Category: Catholic Sexuality

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Courage and Consent

‘The sick soul fears more than anything else the demands made on one who is well.’
Joseph Pieper

Just before leaving for France last week, disgruntled gays in the USA filed a round of new lawsuits against those they had enlisted to help them change their homosexuality. Eyes rolled around our nation as the popular media framed such ‘conversion therapy’ as foolish and dangerous.

While addressing both Protestant and Catholic groups in France, I was warned twice not to mention ‘healing’ and ‘homosexuality’ in the same sentence as that is now illegal in France. Impassioned ‘gay marriage’ debates raged on every TV screen as France prepares to decide in February whether gays will share every marriage and family privilege with husband and wife.

I was tempted to take a step backward, to heed the intimidation and soft-pedal the Word of my testimony and the hundreds of others in France who represent Living Waters. (France is the strongest international expression of our ministry.)

Then I remembered: this is Advent. We prepare for Jesus by beholding Mary’s courageous consent to the angel who asked her to be overwhelmed by the Word and to bear its fruit in her body. Small trembling Mary became great through granite faith. She had no worldly insignificance. All she had was her ‘yes’ to God. She embodied the word of Isaiah to the quaking King Ahaz: ‘If you do not stand firm in faith, you will not stand at all.’ (Is. 7:9)

I heeded Isaiah’s call and Mary’s example and told the whole truth of how Jesus heals the homosexual throughout France. For such a time as this.

Mary’s obedience became our deliverance. So we the delivered have a simple annunciation to which we must respond. Now! Will we heed the new life growing within us and proclaim the truth of what He has done in us? Or will silence be our safety? Will we be merely content to tend our vegetable garden and neglect the sweep of land dying in the shadow of delusion?

Joseph Pieper speaks of magnanimity as the virtue by which we champion the greatest possibility of human potential. In this hour, what could be greater than the Church’s boast that Jesus makes virile the perverse man, the defended woman fertile? Or will we ‘prefer to be less great in order to avoid the obligation of greatness’?

 

I leave you with this excerpt from Denise Levertov’s ‘Annunciation’:

‘We are told of Mary’s meek obedience. No one mentions courage.

The engendering Spirit did not enter her without consent.

God waited.

She was free to accept or to refuse, choice integral to humanness.

Aren’t there annunciations of one sort or another in most lives?

Some unwillingly

undertake great destinies, enact them in sullen pride, uncomprehending.

More often

These moments when roads of light and storm

open from darkness in a man or woman, are turned away from

in dread, in a wave of weakness, in despair and with relief.

Ordinary live continue.

God does not smite them.

But the gates close, the pathway vanishes.’

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Waking Up

How do you explain a nation that resolutely opposed ‘gay marriage’ at the polls (32X) then ushered it in boldly last Tuesday?

You could cite Obama’s slide as America’s; he started 4 years ago resolute in his ‘Christian’ commitment to marriage then unraveled. He became the first US president to champion ‘gay marriage’ last May. Did he lead America into ‘gay marriage’ or just reflect the superficial faith of many? Chicken or egg: discuss.

Last Tuesday, the Church laid an egg; she chickened out, big time. How else do you explain the stats that most avowed Roman Catholics in the USA now support ‘gay marriage’? Or the evangelical drivel that ‘we cannot legislate morality’? Are you kidding? Every act of legislation is a moral decision!

We so want a tolerant Jesus that we edit the truth that He is the Creator and Redeemer of all, which implicates our gender, our sexuality and what we do with our bodies. Supporting ‘gay marriage’ declares that we have no understanding of what it means to be human, made in His image. So we settle for a ‘feel good’ Jesus who does not mess with us. In truth, Jesus messes with us at the core of our affections and motives so that we don’t mess up others, including murdering the unborn.

Jesus indicts America’s cowardice with ‘gay marriage’ and a new host of pro-abortion leaders led by Obama himself.

It’s not too late. Last Tuesday sounded an alarm. Will ‘we wake up from the dead and let Christ shine on us?’ (Eph. 5:14)

I had a dream last night of a bright-eyed young pastor serving an ailing church in Boston. Due to the pastor’s disavowal of ‘gay marriage’, the church elders took away his keys. But he had a key, shaped like a cross. His ‘cross-key’ gave him free and ready access to the church that mere men could not stop. Many joined him, and a vibrant renewed church emerged from the dying one.

My friend and colleague Josh Glazer woke up. He led his Maryland-based ministry Regeneration to pray and fast with us over these last 40-days. He writes: ‘I’ve been humbled to have my own cowardice and compromise exposed–masked as compassion, busy-ness, humility, and the pursuit of being ‘relevant’. Also, I’ve become increasingly aware of something akin to a spirit of delusion over our land, blinding us to the true fruit of the unnatural desires we’ve been embracing.

The shining moment of this fast for me was when a spirit of fear was broken. The Lord showed me my cowardice and compromise as “holding to a form of godliness, but denying its power” (2 Tim. 3:4). For three days following, I reveled in Hebrews 11 — reading of my brothers and sisters in the faith who have gone before me, not clinging to this country nor the approval or pleasures therein, “But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them” (Heb. 11:16).

As this fast concludes, whether marriage further upheld or further desecrated, I am convinced we must keep crying out for mercy and a spirit of repentance in His Church and throughout our land. Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon us!”

 

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An Army Rising

‘I will rouse your sons, O Zion…and make you like a warrior’s sword.’ (Zech. 9: 13)

In spite of scandal and slumber, the Roman Catholic Church remains the most cohesive and powerful voice for sexual morality in the world today. If the annual Courage Conference last weekend is any indication, she is rediscovering that voice in proclaiming and administering wholeness to those with same-sex attraction.

Under Father Paul Check’s sound direction, Courage–the RCC’s official arm of pastoral care for Catholics with SSA—gathers priests, religious, therapists, and laity to raise up the Church’s foundations. These core truths define who we are as sexual beings and how Jesus through the Church restores our original dignity.

Last week’s conference combined incisive teaching, testimony, and worship. Like swords, leaders and strugglers alike were sharpened by the truth which is our freedom, a truth that exposes false compassion and justice in order to become the basis for a humbled people, arising to become His Body, broken for one another.

We confessed together: what the Church upholds about sexual wholeness, she has often failed to live. The compromised Body has allowed her mouth to be gagged, her hands tied by the lie that ‘gay is good’; she has opted to be ‘nice’, not morally beautiful, in her response to those with SSA.

Though the Bride has shrunk back from her own inheritance, the Bridegroom is raising up churchmen and women who are willing to stand upon the truth, to embody it. Might we become an expression of the Gospel so splendid and stern that it has power to welcome home the prodigal, and to raise the sin-sick from the dead?

Together we admitted we had been broken by the world’s version of homosexuality. Together we arose in unity to manifest the emerging beauty of our true humanity. Jesus is preparing us, His broken Body, to become an army whose offense lies solely in the beauty of Jesus, the ground and crown of our freedom.

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Justice for Whom

Advocates for ‘gay marriage’ usually claim no harm can be done to anyone through extending marriage and family rights to two men or two women.

New evidence now exists to show a host of challenges to kids of gay parents.

Professor Mark Regenerus found that, when compared to adults raised in married, mother/father families, adults raised by lesbian parents had negative outcomes in 24 out of 40 categories, while adults raised by gay fathers had negative outcomes in 19 categories.

(See http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jun/10/study-suggests-risks-from-same-sex-parenting/)

More studies are in the works to debunk the myth that kids don’t need parenting from the two who gave them life. To thrive, a kid needs a mom and a dad. Period.

We must take issue with those who, as a result of supporting gay loved ones, fail to see the implications of such skewed advocacy.

A legal change in the definition of marriage is short-sighted and cruel to the most vulnerable ones in our culture—children. Generations-to-come depend upon societal structures that advocate for their best. ‘Gay’ marriage and family is not one of them.

Strange justice: ‘gay marriage’ advocates often cite early childhood experiences of bullying and harassment for their same-sex tendencies as one reason why gay equality is imperative. Yet it is becoming increasingly clear that ‘gay marriage’ only perpetuates the destabilizing of young lives.

‘Gay’ marriage and family causes the very ills it seeks to cure.

Christians, take a stand and resolutely refuse to redefine marriage, especially in the face of our president’s decision to do so. Consider those who have come before you. On behalf of the Church, St. Thomas More refused to grant Henry VIII (his king) a divorce, and was beheaded. May we emulate his courage in championing marriage today.

Please join me in this prayer that American Catholics have been encouraged to pray on behalf of religious liberty until July 4th:

Grant we pray, O heavenly Father, A clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters gathered in your Church in this decisive hour in the history of our nation, so that, with every trial withstood and every danger overcome— for the sake of our children, our grandchildren, and all who come after us— this great land will always be ‘one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

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Broken and Beautiful

What relevance is the Resurrected Christ for those struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction? Or with any other profound sexual problem?

As one who shares that struggle, I often feel like the rather clueless disciples, stumbling about in the dark with the risen Christ. Disoriented by mixed signals from the church and world, ‘harassed at every turn’ (2 Cor 7:5), I fail to see Him among us.

And yet in blessed moments, He opens our eyes and we see Him as He is. His tender power surpasses our deepest need and transcends moral abstractions. In an instant we realize that our need is only Him—His Real Presence, the life of the world becoming our life, the center in which we rest, the anchor of our soul, sure and steadfast. (Heb. 6:19)

Mysteries, all, made tangible by His body, broken for us and beautiful. It is fitting that only at table together, in the breaking of the bread—the re-presentation of His crucifixion, of His brokenness, that the disciples’ eyes were opened to behold Jesus in His resurrection, His wholeness.

‘When He was at table with them, He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him…’ (Lk 24: 30)

I am convinced that we shall behold the Risen Christ only when we discover Him in His broken body.

A few nights back I revisited the beauty of that brokenness. We gathered as one body at our Living Waters Training; there I taught on overcoming sexual brokenness through the advocacy of the Church. Given the unusually high levels of confusion in our culture today over same-sex attraction, I felt compelled to urge all same-sex strugglers (approximately one-third of the group) to come forward. The remaining folks–‘the traditionally-broken’—came forward to lay hands on them and impart power from on high.

God brought such freedom. The Risen Christ met us in acknowledged brokenness and revealed Himself to us: tender power to raise those deadened by fear and confusion and to make us one body.

If we want to know Him, the Risen Lord, we must be known by them: His body, broken and beautiful.

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