Dr. Carroll