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Dissent Trumps Faith in New “Catholic” LGBT Film

via Crisismagazine.com

by Rachel Lu

“Human beings procreate male-female, but human sexuality isn’t just about that. It’s about so much more, which is self-evident.”

So says Fr. Patrick Conroy, chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives, at the outset of a recently released short film promoting the normalization of LGBT lifestyles within the Catholic Church.

The film is entitled “Owning Our Faith,” which is richly ironic in ways that the director, Michael Tomae, surely did not intend. Except for Catholic writer Eve Tushnet (a complicated case, whose work has been discussed on Crisis in the past), all the featured participants clearly and openly dissent from Catholic teachings on sexuality. They are indeed interested in “owning” their faith. But the ownership they seek is of a distinctly proprietary nature.

There’s little point in trying to refute the film’s arguments as such, because there really are none. If the word “Catholic” were omitted from the audio track, almost nothing would suggest to a listener that the content of the film had anything to do with the Catholic tradition. There is no serious discussion of theology or doctrine. The quote from Fr. Conroy above is the closest it ever comes to “engaging” the Church’s teaching on sexual ethics. It’s clear throughout that the individuals featured are not interested in learning what their faith might have to teach them. As they see it, they are the teachers, appointed to remake the Church in their own image.

Thus we see Fr. Conroy lamenting that gay and lesbian Catholics cannot be “fully participating in the sacramental life of our Church.” In case anyone is unclear as to what he means (because of course, experiences of same-sex attraction do not exclude anyone from full participation in the Church’s sacramental life), this is juxtaposed against “married couple” Matt and Rick Vidal discussing why they choose to remain “faithful Catholics,” despite criticism from their LGBT friends. “We are the Church,” declares Rick, “and if we leave it, if we abandon the Church, then it’s never going to change, so we have to continue living here, being an example, and encouraging other people to be that example, because that’s what’s going to change the Church.”

Is there anything these men like about Catholicism as it is? Any reason not to seek out one of the (numerous) other communities and churches that would be happy to affirm them in whatever sexual lifestyle they might choose? They don’t say, and neither do any of the other featured speakers. Here and elsewhere, we are left with the distinct impression that most of them remain in Catholic communities primarily as a favor to the rest of us, so that we can benefit from their gifts and unique insight. A review of the film at National Catholic Reporter stated that, “Not every viewer will agree with every opinion expressed in ‘Owning Our Faith,’ but only the most rigid of believers would question the love these Catholics have for their church.” At the risk of joining the ranks of the rigid, I do indeed feel moved to ask: what do these Catholics love about their church? They don’t tell us. We only hear about what needs to change.

It’s difficult to argue with a film that isn’t working on the level of rational argument. Nevertheless, it’s worth responding to the general thrust and ethos of the film with three important points.

The first relates to the claim, made on the film’s website and in other promotional materials, that productions of this sort are created as part of an effort to “promote open dialogue” about same-sex attraction and related issues. This is exactly the opposite of their intent, and it’s important to be clear on this point. Propagandistic videos of this sort are intended to bypass, or even to shut down, any real or serious discussion of the moral dimensions of same-sex attraction.

In a dialogue, morally relevant issues are stated clearly so that they can be analyzed and considered. What we have here is a long string of emotional appeals. “My gender transition was immensely spiritual to me,” says Mateo Williamson, who self-identifies as a transgendered man. “Sexuality is how we express our inner soul, our inner energy,” enthuses Mike Roper who self-identifies as gay. In a particularly shameful piece of emotional blackmail, grandmother Nana Fotsch urges parents of same-sex attracted Catholics to accept their children’s declared sexual identity and related lifestyle choices or “you’re going to lose them.” (Don’t all of Christianity’s hard teachings have the potential to alienate us from loved ones? Shall we just jettison the whole Catechism right now? Our Lord has some rather stern words about those who prioritize family relationships above the truths of the Gospel.)

Though there’s nothing Catholic about its message, Owning Our Faith pursues a strategy that is entirely consonant with a larger (and thus far, remarkably successful) progressive project. Don’t try to win the argument about sexuality and marriage. Play for sympathy. Appeal to emotion. People today are so thoroughly confused about sex and marriage that they have few defenses against an onslaught of politically loaded sentimentalism. And you can’t lose an argument that you never have.

This leads us to the second important point. Uncomfortable as it may sometimes be, loving people just doesn’t entail approving everything they do. Neither should we accept anyone “exactly as he is,” because of course all of us are sinful, fallen and in need of transformation by grace.

This is not a message that these “owners of faith” want to hear. Katie Chiarantona, one of the film’s representative “straight” contributors, sums up the film’s prevailing view even more neatly by declaring that she cares enormously about the place of homosexuals in the Church because she has many LGBT friends and, “it is unconscionable and unthinkable for me to support an institution that doesn’t celebrate them and encourage them to live fully as who they are.”

Who among us can really say with any confidence that we know who our friends (or we ourselves) really are? This is a dangerous conceit. None of us here below have yet realized our perfected state. Most of us, I expect, still have a significant way to go. But progression towards supernatural fulfillment is not possible if we begin by issuing ultimatums to God about the conditions under which we will accept divine grace.

Such an effort brings to mind the parable of the wedding banquet, in which a king invites all and sundry (including the poor and commoners) to his son’s wedding, but ends up evicting one guest owing to a lack of appropriate wedding attire. Quite obviously, the king in the story is not a philistine when it comes to standing on ceremony; he’s just ushered the local riff-raff into the most formal of state affairs. Nevertheless, the guest who refuses to dress properly is forcibly removed. Clearly there is a lesson about the importance of accepting grace on God’s terms, and not our own. All of us are welcome at the Lord’s table, but we may not simply come as we are. Being Christian means looking for faith to change us, not the other way around.

This leads to the final point. While there is some space for discussing the appropriatepastoral response to deep-seated same-sex attraction, the Church’s broader position on same-sex attraction is perfectly clear. It is intrinsically disordered, and homoerotic relationships are immoral. There is no reason to think that this teaching can, should, or ever will change. Quite the contrary, once one understands the Catholic position on sexuality, it becomes clear that it cannot possibly be tweaked in such a way as to allow disgruntled LGBT activists the affirmation they seek.

Fr. Conroy’s position, as stated in the opening quote, is a straw man. Of course no reasonable person supposes that sexuality is “only about” procreation, if by that we mean that sex should be viewed in a coldly clinical light as a utilitarian means to achieving pregnancy. Clearly, erotic love involves far more than that, and how could it not, given the magnitude of what procreation really is? To even begin to do justice to that tremendous good (the begetting of immortal souls and perpetuation of the human race) erotic love must be a noteworthy thing indeed.

However, the Church has consistently maintained that erotic love, at least among mere humans, must be ordered towards procreation. Every effort to slice and dice the relevant pieces of the conjugal package into more-palatable portions (by sanctioning sex without marriage or marriage without permanence or erotic relationships of multiple sorts that are intrinsically closed to life) has been rejected by the Church, and for good reason. Embracing the life-giving nature of sex is the key that enables Catholics to articulate a noble, elevated and meaningful portrait of erotic love, which makes sex into something more than a tangled mash-up of bodies and emotions.

The conversation that dissenting LGBT Catholics (and their “straight allies”) want to have is already over. On some level they know this, which is why they seek sympathy instead of engagement. But there is some good news. For those who really do love their Church, full participation in its sacramental life is always available. They need do only what all Catholics are expected to do: stop trying to fix our faith, and pray instead for it to fix us.


Kresta in the Afternoon – April 1, 2015

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on April 1, 2015


4:00 – Media Bias and the Indiana RIFRA Case: A Firsthand Account

Ave Maria Radio’s Teresa Tomeo was interviewed by a local TV station last night about Indiana’s Religious Freedom law. She presented her view reasonably and logically; the excerpts of the interview that aired made her sound confused, stubborn and close-minded. Teresa joins us to talk about her side of the story and how the media is once again warping the facts.

4:20 – How I became Putin’s #1 Enemy

Bill Bowder’s life story sounds like something out of a Tom Clancy novel. He began on the South Side of Chicago and ended up in Moscow, making his fortune in investment funds after the Soviet Union collapsed. He exposed corrupt officials who were robbing from his companies and Vladimir Putin had him expelled from the country. And that’s only the beginning of the story. Bill joins us today.

5:00 – An Abortion Activist Threw a Molotov Cocktail at Me  

Late last month a pro-abortion activist threw a Molotov Cocktail at a group of pro-lifers outside a Planned Parenthood. The event has received almost no coverage from the mainstream media. Today we’re talking to Ruth Allwein, who was in the group that day.

5:20 – Narcissism Kills: A Lesson from the Germanwings Disaster

News outlets have been reporting for several days that Andres Lubitz suffered from clinical depression and had received treatment for it several times. They speculate that his depression is what drove him to commit mass murder. But is that a reasonable conclusion? Does depression really lead a person to fly a plane into the side of a mountain? Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons joins us with another theory.

5:40 – Dissent Trumps Faith in New “Catholic” LGBT Film

We’ve previously discussed “Owning Our Faith,” a highly sentimental expose of gay Catholics intended to shift perceptions of Church teaching on sexuality. Today we’re joined by Rachel Lu to talk about the views presented in the video.


St. Teresa of Avila Continues to Teach Us Today, 500 Years Later

by ANN SCHNEIBLE Via National Catholic Register

VATICAN CITY — On the 500th anniversary of St. Teresa of Avila’s birth, Pope Francis praised the Spanish mystic and reformer for her witness of self-gift to God, as well as her particular relevance during this Year for Consecrated Life.

The worldwide Year for Consecrated life began Nov. 30, 2014, and will continue until the World Day of Consecrated Life on Feb. 2, 2016.

“How much goodness does the testimony of her consecration — born directly from the encounter with Christ, her experience of prayer as continuous dialogue with God and her community life, rooted in the motherhood of the Church — do for us!” the Pope said, according to Vatican Radio’s translation.

In a March 28 letter addressed to Father Xavier Cannistrà, superior general of the Order of Discalced Carmelites, the Holy Father wrote that it is providential that the anniversary of the saint’s birth should coincide with the Year for Consecrated Life.

St. Teresa of Avila, the Holy Father said, “shines as a sure and attractive model of total self-giving to God.”

Born March 28, 1515, in Avila, Spain, St. Teresa is known as a mystic and reformer. Entering the Carmelite order in 1535, she became disillusioned by the laxity of monastic life within the cloister and committed herself to reforming the order. She is considered one of the founders of the Discalced Carmelites.

During her lifetime, St. Teresa wrote several important works on the spiritual life, such as Interior Castle and The Way of Perfection. Canonized 40 years after her death, in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV, she was declared as one of the first female doctors of the Church in 1970 by Pope Paul VI.

St. Teresa of Avila remains relevant for consecrated men and women, Pope Francis wrote, as demonstrated by her prayer life, her proclamation of the Gospel and her understanding of the importance of community life.

Describing her as “primarily a teacher of prayer,” the Holy Father said that “the discovery of Christ’s humanity was central to her experience.”

For St. Teresa, prayer arose in all occasions, not simply in times and places of seclusion, the Pope said. Moreover, she believed that “continuous prayer” — even when it was imperfect — had value.

“The saint asks us to be steadfast, faithful, even in times of dryness, personal difficulties or urgent needs that call us.”

The “concrete proposals” and methods of prayer left by St. Teresa offer “us a great treasure to renew consecrated life today,” the Pope said.

“Far from closing us in on ourselves or leading us only to inner balance, (they) always make us start again from Jesus and constitute a genuine school to grow in love for God and neighbor.”

Pope Francis went on to describe St. Teresa as a “tireless communicator of the Gospel” at a time when the Church was in the midst of difficulties. Instigator of the “Teresian reform” of the laxities demonstrated by the Carmelite cloister in which she lived, she demonstrated a “missionary and ecclesial dimension has always marked the Carmelites and Discalced Carmelites,” he said.

“Even today, the saint opens new horizons for us, she calls us to a great undertaking, to see the world with the eyes of Christ, to seek what he seeks and to love what he loves.”

Finally, St. Teresa recognized the importance of “authentic community life” in sustaining both prayer and the evangelical mission, the Pope said.

Warning against “the danger of individualism in fraternal life,” he added, the saint commends those living in community to place themselves “at the service of others,” with a humility consisting “of self-acceptance, awareness of one’s own dignity, missionary courage, gratitude and trust in God.”

“Teresian communities are called to become houses of communion, capable of witnessing to fraternal love and to the motherhood of the Church, presenting to the Lord the needs of the world, torn by divisions and wars.”

Pope Francis concluded by imparting his apostolic blessing, praying that the Carmelite community’s “witness to life” would allow “the joy and beauty of living the Gospel to shine and attract many young people to follow Christ closely.

Kresta in the Afternoon – March 30, 2015

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on March 30, 2015


4:00 – Why Won’t Governor Pence Say Yes or No?

We’re continuing our discussion on Indiana’s religious freedom bill. Is this bill similar to existing federal and state laws regarding religious freedom? Can we be sure it won’t allow for outright discrimination? And why isn’t Governor Pence doing more to publicly support it? Al examines the issue with Kellie Fiedorek.

4:20 – Never Enough: One Lawyer’s True Story of how he Gambled his Career Away

Gambling addicts often say it’s the thrill of winning, not the money, that keeps them addicted. We ask Michael Burke if he agrees. Michael was a successful lawyer who spent over $1.6 million of his client’s trust account funds on gambling. He was eventually jailed for his actions. He joins us today to talk about how to identify and help people afflicted with gambling addiction.

5:00 – Protecting the Unborn in Colorado

Earlier this month a pregnant woman was brutally attacked when she answered a Craigslist ad for baby clothes. Her attacker cut open her womb and removed her baby, who did not survive. The attacker will not be charged with murder under Colorado law. Attempts to pass a personhood law to protect the unborn from violent death, even death resulting from an attack on the mother, have been successfully defeated by the pro-abortion movement. What can pro-lifers do to protect the unborn in cases like this?

5:20 – The True Story of Egypt’s Mother Teresa

For almost 20 years, Maggie Gobran has devoted her life to helping the poorest of the poor in Cairo’s garbage slums. Her innovative, transformational work has garnered worldwide fame and multiple Nobel Prize nominations, but her full story has remained untold – until now. Marty Makary, author of Maggie’s biography, joins us with her incredible story.

5:40 – What Mental Condition Caused the Germanwings Disaster?

Investigators have discovered mountains of information that show Andres Lubitz had a troubled mental history. But what exactly was wrong with him? Would depression really drive a person to commit mass murder or are there other issues at play?

Kresta in the Afternoon – March 27, 2015

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on March 27, 2015

4:00 – Kresta Comments: Indiana Passes Controversial Religious Freedom Bill

Governor Mike Pence of Indiana is currently the subject of a firestorm of criticism. Yesterday, Pence signed a bill that allows companies to refuse services based on religious beliefs. Activists say the bill could be used as grounds for discrimination based on sexuality or gender identity. Al has comments.

4:20 – The Music of Matt Maher

Matt Maher is a contemporary Christian music artist, songwriter, and worship leader originally from Newfoundland, Canada. He has written and produced seven solo albums to date. Three of his albums have reached the Top 25 Christian Albums Billboard chart and four of his singles have reached the Top 25 Christian Songs chart. He is a practicing Catholic and is here today to discuss his faith, his music and his inspirations.

4:40 – TBA

5:00 – TBA

5:20 – ISIS Exposed

ISIS has shown it is determined to get America’s attention. It has proudly posted execution videos and called for faithful around the world to rise up and fight in their own countries. It rules more than eight million people in a territory the size of Indiana. Erick Stakelbeck joins us with the inside story of the self-proclaimed caliphate.


Kresta in the Afternoon – March 26, 2015

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on March 26, 2015

Direct to My Desk: Can you forgive an abusive parent who won’t repent? Why would someone intentionally crash a plane? What are the most common last regrets? What connections do atheists draw between Scientology and Christianity?

We have open lines today and we have a lot to talk about. It’s now believed that the plane crash in France was intentional. The Co-pilot locked the pilot out of the cockpit and deliberately flew the plane into a mountain. What do we know for sure? What can we speculate? What are you hearing from the media? We’ll also discuss an upcoming documentary on Scientology and connect it to other invented religions and the atheist argument that all religions are, in fact, invented and ludicrous. Additionally, we want your thoughts about the greatest regrets people express on their deathbed and the significance of a dying person’s last words. Finally, we’ll talk about forgiveness. How can you honor and forgive your parents if they were abusive? Can you or should you forgive someone who is unrepentant? We want to get your thoughts on all these questions. Give us a call at 877-573-7825.

Unbroken – An Al Kresta interview with Luke Zamperini

Released to theaters last Christmas, Unbroken is the incredible true story of Louis Zamperini, a former track star whose bomber went down in the Pacific Ocean during World War II. Zamperini survived 47 harrowing days adrift before being picked up by the Japanese and send to a POW camp, where he endured two and a half years of unimaginable psychological and physical torture. Louis’ son Luke Zamperini joins us to talk about the film and his father’s amazing story of faith and perseverance.


Kresta in the Afternoon – March 25, 2015

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on March 25, 2015

4:00 – “For All Find what they Truly Seek”

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5:00 – Kresta Comments: TBA

5:20 – “I am the Handmaid of the Lord”

We’re discussing the Feast of the Annunciation with Tim Staples and how Mary’s simple “yes” changed the course of history.


Kresta in the Afternoon – March 24, 2015

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on March 24, 2015

4:00 – Kresta Comments

Al has comments on Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s “Jesus of Nazareth,” 15 Reasons Dads Matter and the Scientific Case for God.

4:20 – A Celebration of Peace through Music

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5:00 – Kresta Comments: TBA

5:20 – Back to Basics: Forming Intentional Disciples

Consider the following statistics: Only 30 percent of Americans who were raised Catholic are still practicing. 10 percent of all American adults are ex-Catholics. Only 60 percent of Catholics believe in a personal God. As we’ve said before, we’re surrounded by Catholics who have been Sacramentalized but not Evangelized. A lot of people see this as a sign of the end, that the Church in the US is on the way out. Sherry Weddell sees it as an opportunity to regrow the Church on a solid foundation of committed, intentional Disciples of Christ. She joins us today.

Kresta in the Afternoon – March 23, 2015

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on March 23, 2015


4:00 – Zealous: Following Jesus with Guidance from St. Paul

On Sunday we celebrated the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. In honor of this feast we talk to Mark Hart, coauthor of Zealous: Following Jesus with Guidance from St. Paul. Mark gives us a contemporary look at the basics of spiritual life through the lens of St. Paul’s epistles. Mark takes us on a deeper dive into Scripture to find answers to our faith’s timeless questions and internalize what God’s truth means for us.


4:40 – My Personal Conversion Story

Okan Kulan, a Turkish tour guide who works with Steve Ray, joins us in studio all the way from Istanbul. Okan has just entered full communion with the Catholic Church. He tells us his conversion story.


5:00 –Four Reasons why the New Evangelization Might Fail

The New Evangelization is essential to the future of the Church and the world. We’ve discussed the importance of and strategies for the New Evangelization at length. But what if it fails? Can it fail? Fr. Patrick Collins is here from Ireland with four obstacles that must be overcome in order for the New Evangelization to succeed.


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