Tag Archives: Synod

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Rome Report 2: The Child is a Warrior

‘In today’s society, we grant adults any kind of sexual freedom they want and insist that children take whatever these adults are willing to give them.’ Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

In the center of Rome, we convened on October 2nd to fight for children—those most vulnerable to adults who now define ‘justice’ as the freedom to assume any sexual identity their feelings demand. The Church is caught between this new ‘justice’ and her own age-old version of human dignity as she convenes for the Synod of the Family throughout this month.

Cardinals, bishops and priests listened intently as our warring band taught and testified to an authentic appreciation of the human person who originates from God as male and female and who reveals Him in that beautiful duality. To describe how Jesus redeems persons who confess the brokenness of that image—well, we had to become like children. In tears and great joy, we marveled at the Father who transformed us from slaves to chaste sons and daughters.

Not surprisingly, our advance began on the feast day of St. Therese of the Child Jesus. She urges us to not get entangled in the traditions of men and their constant strife (a temptation in the heart of the Catholic hierarchy) but rather to surrender ourselves to the Father ‘who hides Himself from the wise and learned and reveals Himself to little children’ (LK 10:21).

Children need strong, tender fathers who clarify the path to purity and gender clarity. I marveled at Robert Cardinal Sarah from Africa who spoke the truth to us with such gentle authority that we straightened up, feeling at once challenged and protected. The wise words spoken throughout the conference by Fr. Paul Check, Director of Courage, were best distilled by my friend Alberto (coordinator of Courage Rome) who said: ‘Fr. Check extends the arm of the Church to guide us to chastity.’ What the Church asks of us, she helps us to realize.

Children need a mother. For that, the Father provides His Church and the beautiful witness of Mary, whose womb housed Jesus and whose wonder throughout His life invites us to marvel at His desire to dwell with us too. Popes and pot-scrubbers find level ground as the resting place of God. Encircled by Mary, each child can welcome Jesus and nourish the divine life maturing within. Our sorrow lies in our resisting His Presence; joy rises as we yield to His stirrings and enter the dance of life.

As a child, I rejoiced in my fellow strugglers in Rome whose good lives reveal the Father who fought for them and ‘Mother’ Church who enfolds them. We rejoiced together, the shame of our ‘gay’ lives eclipsed by Someone glorious, the Child Jesus who frees us to be both children and warriors.

We fight for the dignity of voiceless children everywhere who need clear markers to chastity, and wise guides to help them realize that wholeness. Pray for the Synod gathering now in Rome. May the witness of the Church liberate the children of God.

Retrieving the Family from Synod’s ‘Gay Follies’

How is it that a fraction of the population manages to steal the beauty of family? According to media reports, one would think that the Synod on Family was little more than a battle for ‘gay rights’ in the Roman Catholic Church. Issues surrounding ‘gay-identified’ persons seemed to prevail, even though in its final report the synod rescinded its previous controversial references to homosexuality. In the end, only 2 of 62 paragraphs pertain to ‘pastoral care of persons with a homosexual orientation.’

The rest of the document is a marvel of Catholic truths and concerns for the whole family: sweeping topics like ‘the exaggerated individualism that perverts family ties’ (5) and how only ‘full commitment to Christian marriage can be an antidote to such individualism’(9), ‘children as the real victims of family snags’ (8) and potential victims of ‘the marketing of the body through Internet porn’ (10), how ‘a crisis of faith has led to our current crisis of marriage and family’ (32) and how we need testimonies in our parishes of seasoned families (39) who exhibit ‘an openness to life’ (57) and ‘how the indissolubility of marriage is a gift, not a yoke.’ (14)

Through the document runs a river of mercy, and an appeal to come alongside of persons who have fallen short of God’s best in any of these ways (and more), that they may be turn back to Jesus and be embraced by His Church.

Then why have we reduced the synod to a ‘gay’ culture war? Nothing new under the sun. For the last 40 years now, congresses of every mainline Protestant denomination in the USA have been divided and disempowered by ‘gay rights’ concerns. Eventually, persons of common sense who realize that Jesus loves persons with SSA so much that He calls them to more than the ‘gay’ status quo get tired and relent to the drive of activists who insist on ‘gay’ everything.

Every denomination who has relented in that way has essentially lost the power of the Gospel to define sexual purity and order and to transform persons who are impure and disordered. Sounds like we have a common enemy who will do anything to distract us from what really matters, and to divide us on what does not.

We all agree that there are really wonderful people with same-sex attraction. And we are fools to give them ‘sacred status’ as if they did not have to repent like the rest of us and get on with the business of picking up their crosses and following Jesus. Chastity is a common good and Christian goal that applies to all persons.

Please pray with us at Desert Stream Ministries as we continue our 40-days of prayer for the Church at large. Pray that the enemy will be overcome as the Church centers on redeeming the family and not appeasing the ‘gay agenda.’ Pray that this Synod and its report will bear fruit as it is deliberated upon in preparation for the larger and more conclusive gathering on the family to be held in Philadelphia, October of 2015.

family synod

The Bad, the Good, the Urgent: An initial take on the Synod of Family Report

Rome’s synopsis of its synod on ‘family life’ includes 3 paragraphs (out of 58) on homosexuality which could be a cause for alarm. The bishops appear to grant ‘homosexuals’ a kind of ethnic status—homosexuals are treated as a people group whose ‘sexual orientation’ we are ‘to accept and value.’ (50) Further, ‘it must be noted’ that the supportive components of homosexual unions are to be treated as ‘precious’. (52)

This troubles me for many reasons, not the least of which is the faulty anthropology on which the bishops base their views. Persons with same-sex attraction are not an ethnicity but a diverse group of persons made in His image as male and female whose desires are disordered; ‘gay’ feelings cannot achieve the end for which God intends human sexuality.

Basing identities and relationships on homosexual desires is uninspired, at least. Of all communities, the Church can and must know better in order to love better. Relatedly, I weary of Churchman who split homosexual desires from action—ascribing nobility to homosexual desire while slapping hands for ‘acting out.’ Perhaps Jesus is a little more holistic in His approach.

And this is where the good of the document comes in. Early on in the document, we get the best of Pope Francis (and of Christian redemption) when he speaks of our decisive need to fix our eyes on Jesus and follow Him upon new paths, into new possibilities. Jesus reveals both the order of creation and redemption (12, 13), a direction profoundly relevant for persons riding the wave of the ‘gay everything’ 21st century.

I long to see that theme of redemption developed for persons with same-sex attraction. Let us as Christians embody His merciful gaze, so tender and burning with love toward ‘homosexuals’ that they are invited to cast off their old selves and follow Him into newness of life. Sadly, the small part of this document that applies to homosexuality fails to point in this direction at all. It affirms the status quo but not the call to genuine conversion. In that way, paragraphs 50-52 cannot be deemed genuinely Christian.

Over the last 30 years, I have witnessed nearly every mainline Protestant denomination lose its salt due to a failure to recognize and minister effectively to the sexually broken, especially persons with same-sex attraction. I trust that my Church will not do the same. Please join us in our 40-days of prayer for the whole Church, starting tomorrow. The Synod has given us much to pray about.

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