Q&A, remedial

Fr. Dwight Longenecker, apparently troubled about the Synod’s encouragement of a more welcoming attitude by the Church toward gay people, asks:

Surely we believe that all persons have gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community. Are we saying that homosexuals have some sort of special, unique gifts to offer simply because they are persons with same sex attraction? Where does that come from? What exactly are those unique gifts they have because they are homosexuals? Do they have gifts and qualities and insights because they live a celibate and single life? How are their gifts different then, from the gifts and qualities of the heterosexual single, celibate person? Isn’t this patronizing and offensive to heterosexual single people?…

People with same sex attraction are already welcomed into the church equally with whatever gifts and qualities they have as individuals. Why does their sexuality have anything to do with it? Are we suggesting that homosexual people are more sensitive, caring, artistic or spiritual? If so, isn’t that patronizing–almost like saying, “Gerald is such a witty person! He’d make such a good interior designer…” If that is what we are saying are we suggesting that all homosexual people have these gifts and qualities simply because they have same sex attraction? Does that mean we think there cannot be homosexuals who are dull, selfish, stupid, brutish, violent, vulgar and boorish? Are we putting one group of people in some kind of special category because of their sexual orientation? If so how crazy is that?

Mark Shea, with the patience of a good kindergarten teacher, answers helpfully:

[I]f we are going to welcome homosexuals into the circle of humanity for whom Christ died, that means, you know, treating them like human beings, both made in the image and likeness of God and fallen sinners. And that means, when homosexuals consistently report a sense that they are not welcome and not human beings to many of their fellow Catholics (and when those who are trying to live faithful lives report that even that effort is not good enough for some of their fellow Catholics), it may be time to do a re-think about how best to shepherd them.

As if we should have to explain such things.


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