November 8th, 2011
12:22 PM ET
My Take: Why good Catholics are challenging church line on homosexuality
Editor's Note: Patrick Hornbeck is an assistant professor and associate chair for undergraduate studies at Fordham University.
By Patrick Hornbeck , Special to CNN
The Roman Catholic Church has long been a reliable source for one-dimensional storylines: Victims of sexual abuse call for justice. Parishes close as numbers of clergy plummet. Rosary-clad Catholics protest outside abortion clinics.
Perhaps nowhere has the storyline seemed more clear-cut than with regard to the church’s treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and their relationships.
Official Catholic teachings describe gay or lesbian orientation as “an objective disorder” and tell those who love their same-sex partners that they possess a “tendency… toward an intrinsic moral evil.”
Catholic bishops have been public advocates for laws banning same-sex marriage, and some have sought to prevent LGBT Catholics and their allies from fully participating in the Church’s rituals and activities
But neither formal teachings nor bishops’ statements tell the whole story.
A series of recent conferences at American colleges reveals the breadth of Catholic approaches to issues of sexual diversity.
The conferences, part of an effort called More than a Monologue, have happened at two Catholic universities and two non-denominational divinity schools
The events conclusively show that American Catholics are hardly of one mind, nor in lockstep with their bishops, when it comes to same-sex marriage; to rights for LGBT people at home, at work, and in church; or to the ongoing campaign against anti-gay bullying in schools.
At Fordham University in New York, a Catholic school, a proud mother of a grown gay son drew a standing ovation when she told a story about discovering the effect of church teachings on her child.
Here’s that mother, Deb Word, who has founded a group Fortunate Families to help Catholic families with lesbian daughters and gay sons, in her own words:
Fast forward to a family vacation in the Gulf. There were five of us floating—Sean and his wife, Chris, and his dad and me, holding onto each other’s rafts. And I said, ‘I think this is what Heaven is like.’ And Christopher said quietly, “except I won’t be there with you.” “Son, where do you get this stuff?” “Mom, it’s your club. You know the rules.”
And if my cradle Catholic child, growing up in a loving family, got this message, then what does Catholic mean in more conservative homes? … And I wonder, why do I stay in a club that my son says is dangerous to his soul?”
Another panelist at the event described the freedom she feels as a result of living, within the church’s rules, as a celibate lesbian.
A third, a physician in New York City, praised the Catholic tradition for its emphasis on human dignity and social justice, but added: “I am troubled by the fact that I find greater acceptance of myself as a whole person in my professional community as a physician, than I do in the official hierarchy of the church of my family, my childhood, and my life.”
At the same time, he refused to let the church off the hook for the part he accuses it of playing in tacitly condoning the bullying of LGBT youth.
Last month, at Yale University, a Catholic layman who teaches psychiatry spoke movingly of his attempt to offer church leaders the wisdom of his scientific field, and of his bitter disappointment when his offers were met with silence.
And at Connecticut ’s Fairfield University, scholars, clergy, and lay Catholics recently discussed the implications for the church of having many gay and lesbian people, both in and out of the closet, in roles as priests and ministers.
These public events have brought into the light the struggles, compromises and choices about meaning and love that many Catholics experience daily.
Poll numbers show that while many of their bishops have been stepping up their rhetoric on the issue, only one-in-three American Catholics describe opposition to same-sex marriage as “very important.” Seventy percent support legal recognition for same-sex couples.
All of us, Catholic or not, LGBT or not, owe it to ourselves and our fellow citizens to keep these new conversations going. Let’s not to settle for only part of the story.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Patrick Hornbeck.
About this blog
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.
Has anyone mentioned to these folks that belonging to the catholic church is voluntary? If they don't agree with the church then why not find one they do.
Al, there is no doubt your not a Catholic, most Catholics are not biblethumpers, they follow the teachings of Christ and pretty much ignore the bible. They can change you say? It's not like shopping for cereal, but you wouldn't understand anyways...
All religious people are delusional and pathetic. It's time to grow up.
You just generalised an entire group of people you degenerate imbecile.
I wish I could catch you in real life. That would be fun. =)
That's a really ill-informed and juvenile comment. You'd best go and watch 'Transformers' and come back when you've grown up enough to join an adult discussion.
@KS: yes religion is for brainwashed, delusional people who are so scared of life and death that they make up stories to appease their fear. Come "catch me in real life"....you'll have a .44 in your mouth and ill send you to whatever god you pray to.
Proof that almost all religions are wrong: 90% of religions state that God is a loving and forgiving God, but that only true believers of their faith who accept Jesus will go to heaven. Everyone else goes to hell. Since no religion has more than about 20% of the world's population, then the loving and forgiving God plans to save 20%, and forget about the other 80%. Also, this same Loving and Forgiving God will let a peaceful wonderful Hindu like Mahatma Gandhi, who freed his Indian citizens via peaceful protest, Mahatma goes to hell.
I cannot accept the teachings of any religion, when they preach that the vast majority of good peaceful people in the world are going to hell, and a relatively small group of "true believers" will be rewarded with heaven. This does not sound like a loving God to me.
I have decided to worship in my own way. I believe in a God that accepts ALL religions as just different paths to the same truth. In my religious world, even the old Norse vikings with their many Gods and the Greeks with their many Gods still found a path to truth and righteousness.
To MissouriBoy – Most people I have encountered who bash the Catholic Church's positions begin with a pretty significant lack of understanding of the true position – which is quite different to what they are actually criticizing. Add yourself to that list.
What you believe in a God of your own creation, insteading of honoring the true God who made you. You don't get to pick and choose who God is. The next time you create your own Universe then you can advise God on how to run His. Until then, you are under His law, and you will be judged according to what you do. You don't know the opportunities that He has offered other people, or what they have accepted or rejected. And nothing that happens to anyone else is going to matter one bit when you stand in front of God and give account to Him. Christ died for you, for me, and for all people, so we could be reconciled to God and obtain eternal life. If you reject His pardon of your sins, you are going to have face God on your own merits, which means you will be found guilty. God is love, and He is also Holy, which means He is a God of justice. He isn't going to fail to punish sin, but He is merciful so He gives everyone a chance to repent. If He wasn't loving, He wouldn't give anyone that chance. No one is going to hell except unrepentant sinners. Those who never heard the gospel will be judged based on they acted according to their conscience.
Everyone thinks their particular brand of religion is the "true" one.
I think the phrase "My sh doesn't stink!" is highly applicable to religion...
One can observe SO much about people's characters by how they say that their "god" behaves.
"Those who never heard the gospel will be judged based on they acted according to their conscience."
@J – and you know this ... how? I mean, you're telling others that their god is a product of their own mind – yet you're here telling us the thoughts of god. How do you know?
I believe every religion is praying to the same Almighty God, he just revealed himself in different forms on Earth.
So you think its totally possibly that the creator of the cosmos decided to appear as a drunken rabbit?
"You don't get to pick and choose who God is"
Yet you are some all knowing human that has the power to pick and choose the "true" god? whatever.
"I believe every religion is praying to the same Almighty God, he just revealed himself in different forms on Earth."
you obviously know nothing about ALL religions. try again.
Accepting their kind is a sin in the eyes of the Lord. It may be pleasurable here on Earth, but what about their souls? Is hell where they wish to spend eternity?
Your hate, HeavenSent, apparently knows no bounds. I feel sorry for you and for your sad miserable life. Your insatiable need to try and put others down while propping yourself up just exposes your insecurities. That you ever talk of other's egos is laughable. Someone clearly scratched Matthew 7:5 out of your bible.
let's put a little logic into this, ok? According to YOU.... "god" made all of us ... even the LGBT community. He knew they were going to be gay, yet did absolutely nothing to stop that. "he" is supposed to know ALL, right? ok then, he knows they are gay .. so why would "he" punish them for being gay? After all, this "god" made them ... right? Ifthis "god" of yours wants it to stop, then tell "him" to come on down and correct it. Only there's NOTHING to correct .. people are people, and you can't change that.
Go f yourself
Do people who call others fools end up in Hell as Jesus said could happen?
All the phonies writing their rage to the phony heavensent's post. Too predictable.
Have any of you read Romans 3:1-31. Good read.
I believe HS is so deep "in the closet" that there is no hope s/he will ever stop hating...
"Accepting their kind is a sin in the eyes of the Lord."
Yep. That sure applies to the MUCH MUCH LARGER number of adulterous Christians who remarry.
Keep the HYPOCRISY alive and pick on the MUCH SMALLER number of gays committing an "abomination" like eating shellfish.
They believe in a God they made up, instead of the God of the bible. It is clearly an abomination to God, but apostate Christians love the world more than they love God. It is a sad situation when society embraces sin openly, even worse when it legislates it. These are evil days we live in.
There is no difference between the god they made up and the god of The Babble.
Yes. So what do you want to do about the much greater number of Christians who can legally remarry, thereby committing adultery?
@J – I hope you don't wear cotton blends and I hope that you haven't ever had se.x with a woman during that time of the month – because those are all equally an abomination to your god.
Stone any disobedient children lately?
"They believe in a God they made up, instead of the God of the bible. It is clearly an abomination to God, but apostate Christians love the world more than they love God. It is a sad situation when society embraces sin openly, even worse when it legislates it. These are evil days we live in."
you do realize that the god in the bible is made up too, right? That men created god to control people using fear? read a book other than the bible.
"t is clearly an abomination to God"
LOL this coming from someone who states it all needs to be put into context. LOL! Let's see what is an abomination, oh, that's right, greed and not being hospitable, idolatry, and paganism. No where in the bible does it condemn the saved loving gay partnership.
This is between people and God – whatever life they choose here on earth, they shall reap its rewards or punishments after death. If so many people believe in God, then why do they live their lives as if they do not?
There is no proof to indicate that people do anything but decompose after death.
This is just another example of the utter hypocrisy of religion? you can "love thy neighbor" only if that person is straight, white, employed. and you can carpo.ol to church with him. Other than that ..... yeah golly gee whiz, we'll just pray for that person's soul to burn forever in the hell we believe in. I'll wait for the day when a gay or lesbian couple move in next door to heavensent or luther. ... welcome to the REAL world you idiots, and if you don't like it .. then HEY... create your own "rapture" and just disappear from our sight, ok?
Mirosal, I have gay neighbors. So much for your venom you spew. It irks you gays that you can't convince salty Christians of your carnal ways.
@HS, do your neighbors know you hate them?
Here HS goes with the carnal again. She's a very dirty girl.
@HS: Could you provide a copy of your professional degree proving that you know what you speak of and have studied what exactly it is to be gay? Until then you are a bigot (the word is not an insult when you attack a specific group of people, it is reality). And btw: Mirosal is not gay and even if he was, how does that affect your life directly?
Satan is the LORD of this world now and he has corrupted the church..Read the Book of Revelation and the letter to the 7 Churches all of them are corrupt except the Church of Philadelphia...The church that honored the laws of GOD and led a clean christ centered life that helped the poor and a church that never twisted the Bible and corrupted the scriptures....Jesus said in the Book of Revelation if anyone add's or takes away from this book, I will blot there name out of the Book of Life.....
How about we just blot out your ENTIRE book .. all 66 chapters .. so the rest of us can live our lives without some inane fear of an invisible sky-fairy who will punish us if we don't do what IT wants. Go ahead, send your "god" my way .. I'll deal with "him". While you're at it, ask Zeus and Apollo and Isis and Thor to join "him" .. let them all show up on my doorstep. If your "god" truly is omniscient, he'll know where I live. I'll be waiting. Your "god" will show up at the same time as Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy .. maybe they can all carpool?
The irony. Philadelphia is one of the worst places on this planet. Have you not seen the movie called "Philadelphia" starring Tom Hanks?
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE GROUND.
TaraP, Good post but there are 2 churches that have always followed Jesus' truth (the Church of Philadelphia and the Church of Smyrna). All others do not teach Jesus' truth but the logic of man.
BROKEBACK, you watch too much TV. Turn off the tube and open Jesus' truth (the Bible) to read His wisdom for His truth will set you free.
This is as good a place as any to remind believers that it is highly unlikely that there are any gods, or Satan or angels or leprechauns or unicorns. The Babble is just bad fiction and you are merely arguing about the rules of the world's largest fantasy role playing game, not dealing with reality. You are welcome!
People like TaraP and HS are so afraid of their own mortality that they will scapegoat others and allow them to be punished simply because they are a minority. They are all about punishing others. Look how happy they are that Jesus was tortured to death so that they don't have to be responsible for their own actions? What is it about some christians and their sociopathic need to hurt others?
If you don't like the rules of the "club" don't be a member. Start your own club. Martin Luther did.
I say this as a recovering Catholic: WHY STAY IN THE CLUB? You have a choice, religion is a choice (after the brainwashing), stop choosing this destructive "lifestyle". Why endure all of the guilt, the shame, the second guessing and the hypocrisy? Quit. Get out. Stop your downward spiral. Life is so short, enjoy what's left of yours!
The Catholic Church affords a person a unique and amazing way to experience Jesus. Please stop referring to it as a "club".
The Church has a right and duty to voice its beliefs.
There are many Catholic haters, as evidenced here.We will say a prayer for you and accept you.
The picture is pretty vile.
Dzerres, you babbled "I say this as a recovering Catholic: WHY STAY IN THE CLUB? You have a choice, religion is a choice (after the brainwashing), stop choosing this destructive "lifestyle". Why endure all of the guilt, the shame, the second guessing and the hypocrisy? Quit. Get out. Stop your downward spiral. Life is so short, enjoy what's left of yours!"
Answer: Those of us that love and follow Jesus' truth aren't riddled with guilt, shame or on a downward spiral. Your guilt, shame and feeling that you are on a downward spiral is due to REFUSING to rid your life of your carnal sinful mindset, beliefs, outcomes. Get a grip with assuming others feel the same as you.
Sue, an amazing way to experience jesus eh? How is that? Which boring ritual offers this splendor?
At the risk of sounding like HS, Dzerres... Amen!
Sue, two people kissing is vile in your world? That is narrow, bigoted and unfortunate viewpoint.
I agree – "club" is not accurate. "Cult" is much more applicable.
The Catholic Church affords a person a unique and amazing way to experience Jesus. Please stop referring to it as a "club".
The Church has a right and duty to voice its beliefs.
There are many Catholic haters, as evidenced here.We will say a prayer for you and accept you."
When the church starts paying taxes it then has rights. Its beliefs are based on fiction and are damaging (check out the number of pedophiles it protects). Prayer is not proven to do anything more than make us rational minded people think you're delusional and in serious need of help for speaking to your childhood imaginary friend. We don't hate anyone per say, just the book they follow and what it teaches.
"Please stop referring to it as a "club"."
replace "cub" with "cult" and you hit the nail on the head.
Sue, you and your club sure appear to be experts on what vile is since it is not any kind of love that you are practicing!
God asks us to love unconditionally. Love unconditionally – always. As a life long Catholic with a gay son, that is what I have chosen to do. I pray that others can learn to do the same.
Good for you. Your son is fortunate.
Kathy, I hope you ensure that your son reads and comprehends Jesus' truth. You will do no good for his soul or yours with carnal logic on His Wisdom.
Well done, Kathy. What kind of faith would ask you to hate the one you should love the most?
You're son must be so happy to have such a great mother. I am a firm believer in the Catholic Church and agree 100% with what you're saying, love UNconditionally. Always keep in mind that the Bible in all its infinite wisdom and moral teachings is, at the end of the day, written by man not by God.
-Peace be with You-
Ignor the all-consuming hatred in HS. Practice the Golden Rule, which apparently HS has never heard of.
Oh, I think that HS has both heard of and follows the golden rule – HS just has a lot of self loathing.
The golden rule (which by the way has quotes of Jesus listed) was compiled for the non-believers to read His wisdom.
I'd rather go to the source (the Bible) and read, comprehend and abide in all His truth.
There's no chance of HS following the Golden Rule if she calls people "fools" and NEVER mentions it in discussing gays.
Oh, HS is following the Golden Rule all right:
"The one who has the gold, makes the rules."
Why would any upstanding person want to be associated with a group that practices deviant criminal behavior and then harbor the criminal child molesting perverts in their midst. I'm speaking of the Catholic church, of course.
It's those who have let evil into their lives who have also let it find its way into the Catholic Church. Calling for recognition of something that goes against the laws of nature? Against God's laws? This is where true Christians and Catholics needs to pray to discern the true path God has asked us to follow. People in the church are not immune to evil – humans are weak. We must rely on God and our faith for strength.
" Calling for recognition of something that goes against the laws of nature?"
Care to define those laws. And several hundred other species define your nature's laws. And god's laws? This would be the same god who advocated executing disobedient children and forbade people from wearing, say, cotton blends?
I'm not sure what SurRy is saying, but if he/she is saying that religion is unnatural, I won't argue.
ThinkForYourself, you continue to babble your nonsense by posting "" Calling for recognition of something that goes against the laws of nature?"
Care to define those laws. And several hundred other species define your nature's laws. And god's laws? This would be the same god who advocated executing disobedient children and forbade people from wearing, say, cotton blends?"
Answer: I find it amazing what scriptures horrify non-believers! Christians that comprehend and abide in His truth do not question said scriptures because we overcame carnal thinking, believing, living. Also, your cotton blends means sewing your clothe of righteousness. If you do not conduct yourself righteously while housed in the flesh, when you die, you'll find yourself with a small swatch of cloth showing your sinful carnal nature on the wrong side of the divide in paradise.
I hope you enjoy summer school because you non-believers have a rude awakening when you die and go back to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ when you die.
"Christians that comprehend and abide in His truth do not question said scriptures because we overcame carnal thinking, believing, living"
What a joke!! Paul said that people should stay single, but if they couldn't control their lust, they should get married. Read it sometime. There's sure plenty of Christians who apparently can't control their lust. LOL.
If someone has the urge to screw children or animals, then that should be permitted too. Right? If you want to be accepted for anything and everything you do, then you are looking for the disintegration of Religion (like this article), and you would prefer moral relativism. If you believe in God, then look at your anatomy and realize you were made to procreate and create a family.
Most people prefer moral relativism, then there is no God, and there is no universal truths/morals; everything you do and say is okay=> moral relativism.
Are priests screwing animals now too?!
"you were made to procreate and create a family."
Tell that to Jesus, John the Baptist, the Pope, priests, nuns, monks, etc. Hypocrisy.
"If someone has the urge to screw children or animals, then that should be permitted too. Right?"
Being gay isn't the same. Figured that out yet?
There's a term that grown-ups use: Consenting adults. Until you figure that out, perhaps you should avoid personal contact with others.
You're welcome. Just speaking a factual truth.
Oops, posted in the wrong spot
These aren't me. Nice try stalker.
AWWW Thats just sick. Why couldnt they just show them holding hands. So nasty and unnatural!!!!!
Quit your whining
Then don't look, jerk.
I love the image. Very sweet.
this author could not be further from the truth with his narrow expsoure to cathoics. The vast majoriy do NOT approve of it. His few conferences he refers to are a small minitorty of catholics, and most rebellious against other Church teachings.
History and nature have always shown this is unnatural. What purpose does nature or biology use sperm in a man's mouth or butt? none. Unnatural, and frustration of it's natural function. These people need help not condoning of unnatural acts.
All catholics are idiots and morons anyway.
Tell us that there are no "unnatural" acts by heteros.
Thank you! That was very nice of you.
You're welcome. Just speaking a factual truth.
"this author could not be further from the truth with his narrow expsoure to cathoics. The vast majoriy do NOT approve of it. "
You're either ignorant or your lying. A study by the pew research forum shows that more catholics support gay marriage than oppose it.
None of these posts are mine. Just fyi. Just a fan.
Man this is one gay religion
Haha! Very funny!
The nitty-gritty of gay se-xual activities:
Lots and lots of "gays" doing their hot and heavy things on Internet tube sites but nothing about coin flipping, who is on first, and sanitizers sites?? There must be some "Gaying It For Dummies" books out there somewhere. Hmmm, I wonder if said books/sites have to have FDA and CDC approval??
Is said activity wrong and worthy of a trip to hell? Of course not but to the general heterose-xual population it is yucky, unusual and not normal to them. With that mind set, approval by the majority is not always sanctioned in law.
The general population to include many of the voters in California, rightly or wrongly, find gay se-xual activities, married or not, to be "yucky" and unusual and typically associate. Such activity is associated with the spread of AIDS which is of course wrong. Said AIDS epidemic in the gay male community at the start of the AIDS crises will always remain unfortunately a stigma on the gay community.
And after all of this rhetoric, gay "marriages" simply simplify and somewhat sanitize what are still acts of mutual masturbation caused by a variant gene(s) and/or hormone imbalance. One wonders if stem cell research will find a cure??
Hmmm, would the embryos formed from the sperm of gay guys and the eggs from gay gals make more ethical embryos for this and other types of research?? "
Again, from below, on top, backwards, forwards, from this side of the Moon and from the other side too, gay se-xual activity is still mutual ma-sturbation caused by one or more complex issues. Some defects are visually obvious in for example the complex maleness of DeGeneres, Billy Jean King and Rosie O'Donnell.
Yes, heteros-exuals practice many of the same "moves" but there is never a doubt who is the female and who is the male.
Returning to the religious aspects:
"Abrahamics" believe that their god created all of us and of course that includes the g-ay members of the human race. Also, those who have studied ho-mo-se-xuality have determined that there is no choice involved therefore ga-ys are ga-y because god made them that way.
o The Royal College of Psy-chiatrists stated in 2007:
“ Despite almost a century of psy-choanalytic and psy-chological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heteros-exual or hom-ose-xual orientation. It would appear that s-exual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of ge-netic factors and the early ut-erine environment. Se-xual orientation is therefore not a choice. "
"Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab state in the abstract of their 2010 study, "The fe-tal brain develops during the intraut-erine period in the male direction through a direct action of tes-tosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hor-mone surge. In this way, our gender identi-ty (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and s-exual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender ident–ity or s-exual orientation."[8
Of course, those gays who belong to Abrahamic religions abide by the rules of no adu-ltery or for-nication allowed.
And because of basic biology differences said monogamous ventures should always be called same-se-x unions not same-se-x marriages.
Actually Reality, AIDS is on the rise again (linking it with TB). It's been since the 1970s and the virus has mutated as do all viruses.
1 Corinth 2:14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment:
16“For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?”d
But we have the mind of Christ.
If you have the mind of Christ, then Christ sounds like he could use therapy.
SICK!!!! that is all I can say about that damn Picture of a MAN KISSING A MAN on CNN NEWS,,,, SICK... SICK.... SICK..................I AM GOING TO THROW UP.....
What is sick is that stupid looking photo below the normal gay guys.
Anyway, don't you watch tv or go out anywhere? Gays are FULLY accepted by everyone now.
Your bigotry makes me want to vomit.
LW, before or after you're done rubbing one out to the photo?
tallu, no one asked you for your hate.
It's a bit provocative, but it's not nearly as disgusting as you make it out to be.
There are professionals who can help you with your phobia and nausea.
all who behave unrighteously are an abomination to the Lord.
Well HS, I guess the entire human race is an abomination 😉
No one asked for your inanity fred, yet here you are.
Any posts by fred are not from fred ignore any posts made I just came on line for the first time tonight.
Fair enough, fred. Didn't sound like you, but I'm in a cranky mood tonight. Sorry if I insulted you.
Sigh, read and comprehend Romans 3:1-31 for His answer.
"Sigh, read and comprehend Romans 3:1-31 for His answer."
Yes you are a liar and only read the bible from your prejudice mind full of hate and bigotry. Yet you continue to throw stones at gays while you continue to sin. What a hypocrite.