Unconditional love means never having to say its sinful

Unconditional love means never having to say its sinful

Bishop J. Terry Steib of Memphis writes in his diocesan newspaper this week that the Church is home to all people of God, but that a number of Catholics no longer feel comfortable in their home. Amen to that, I found myself saying, all of us othodox Catholics marginalized by heterodoxy and bad liturgies and weak-kneed bishops feel like we’re being stripped of our home in the Church.

Unfortunately, that isn’t what the bishop was talking about.

Recently I met with such people. Many of them were born into Catholic families, baptized as infants and attended Catholic schools. They have embraced the faith handed on to them. Others, through the examples of friends and having felt called by God, became Catholics through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. For all of them, being Catholic is at the core of who they are. At the same time, they are people who are not sure of “their place” in their home. They are people _ wonderful, good Catholic people _ who are gay and lesbian.

The bishop tells us that gays and lesbians don’t feel at home in the Church, that they feel unwelcome. What is making them unwelcome? Is the bishop claiming that there are gay-bashers in the pews and pulpits, spewing hatred at them at every turn? Are they being forced out of the churches with no opportunity to repent of their sinful lifestyle?

Or is it the Church’s teaching that homosexuality is a disorder that must be overcome, that homosexual activity is a sin, and that temptation to homosexuality is not something to be celebrated, but instead is to be avoided? Is that the hatred that makes them feel unwelcome?

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
15 comments
  • “Do you reject the glamour of evil and refuse to be mastered by it?”

    “No.”

    “Oh.  Well, never mind.”

  • I’m curious why a gay non-Catholic would choose to join the Catholic church instead of becoming an Episcopalian, or Methodist, or whatever? 

  • Almost 40 years ago the Holy Father – then Father Ratzinger, theologian thor>
    michigancatholic@hotmail.com
    http://www.michigancatholic.blogspot.com
    66.255.204.12
    2005-05-20 22:39:31
    2005-05-21 02:39:31
    I find it extremely disgusting to hear about these kinds of biases coming from bishops because I don’t really think they are acts on kindness “out of the blue” on their parts.  I don’t see them having great fits over the fact that other “sinful minorities” have problems that might make them feel marginalized.  Generally speaking, I always wonder what they are personally invested in, to be honest.  Especially if they don’t seem to be personally invested in what the Catholic Church teaches.

  • Dom,

    I would like to know when or who came up with this whole concept of “UNCONDITIONAL LOVE”.

    The Holy Trinity’s love is Divinely ‘unlimited’ , for certain, but “unconditional” —-NO WAY!

    The Ten Commandments are not “conditional”?  “You are my disciple if you accept my teaching, then you shall know the truth” is not “conditional”?

  • Blanchard,
    The ten commandments aren’t conditions for God to love us, they are the conditions which we must meet to show our love to God.

    The father of the prodigal son did not cease to love his son while he was squandering his inheritance, but the son had clearly ceased to show filial love for his father. God’s love is unconditional: he loves even the most depraved sinner.  Nothing we can do can make God, whose very nature is love, cease to love us. All we do is turn away from that love and cease to love him.

    I think you are reacting to a misunderstanding of what it means for us that God loves us unconditionally. In order for us to be open to his unconditional love, there certainly are conditions we must meet. We can close ourselves off from his love, spit in his face, as Dom said. But when we do that his love does not cease to flow. We merely cease to be receptive to it.

  • A friend of mine asked Bishop Steib after Mass today if this new gay ministry would follow the teaching of the church or if it would be ‘cheap grace’, welcoming without challenging.  Bishop Steib assured him that all the teachings would be followed. I personally think the teachings of the church challenging the gay lifestyle won’t be mentioned. There is a naivete about the lifestyle and what really goes on in terms of promiscuity and sexual activity.  This ministry will probably become a meeting place for dating. However, how often are hetersexual single Catholics or Christians told to be chaste?  Not much.  Our bishop is nice.  He hates conflict.

  • Eliza:  “Our bishop is nice.  He hates conflict. “

    Dear Eliza, It’s a pity.  It might somewhat dampen the chances of Bishop Steib attaining sainthood—something we all should try to do.  Most saints were not “nice.”  And almost all never avoided conflict when required.

    Nice is often an excuse for cowardice and/or having a need to be liked.  But we don’t respect nice people.  We respect people with integrity, who exhibit honesty in their vocations and lives, and the courage to be unpopular.  Sometimes, these people can also be nice, but that’s not their most important attribute.  Jesus was often not nice.

    You are absolutely on target about the lack of preaching on chastity for all those outside of marriage.  I think it embarrasses many priests and bishops, and they would be perceived as not being nice guys.

    Your friend had holy chutzpah!  Good for him!

  • Let’s think about this a bit.

    Would we hear this sort of garbage from Razinger, the Archbishop of Denver or the bishop of Lincoln.  No, never have, never will.

    From what prelates have received this sort of garbage.  Weakland(oh, I wonder where he was coming from?)  Let’s try (you can’t have my records on my pedophiles or rector) Mahoney.  How about (seamless garment, openly gay pall barers and gay choir for my funeral)Bernardine.

    These lukewarm prelates and hetrodox ones are face it, enemies of Christ and his bride.  It is time to call a rat a rat.

  • nice
    c.1290, “foolish, stupid, senseless,” from O.Fr. nice “silly, foolish,” from L. nescius “ignorant,” lit. “not-knowing,” from ne- “not” (see un-) + stem of scire “to know.” “The sense development has been extraordinary, even for an adj.” [Weekley]—from “timid” (pre-1300); to “fussy, fastidious” (c.1380); to “dainty, delicate” (c.1405); to “precise, careful” (1500s, preserved in such terms as a nice distinction and nice and early); to “agreeable, delightful” (1769); to “kind, thoughtful” (1830). In 16c.-17c. it is often difficult to determine exactly what is meant when a writer uses this word. By 1926, it was pronounced “too great a favorite with the ladies, who have charmed out of it all its individuality and converted it into a mere diffuser of vague and mild agreeableness.” [Fowler

    I wonder what definition of “nice” fits Bishop Steib.  Courtesy of the Online Etymology Dictionary.

    http://www.etymonline.com/

  • It is the same everywhere…

    Not just with Homosexuals…

    But we have Freemason’s who are Eucharistic Ministers…

    Divorced and remarried Catholics as Lector’s and Eucharistic Ministers…

    These are all NOT IN COMMUNION just as those defiant homosexuals… they are just discreet.

    I brought the Freemason issue to a priest, who told me it wasn’t an issue!!!  (only in Europe he said)

    It does indeed run deep.

  • If Bishop Steib is truthful about reaching out to homosexuals and calling them to holiness (chastity) prior to coming back to the church, then we will be in good shape.  This is not how I read his article.  The Church is not at fault for their feelings of separation.  This is caused by their unwillingness to repent and attempt to live a chaste life.  I use the word “attempt” to signify that like all of us we are a work in progress and as Jesus says that we must forgive (as He would) 70×7.  But when homosexuals tell us that we are the problem or the Church is the cause of their isolation then that is a whole another kettle of fish.  The only way they could have a case if they repented and the Church rejected them.  I have never seen that happen.  I have seen it happen when someone refuses to repent of their sin.

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