THE SYNOD ON THE FAMILY AND THE GAY MOUSE

This article is dedicated to the examination of the discussion and of the Final Report of the recently concluded Extraordinary Synod on the family, regarding the theme of the relationship between church and homosexuals. I published it in Italian on the Gay Project sites on October 19, 2014.

I must dutifully acknowledge Pope Francis that he has allowed all those involved to follow the work of the Synod, allowing the publication of the documents prepared during the Synod itself, as well as the voting results on the final deliberations. It is a criterion of transparency that on such delicate issues is a must, but it should not be forgotten that the publicity of the documents is also aimed at avoiding gossip both inside and outside the Vatican.

I invite the reader to arm himself with good will to follow the path of the Synod with me from the beginning.

After a considerable work of consultation and coordination of the indications emerging from the individual local churches, in view of the Synod, the Instrumentum laboris “The pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization” was published by the Vatican, which in Part II, Chapter III, letter B, concerning unions between persons of the same sex, is expressed as follows:
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b) Concerning Unions of Persons of the Same Sex

Civil Recognition

110. On unions of persons of the same sex, the responses of the bishops’ conferences refer to Church teaching. “There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family. […] Nonetheless, according to the teaching of the Church, men and women with homosexual tendencies ‘must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided’” (CDF, Considerations regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons, 4). The responses indicate that the recognition in civil law of unions between persons of the same sex largely depends on the socio-cultural, religious and political context. In this regard, the episcopal conferences describe three instances: the first exists when repressive and punitive measures are taken in reaction to the phenomenon of homosexuality in all its aspects, especially when the public manifestation of homosexuality is prohibited by civil law. Some responses indicate that, in this context, the Church provides different forms of spiritual care for single, homosexual people who seek the Church’s assistance.

111. A second context is one where the phenomenon of homosexuality is fluid. Homosexual behavior is not punished, but simply tolerated until it becomes visible or public. In this context, legislation on civil unions between persons of the same sex does not usually exist. In political circles, especially in the West, however, the increasing tendency is to adopt laws providing for registered partnerships or so-called “marriage” between persons of the same sex. People argue non-discrimination to give support to this idea, an approach which is perceived by believers and a good part of the public, in central and eastern Europe, as an imposition by a political and foreign culture.

112. The responses describe a third context, one where States have introduced legislation recognizing civil unions or so-called “marriages” between homosexual persons. In some countries, the situation reflects a real redefining of marriage, where the couple is viewed only in legal terms, with such references as “equal rights” and “non-discrimination” without any thought to a constructive dialogue in the matter based on the deeper anthropological issues involved and the centrality of the integral well-being of the human person, especially the integral well-being of the children in these unions. When legal equality is given to heterosexual and homosexual marriage, the State often allows the adoption of children (biological children of either partner or children born through artificial fertilization). Such is the case, particularly in English-speaking countries and central Europe.

An evaluation of the particular Churches

113. Every bishops’ conference voiced opposition to “redefining” marriage between a man and a woman through the introduction of legislation permitting a union between two people of the same sex. The episcopal conferences amply demonstrate that they are trying to find a balance between the Church’s teaching on the family and a respectful, non-judgmental attitude towards people living in such unions. On the whole, the extreme reactions to these unions, whether compromising or uncompromising, do not seem to have facilitated the development of an effective pastoral programme which is consistent with the Magisterium and compassionate towards the persons concerned.

114. A factor which clearly has an impact on the Church’s pastoral care and one which complicates the search for a balanced attitude in this situation is the promotion of a gender ideology. In some places, this ideology tends to exert its influence even at the elementary level, spreading a mentality which, intending to eliminate homophobia, proposes, in fact, to undermine sexual identity.

115. Episcopal conferences supply a variety of information on unions between persons of the same sex. In countries where legislation exists on civil unions, many of the faithful express themselves in favour of a respectful and non-judgmental attitude towards these people and a ministry which seeks to accept them. This does not mean, however, that the faithful give equal status to heterosexual marriage and civil unions between persons of the same sex. Some responses and observations voice a concern that the Church’s acceptance of people in such unions could be construed as recognition of their union.
Some Pastoral Guidelines

116. When considering the possibility of a ministry to these people, a distinction must be made between those who have made a personal, and often painful, choice and live that choice discreetly so as not to give scandal to others, and those whose behaviour promotes and actively — often aggressively — calls attention to it. Many conferences emphasize that, due to the fact that these unions are a relatively recent phenomenon, no pastoral programs exist in their regard. Others admit a certain unease at the challenge of accepting these people with a merciful spirit and, at the same time, holding to the moral teaching of the Church, all the while attempting to provide appropriate pastoral care which takes every aspect of the person into consideration. Some responses recommend not using phrases such as “gay,” “lesbian” or “homosexual” to define a person’s identity.

117. Many responses and observations call for theological study in dialogue with the human sciences to develop a multi-faceted look at the phenomenon of homosexuality. Others recommend collaborating with specific entities, e.g., the Pontifical Academy of the Social Sciences and the Pontifical Academy for Life, in thoroughly examining the anthropological and theological aspects of human sexuality and the sexual difference between man and woman in order to address the issue of gender ideology.

118. The great challenge will be to develop a ministry which can maintain the proper balance between accepting persons in a spirit of compassion and gradually guiding them to authentic human and Christian maturity. In this regard, some conferences refer to certain organizations as successful models for such a ministry.

119. Sex education in families and educational institutions is an increasingly urgent challenge, especially in countries where the State tends to propose in schools a one-sided view and a gender ideology. Formation programmes ought to be established in schools or parish communities which offer young people an adequate idea of Christian and emotional maturity to allow them to face even the phenomenon of homosexuality. At the same time, the observations show that there is still no consensus in the Church on the specific way of receiving persons in these unions. The first step would be a slow process of gathering information and distinguishing criteria of discernment for not only ministers and pastoral workers but also groups and ecclesial movements.

The transmission of the Faith to children in same sex unions

120. The responses are clearly opposed to legislation which would allow the adoption of children by persons in a same-sex union, because they see a risk to the integral good of the child, who has the right to have a mother and father, as pointed out recently by Pope Francis (cf. Address to Members of the International Catholic Child Bureau (BICE), 11 April 2014). However, when people living in such unions request a child’s baptism, almost all the responses emphasize that the child must be received with the same care, tenderness and concern which is given to other children. Many responses indicate that it would be helpful to receive more concrete pastoral directives in these situations. Clearly, the Church has the duty to ascertain the actual elements involved in transmitting the faith to the child. Should a reasonable doubt exist in the capability of persons in a same sex union to instruct the child in the Christian faith, proper support is to be secured in the same manner as for any other couple seeking the baptism of their children. In this regard, other people in their family and social surroundings could also provide assistance. In these cases, the pastor is carefully to oversee the preparation for the possible baptism of the child, with particular attention given to the choice of the godfather and godmother.

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/synod/…ia_en.html
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I don’t intend to comment on this text by entering into the merits, I limit myself just to underline the breadth of expectations that could arise from it in so many faithful and not.

After the beginning of the Synod, the Relator General, Card. Péter Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, presents his “Relatio post disceptationem” on October 13, 2014, a document that is a kind of draft of the final document, which expresses itself in this way regarding homosexuality:

Welcome homosexual people

50. Homosexual persons have talents and qualities to offer to the Christian community: can we welcome these people, guaranteeing them an area of fraternity in our communities? Often they wish to meet a Church that is a welcoming home for them. Can our communities be able to accept it and evaluate their sexual orientation without compromising the Catholic doctrine on family and marriage?

51. The homosexual question challenges us in a serious reflection on how to develop realistic paths of emotional growth and human and evangelical maturity by integrating the sexual dimension: it therefore presents itself as an important educational challenge. The Church also affirms that unions between persons of the same sex cannot be equated with marriage between men and women. It is not even acceptable that pressures are exerted on the attitude of pastors or that international organizations can condition financial aid to the introduction of regulations inspired by gender ideology.

52. Without denying the moral problems connected to homosexual unions it is noted that there are cases in which mutual support until the sacrifice is a precious support for the life of the partners. Furthermore, the Church has special attention towards children living with same-sex couples, reiterating that the needs and rights of children should always be placed first.
http://press.vatican.va/content/salastam…03037.html (My translation)
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As we can see, the “Relatio post disceptationem” very strongly restricts the scope of the “Instrumentum laboris”, but also contains some elements that do not speak of openness but of respect at least towards homosexual persons. From the point of view of a lay man who sees things from the outside, however, with the “Relatio post disceptationem”, the mountain of expectations has given birth to a skimpy little mouse. The press, however, welcomes the Relatio as a great opening of the church towards homosexuals. However skimpy, the gay mouse is around the Vatican but the austere Synod fathers are not intimidated by that mouse and armed with their age-old wisdom, are ready to catch it before it escapes officially from the Synod hall. Here the minor circles sharpen their weapons:

This is the expression of the French-language circle “A”, of which the Eminent Card. Robert SARAH is moderator and S.E. Mons. François-Xavier DUMORTIER, S.J. is speaker:

“As for the reception of homosexual persons, it seems clear to us that the Church, following the image of Christ the Good Shepherd (John 10, 11-18) has always wanted to welcome people who knock on his door, a door open to all, people that must be received with respect, compassion and recognizing the dignity of each one. To accompany a person pastorally doesn’t mean to validate either a form of sexuality or a form of life.”[1]

The French-language Circle B, whose moderator is Cardinal Em. Card. Christoph SCHÖNBORN, O.P. and Speaker S.E. Mons. André LÉONARD, expresses itself as follows:

“5. We reiterated our respect and our welcoming towards homosexual people and we denounced the unjust and often violent discrimination that they suffered and still suffer, sometimes, even in the Church, alas! But this doesn’t mean that the Church must legitimize homosexual practices, much less recognize, as some states do, a so-called homosexual “marriage”. On the contrary, we denounce all the maneuvers of some international organizations to impose, through financial blackmail, to the poor countries some laws that establish the so-called homosexual “marriage”. [2]

The English Language Circle B having as a Moderator the Card. Wilfrid Fox NAPIER, O.F.M. and as a Speaker S.E. Mons. Diarmuid MARTIN so expresses itself:

“On the theme of the pastoral care of people with homosexual tendencies, the group observed that the Church must continue to promote the revealed nature of marriage as always between a man and a woman united throughout life in a life-giving and faithful communion.
The group encouraged pastors and parishes to take care of people with the same sex attraction, providing for them in the family of the Church, always protecting their dignity as children of God, created in his image. Within the Church, they should find a home where they can listen, with everyone else, to the call of Jesus to follow him in fidelity to the truth, to receive His grace to do so, and His mercy when they are wrong.”[3]

The Report of the Italian Language Circle “A”, having as its moderator the Cardinal Fernando FILONI and as Speaker S.E Mons. Edoardo MENICHELLI, expressed itself as follows:

“With regard to the pastoral care of homosexual persons, we have directed ourselves towards the proposal of a single statement in which it was emphasized both a commitment to proximity oriented to evangelization and the style of the Church, as an open house, enhancing the gifts, the good will and the sincere path of each one. It has been reaffirmed that unions between persons of the same sex cannot be equated with marriage between men and women, expressing the concern to safeguard the rights of children who must grow harmoniously with the tenderness of their father and mother.”

The Report of the Italian Language Circle C having for Moderator S.E. Mons. Angelo MASSAFRA, O.F.M. and for Speaker, Fr. Manuel Jesús ARROBA CONDE, C.M.F., expresses itself as follows:

“In this regard, the fathers pointed out some more specific aspects to enrich the proposals formulated in the text: an express mention on family movements; a special number [statement] on the adoptions; an invitation to study new presences in the educational field; a return to the texts of the instrumentum laboris about homosexual unions; an appeal to institutions to promote policies in favor of the family.”

The Report of the Spanish Language Circle A with the Moderator Card. Francisco ROBLES ORTEGA and the Speaker S.E. Mons. Luis Augusto CASTRO QUIROGA, I.M.C. expresses itself as follows:

“As for n. 50, it has been observed that we should not talk about homosexuals almost as if homosexuality were a part of their ontological being, but of people with homosexual tendencies. It was requested to replace the text of this number with the following:. “Sexuality that makes us exist as a human being as a male and a female is an essential value in anthropology and Christian theology. It makes us exist reciprocally not in indistinction but in complementarity … even people with homosexual tendencies need guidance and support to help them grow in faith and to know God’s plan for them.”[4]

The report of the Spanish Language Club “B” having as a Moderator Card. Lluís MARTÍNEZ SISTACH and as Speker S.E. Msgr. Rodolfo VALENZUELA NÚÑEZ so expresses its opinion on the Relatio post dissertationem:

“We believe that there is a lack of emphasis on important issues such as abortion, the attacks against life, the large phenomenon of adoption, the decisions taken by spouses in conscience, as well as greater clarity on the issue of homosexuality. “[5]
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Evidently, the gay mouse has sown panic among the Synodal Fathers, but they have finally managed to capture it.

The following is the paragraph of the “Relatio Synodi”, that is, of the final document of the extraordinary synod on the family, concerning the relationship between the church and the homosexuals:

Pastoral Attention towards Persons with Homosexual Tendencies

55. Some families have members who have a homosexual tendency. In this regard, the synod fathers asked themselves what pastoral attention might be appropriate for them in accordance with Church teaching: “There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.” Nevertheless, men and women with a homosexual tendency ought to be received with respect and sensitivity. “Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons, 4).

56. Exerting pressure in this regard on the Pastors of the Church is totally unacceptable: it is equally unacceptable for international organizations to link their financial assistance to poorer countries with the introduction of laws that establish “marriage” between persons of the same sex.

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/synod/…ia_en.html

It should be emphasized that point 55 was approved without the qualified majority of 2/3 but with a simple majority, however very strong and very close to 2/3, of 118 in favor and 62 against.

As is evident, the mouse was happily devoured before being able to leave the Synod hall. The initial “instrumentum laboris” was reduced to the material repetition of the contents of the “Considerations about the projects of legal recognition of unions between homosexual persons” signed by Josepf Ratzinger, then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in June 2003.

Frankly I don’t understand the homosexual Catholics who hope to find a respectful reception by the church. Other Christian churches have taken on decidedly more evangelical positions.

Just today, 18 October 2014, the Mayor of Rome, Ignazio Marino, ordered to register 16 homosexual marriages celebrated abroad in the official marriage register of Rome.

Thus L’Avvenire (the newspaper of the Italian Episcopal Conference) of October 18 begins its comment on the fact: “”An ideological choice, which certifies an unprecedented institutional affront” based on a “mystification supported at the media and political level”: so the editorial of Angelo Zema, on Roma Sette, the magazine of the diocese of Rome on newsstands on Sunday with Avvenire, defines the transcription of marriages celebrated abroad by some homosexual couples operated by the mayor of “Roma Capitale”, Ignazio Marino, in the municipal registers. The editorial speaks of “illegitimate” choices in a “context with a Hollywood tone” and “with a clear demagogic flavor”.

When the Synod was over and the gay little mouse was no more wandering around the Vatican, the CEI (Italian Episcopal Conference) immediately warned another reason for alarm: there are many gay mice, too many gay mice, just outside the Vatican walls! Fortunately, the world goes his way, even if the church goes somewhere else.
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[1] “Concernant l’accueil des personnes homosexuelles, the nous semble clair que l’Eglise, à l’image du Christ Bon Pasteur (Jn 10,11-18), a toujours voulu accueillir les personnes here frappent à sa porte, porte ouverte à tous, here sont à accueillir avec respect, compassion et dans la reconnaissance de la dignité de chacun. Accompagner pastoralement une personne ne signifie valider ni une forma de sexualité ni une forme de vie.”

[2] “5. Nous avons redit notre respect et notre accueil aux personnes homosexuelles et avons dénoncé les discriminations injustes et parfois violentes qu’elles ont subies et subissent encore parfois, y compris dans l’Église, hélas! Mais cela ne signifie pas que l’Église doive légitimer les pratiques homosexuelles et encore moins reconnaître, in the font certains Ettats, a soi-disant «mariage» homosexuel. Au contraire, nous dénonçons toutes les manœuvres de certaines international organizations visant à imposer, par voie de chantage financier, aux pays pauvres des législations instituant un soi-disant “mariage” homosexuel.”

[3] “On the subject of the pastoral care of the family, the group noted that the Church must continue to promote the revealed nature of marriage as always between one man and one woman united in lifelong, life-giving, and faithful communion.
The group encouraged pastoral care for children with same sex attraction, providing protection in the family of the Church. They say they are in the same place, they can be found in the church, they hear the call of Jesus to follow Him in fidelity to the truth. His mercy when they fail.”

[4] “Pasando at n.50, if you have observado que no if debe hablar de personas homosexuales cases como el homosexualismo fuese part of su ser ontológico, sino de personas tendencias homosexuales. If solicitó sustituir el texto de este número por el siguiente: “the sexualidad que nos hace existir como humanidad en masculino y the femenino, es a valor irrenunciable en la antropología y en the theología cristiana. Nos hace ser los unos para with los otros no en la indistinción until en la complementariedad … Las personas with tendencias homosexuales tambien necesitan de acogida y acompañamiento que les ayude a crecer en la fe y a conocer el plan de Dios para ellos.”

[5] “Consideramos que faltaron en el mismo énfasis sobre temas importantes como el aborto, los atentados contra la vida, el amplio fenómeno de la adopción, las decision-making en conciencia de los exposos, así como a mayor claridad sobre el theme de la homosexualidad .”

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A MARRIED GAY GUY WHO HAS NOT REPENTED

Greetings to all, “I have not just registered in the forum”, I was undecided whether to introduce myself, partly because I don’t know if my story will be useful for the discussion. My not being repentant for the choices made could mislead some who are looking for their identity.

I immediately say that I have a certain age, I am married and with children, but since adolescence I have always had fantasies and even homosexual practices. But I made a choice of life that I don’t want to question now. The fact that I have read many of the interventions of this forum, which I judge serious and above all commendable in protecting the privacy of users, also highlights that I still have an interest in these issues and my for fear of not being completely in peace with myself.

I think I have an ideal family life, a wife who loves me and children I’m proud of. All this, however, has been achieved without my having ever been able to distract myself from my drives which are clearly in the homosexual sense. Even after the wedding I had some falls, I considered them “betrayals”, yes serious, but in my opinion not very different from those of straight people. I don’t know whether to consider myself a true homosexual, but the more I analyze my life and the more I believe to be gay. But I also think with different attitudes from experiences of others.

I never thought of being able to share the couple life with a man and I was mostly driven by sexual attraction, I don’t know if I “fell in love” with another guy, perhaps at a young age, perhaps with attentions directed towards those who could not create a relationship with me, inside me however the thing has always been confused. What is certain is that I have always refused to recognize him and have tried to live a seemingly normal hetero life. In short, my homosexuality is the one that is called dystonic homosexuality.

You have to consider that on me the religious element has had a decisive influence. I have understood from various interventions that this is normally considered negative. But faith for me is an irrepressible fact, full of doubts and contradictions, but I cannot and don’t want to eliminate it from my life. I never said anything to my wife. I realize that complete sincerity in a relationship is essential but I have never succeeded, perhaps at the beginning I made some attempts, but exactly as I read in some posts of the forum, often this by the partner of the other sex is not understood or the partner doesn’t even want to consider it.

Now, after a long time, for the great affection that I have towards my wife, never, never I could have let her be aware of a situation that she surely couldn’t have understood. I try to accept myself this way, maybe I have not been completely honest, but sometimes other priorities are included in the scale of priorities. The textbook on homosexuality has greatly struck me positively, especially when the topic of married gays is dealt with. I think I have found a balance as indicated in the first option, that is with fantasies and, sometimes, with porn sites that I’m a bit ashamed of but nevertheless I consider the lesser evil.

I feel fragile and willing to give in to temptation but I resign myself to what I’m. I understand that maybe my experience cannot be taken as an example, I may have managed to realize myself in a way that can be judged not appropriate to the full acceptance of how we are but, as I have repeatedly heard, every case is separate and I frankly I cannot repent of my family choice. Perhaps today with the most widespread and above all clearer and more scientific means of information on this topic, I would have done differently, but it went like this and no verification of other hypotheses is anymore possible. Hello everyone with my most sincere sympathy.

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CRITICAL POINTS OF THE PATH OF A GAY GUY TOWARDS HETEROSEXUAL MARRIAGE

I noticed that the statistical sites show the constant presence of readers who get to Gay Project, through the Google search engine, using keys like: ”married gays”. The problem exists and it is not statistically irrelevant as usually believed.

I try to summarize here some of the fundamental elements that emerged from the Gay Project experience with regard to married gays. Among the absolutely fundamental elements in determining the path that leads gay guys to marriage, we must remember:

1) The idea that being gay is a “choice” that is somehow modifiable or a “vice” that can be prevented or corrected.

2) The idea that sexuality is a marginal reality that, for a heterosexual, must be exclusively instrumental to the creation of a family and procreation and, for a gay guy, must in any case be sacrificed in the name of the family and children.

3) The idea that a gay guy can be fully realized, that is can be realzed at the family level, because the true realization is only that, exclusively through the denial of his sexuality and that this denial will be, after all, painless because compensated by the family affection. In essence, the instinctive affectivity, connected with sexuality, is radically denied in this way. Cardinal Lajolo, in an interview in March 2014, declared, as if it were obvious, that “Gay marriages cannot fail to disappoint those who make them”, in reality, if we consider the constant decrease in the propensity to marriage, the exponential increase in “femicides” and the constantly increasing percentages of divorces and separations (in Italy 50% of marriages end up in divorce or separation), what emerges is the substantial separation of society from the Catholic model of marriage and family.

4) Proposing to a young heterosexual the traditional family as a condition of happiness means to deceive him, on the contrary, it would be useful to induce him to reflect on the problems and uncertainties that marriage can bring and actually brings with itself, given that 50% of marriages end up in court. Proposing heterosexual marriage as the only possible option for a homosexual means even laying the foundation not only for the failure of an entirely artificial family union, which will inevitably weigh on children, but also means condemning a gay to a life entirely against nature, i.e. against his nature, and condemning a woman, who would have every right to have a husband really in love with her, to live in a state of great uncertainty and total dissatisfaction not only sexual but, in almost all cases, even emotional.

5) The idea that the “sacrifice” is a value in itself. Too often guys tend to see the renunciation of their spontaneous sexuality as a merit in the name of the ideal of the family. In reality, when a gay gets married he is convinced that accepting the sacrifice of his sexuality is something high and noble, but in no case self-repression leads, in the long run, to positive outcomes, and the “sacrifice” accepted by the gay, it actually ends up being a violent conditioning imposed on the life of a wife who often isn’t event aware.

6) The idea that conformism to traditional values is always positive, even for those who with certain traditional institutions, such as marriage, have nothing at all to do. Families rarely appreciate freedom and often tend to believe that what is socially accepted is, for this only reason, the best path to follow for everyone and in every situation.

7) The idea that obedience is always a virtue and the free of the single person must be systematically sacrificed in the name of socially accepted general rules.

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ALWAYS OUR CHILDREN – USA BISHOPS AND HOMOSEXUALITY

On the website of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the United States, I read a document entitled “Always Our Children: : A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers” worthy of special attention. It was my intention to translate the document into Italian and publish it “with due comment” on the Gay Project websites, both in Italian and in English. I translated all the text but I noticed that I’m not even allowed to partially reproduce it because it is copyrighted!

The copyright was born to prevent the commercial exploitation of a publication, but in this specific case, where it is not clear what the commercial interest to defend is, since it is a “pastoral” document, copyright obviously has another meaning, i.e. to prevent even the partial publication of the text and therefore its point by point comment by “unauthorized persons”, in essence the copyright here has only the sense of a censorship. I must point out that the Vatican’s official documents, which are of very greater importance, are not defended with expedients such as copyright and the Vatican honestly exposes itself to criticism, but the US Bishops’ Conference prefers to defend itself with means typical of commercial law!

I invite not only gays but all people who have a civil conscience to read this document (http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/h…ildren.cfm).

I cannot mention the content for copyright reasons, I will limit myself to the impressions I had during the reading of the text.
I note that the text has been copyrighted on 1997, at the time of John Paul II, or rather of Saint John Paul II. The bishops present a non-fraternal but “pastoral” approach in the sense that there is no common research of the truth but there are the pastors who are kindly concerned with the lost sheep. Communication is one-way, from top to bottom, from the bishops to the faithful.

The discourse on homosexuality is dealt with by insisting very formally on acceptance and respect but by reiterating the teaching of the Church, that is, essentially, radically refusing to open eyes on reality. Galileo also claimed that it is not the sun that turns around the earth but the earth that turns around the sun and was condemned by the Inquisition on the basis of the teachings of the Church, teachings that had nothing evangelical, as Church teachings on Homosexuality have nothing evangelical.

I have cited hundreds of times fundamental documents on this matter of the World Health Organization, but the Church doesn’t want to consider “reality”, which has nothing to do with what the Church itself preaches about homosexuality. It is possible to make a mistake, but insisting in error avoiding any form of comparison means that the other are considered a reality of lower category, to be pitied, to be guided, people whom you must pretend to respect without trying to understand what they think, which is considered wrong a priori.

Then there is another thing that has struck me very much, the document is directed essentially not to gays, but to parents of gay sons and to those who exercise pastoral functions, it is said that the use of conversion therapies “is not mandatory” and it should be accepted voluntarily and also that it is not said that it can solves the problem, but Catholic parents are advised to look for specialists who follow the Catholic doctrine, and this is in itself very significant.

On the one hand the document underlines that a gay son is still a son (because many Catholics had evidently been led to think otherwise!), but for the other it recognizes that a parent can well be upset by a terrible event like realizing to have a gay son, it is recommended that the parent address the community, the parish, the diocese, the associations of parents of gay sons, etc. etc.. But I wondered if the Church had ever realized that the Church itself continues even now to spread false and homophobic messages that have fueled and continue to fuel hatred against gays.

On the subject of suicide it is said that homosexuality can lead to suicide but in reality it is not homosexuality that leads to suicide but the climate of witch-hunting about homosexuality, fueled by those who, under the gentle and paternal appearance of the shepherd, spread hatred. This was the church of Saint John Paul II but it was also the church of Benedict XVI and unfortunately it is still the church of Pope Francis.

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A TRUE STORY OF A GAY PRIEST

Newspapers write many times stories of gay priests and gay prelates who give themselves to the good life taking advantage of their prestige and their social position and combining meetings with male prostitutes or with guys who for some reason cannot subtract themselves. Although managing a gay site for years and despite having met several times priests and religious through that site, I must say that what I saw is completely different from what can be read in the newspapers. For the sake of honesty and with the consent of the person of whom I speak, which unfortunately is no more alive, I would like to tell here the true story of a gay priest I met through the chat. I think it is proper to make people understand the real extent of the problem, which is not in the scandalous behavior of someone, scandalous especially for the gays themselves as well as of course for the Church, but in the deep suffering of many, according to what I can see, of  the great majority of gay priests. 
 
Several years ago, I was in chat with a priest who was fifty years old at the time. The dialogue between us was characterized, at the beginning, by a certain mutual distrust. It seemed strange to me to be contact by a priest, it was a rather rare event and I thought it could be the usual fake that needs to have fun abusing a gay chat (and unfortunately there are several fake), then, over the weeks dialogue between us became particularly serious, I will quote below some passages (I call the priest who speaks to me Paul, fictitious name, I’m project):
 
Paul writes: Don’t be surprised, project, there are many  gay priests but I really feel a priest, I cannot tell you if when I made the choice to enter the seminary, it was really my vocation or under what seemed my vocation there was the inability to be what I was or maybe the desire to spend my life anyway for my neighbor, doing something good, since I could not live as I wanted. I grew up in the parish environment and I felt it as my natural environment starting as a child. Faith for me was always a great value, of course I understood that there was a contrast between my faith and what I was and when I made my choice I consciously chose to put aside what I was and to follow the Lord because I hoped to find some consolation too. When you’re young you react emotionally and you don’t know that over time many things change and that making choices that are “forever” is much more difficult than it seems.
I have had several parishes, now I’m at [omissis], it‘s a nice place and it’s good people, almost all old, there’s so much misery but above all economic, there’s no moral misery, there’s no criminality, there’s no violence, there is no drug, they do not cheat the neighbor and there is also a lot of dignity even if they are poor and perhaps exactly because of their being poor, that dignity that I don’t have or I no longer have because sometimes I feel like the wrong man in the wrong place. 
The parishioners love me and I love them, many are farmers but they are really good people. But I feel in the wrong place because in a sense I’m lying to them, but I don’t even know if things are just like that. I thought that maybe I should leave the Church because I’m not worthy to be there but it’s an idea that scares me, I don’t think I could live if I had to leave the Church and then I would feel a traitor to things in which, despite everything, I believe deeply.
When I can pray, I have the feeling that the Lord is near me and helps me to move forward. Understand me well, I have never betrayed my vows but not only, when I happened to come into contact with young men I always behaved like a priest must behave and then it was not even a sacrifice because those people for me were sacred, I tell you as if in confession, if I had put in trouble one of those guys I would have felt as a worm.
The result of all this was that I have always avoided contacts with young men and boys, who might need a real priest. I put in the first place above all poor, old and sick people. When I happened to witness those who were dying I prayed with a very strong intensity that God could help them by giving them so much faith to face the moment of the passing. In those moments I had no doubts and I felt I was a priest in the most beautiful and profound sense because I was bringing the Lord to people who needed comfort.
But sometimes I really think that I should leave the Church because so many things I have to say are things that I don’t really feel, I have tried to follow the teaching of the Church but sometimes it seems to me in full consciousness of not being able to adhere to those things.
 
Project writes: But if you left the Church, what prospects would you have?
 
Paul writes: In practice none, I don’t have a qualification that can serve in civil life, I don’t know how to survive I don’t know how to do anything, I can only be a priest and certainly I’m not a good priest and I go on like that because for my family it would be destructive and unexpected if I came out of the church.
My mother and my father are old, they are happy with the idea of having a son priest, for them to have a misguided son would be terrible and then my parents live with a very small pension and even if they want to help me, because I think they wouldn’t abandon me anyway, they can’t feed me too.
Then if I think of the idea of having a partner, well it’s just tragic. But who would put himself with a 50-year-old ex-priest who dies of hunger? Nobody at all and I wouldn’t go with anyone, apart from the fact that I’m old my parents would still feel me distant because I now come from an environment a very different from theirs.  And then that world has not only been mine but it is still now and it would still remain so if I left the church. It is not only the fear of the outside that doesn’t make me take a step like that, but it is also the fact that the Church is my real world, a world in which I feel useful. When someone comes to confession, something very rare apart from the old ladies who should be sanctified because they are incapable of doing anything wrong, when someone comes to confession, I always ask him/her to pray for me because sometimes I don’t know how to manage my relationship with the Lord, I cannot understand what He wants from me. In fact I know very well that I have no choices and that I can only go on like now and over the years I will perhaps end up putting aside even the doubts that still exist, but I wonder why the Lord asks me such a big sacrifice, I mean big for me because there are people who bear much worst things with so much faith, it is not that I want who knows what, but it is this state of dissatisfaction that I feel inside that overwhelms me, I wonder not how it is possible that the Lord wants me priest, but how is it possible that He wants a priest like me, with this half faith, with all these ifs and buts. Sometimes I think I’m not a priest but that I “act” as a priest a bit like any other job and then I think I’m cheating on the Lord.
 
The dialogue with Paul went on for several months, even if with long intervals, and the relationship of esteem and mutual respect has consolidated. One day he told me that he was not well and that he would have to make some investigations, he made them and it resulted that he had an advanced tumor. He was operated. After the surgery, which failed to stem the problem but weakened even more his body, he called me for the last time. The conversation was very short.
 
Paul writes: it went wrong, they told me that I will only do palliative care. You remember, we thought the problem was one and instead the real problem was another. I am very tired, I go to rest, I ask you only one thing: pray for me.
 
Project writes: I will certainly do it. A big hug.
 
Paul writes: You have done a lot for me. Hello Friend.
 
This was our last chat conversation. I can say that I keep inside me the memory of this priest and his suffering humanity, that’s why when I hear about gay priests in a scandalistic way I get angry, what I saw in these people is neither stupidity nor arrogance but silent suffering and torn conscience. The topic of gay priests should be treated with the utmost respect and I say this as a deeply lay person.
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CHURCH, FREEDOM AND SECULAR MORALITY

Secular morality is not a set of precepts and prohibitions, it is not a moral code destined to replace another moral code but it is a method that aims to guarantee coexistence, freedom and equality of individuals in social relationships, starting from the idea that freedom is the fundamental social value on which a society of free men must be founded and that the limitations of freedom are justifiable only in terms of the protection of the freedom of others. 
 
The secular morality has nothing to do with particular morals, it is not justified on the basis of any authority but derives from the free acceptance of its founding principle, i.e. the idea that freedom is the fundamental and unconditional right of everyone. In a secular view, on a social level, there are no true morals, according to nature or according to reason and there are no moral authorities, these concepts are typical of particular morals.
 
A secular morality is by its own nature relativistic in the sense that, if it is left to the individual the maximum freedom of conscience and full responsibility for his moral action, provided that one remains in the context of respect for the freedom of others, the choice of the individual is only his, cannot be normative for anyone and is not subject to the judgment of anyone. Relativism is a non-dogmatic and non-prejudicial view of morality, it is not a principle for which any moral code can be equally valid, it is rather a way of dealing with moral content and behavior with an eye to the only social aspect relevant, that is, to the dimension of freedom. Not every moral code or behavior can be admitted in a free society, that is in a secular society, but only the moral codes and behaviors that fully respect the freedom of others can be  accepted.
 
No preaching of discrimination, violence, homophobia or racial hatred, no a priori condemnation of facts or deriving from facts that are not objectively detrimental to the freedom of others, no privilege in any manner justified is compatible with a secular morality because these things are not respectful of freedom of others. No power to limit the freedom of other people, even within the same family, can morally be recognized to anyone for reasons other than those that the law recognizes on the basis of a collective objective interest. No mutilation (circumcision, infibulation) can be practiced for any reason on a minor. No imposition (to marry / not to marry, choice of spouse, choice of having children, choice to severely restrict pregnancies) can be imposed on anyone for any reason. These are just some examples of moral content absolutely incompatible with the freedom of all, which is the only value that a secular state must guarantee.
 
In a secular view of society, for all the conditions affecting the private sphere of individuals, must be guaranteed maximum freedom: adhere to a religion or abandon it freely without any prejudice, to join a political party and leave it freely without any prejudice, follow one’s own sexual orientation, marry or not get married, have or not have children, etc. ..
 
Some issues deserve clarification. Can Law allow restrictions of freedom such those characteristics of members of one or another religious confession (perpetual vows)? The answer is obviously yes, with the condition that from that religious confession you can go out freely, without any formality and without any prejudice. The temporary sacrifice of the freedom of the individual, consciously and freely wanted, doesn’t violate the freedom of that individual if the sacrifice can end in every moment, without formality and without damage, it is rather an exercise of individual freedom. On the other hand, it is not morally acceptable to allow a definitive and irreversible choice, such as that of pronouncing perpetual vows, definitively renouncing some of one’s own rights, without the possibility of going back when the need of it is felt. The renunciations to freedom cannot be admitted if irrevocable.
 
Does this mean that it is not possible to pronounce perpetual vows renouncing definitively some of one’s own rights? No. This only means that the law cannot continue to attach legal value to acts performed as a result of the vows if they are revoked. If a person pronounces the vows and as a result of the vows his assets pass to others, the revocation of the vows must determine, by law, the return of the assets in the sphere of the originary owner. This means that the property transferred following the pronounce of the vows must remain inalienable as long as the person who pronounced the vows is alive and that until then only the right of usufruct is transferred temporarily. If not so if the renounce of vows would become an act of potentially highly restriction of individual freedom in the future, which is morally unacceptable, that is, it would be a trap from which it is impossible to escape except by serious harm.
 
The legislation of a secular state cannot enter into questions relating to the private moral sphere of the individual except to ensure that the behaviors resulting from individual convictions are in any case compatible with the freedom of others. The legislation of a secular state must completely ignore individual morals and must be limited to guaranteeing the freedom of all. The rules must be essential, must not have moralizing purposes but must be a general guarantee of freedom. Precisely because the law cannot enter into moral issues, no conscientious objection can be admitted, because the restrictions on the freedom of individuals imposed by the law are aimed exclusively at protecting the freedom of all and therefore conscientious objection would be in fact, a limitation of the freedom of others, which is the fundamental value against which, in a secular society, no objection can be admitted.
 
Whoever does not accept this principle can come out of the secular society, from which he doesn’t feel represented, and adhere to systems that subordinate freedom to other values. In a secular state the external signs of a religious, political or any other belonging are not allowed in public places, obviously they are always legitimate in private places or open to the public. A secular state doesn’t sign agreements with any religious confession for any reason and doesn’t enter at any level in matters related to religion or individual morality, it must instead actively protect the freedom to adhere to all confessions and to withdraw without any conditions and without any damage.
 
The principle of state secularism manifests itself in a peculiar way in avoiding any overlap between the concept of crime, which is a legal concept, and the concept of sin, which is a moral concept. Crimes are repressed and punished by a secular society because they violate the sphere of freedom of others by depriving others of their rights. The punishment of a crime is not a consequence of any moral prescription but is motivated by profound social reasons related to freedom and equality. The typical example of crime is the murder.
 
Sins are violations of a particular moral code to which a value of sacred origin is attached to the individual or religious level. The typical example of sin is the violation of the commandment “Don’t desire the woman of others” that condemns even the desire, that is, something that in itself is not in any way detrimental to the freedom of others and therefore not only is not a crime but belongs to the freedom of the individual and is completely indifferent to the community.
 
No one is allowed to forgive a crime, not even to the victim of the same crime, because a crime is an aggressive behavior towards the basic principles of social life, so one cannot be forgiven or absolved by one’s own crimes by any reason. One can instead be forgiven or absolved by sins in the name of the authority that has set the particular moral principle that has been violated. Obviously these are realities that have nothing in common. The category of crime is valid for all the members of a secular society, that of sin is valid exclusively for persons who adhere to a particular religious confession and to its particular morality.
 
The reflections so far made on the idea of freedom as the foundation of civil life and on the distinction between crime and sin are masterly summarized by Gaetano Salvemini [Letter from America 1947-1949 (epistolary with Ernesto Rossi)]: “Everyone in Italy seems to have forgot that freedom is not my freedom, but the freedom of those who don’t think like me. A clerical person will never understand this point, neither in Italy, nor in any other country in the world. The clerical will never come to understand the distinction between sin and crime, between what someone believes to be sinful and what the secular law has the duty to condemn as a crime. The clerical punishes the sin as if it were a crime and forgives the crime as if it were a sin. The clerical has never left the atmosphere of the 10 commandments, in which stealing and killing (crimes) are put on the same level as the desire of the woman of others (sin).”
 
An extremely delicate issue is religious freedom, on which the attention of Pope Benedict XVI focused in particular in the Discourse to the Diplomatic Corps on Monday, 10 January 2011: “are not there many situations in which, unfortunately, the right to religious freedom is harmed or denied? This human right, which in reality is the first of the rights, because, historically, it has been affirmed first, and, on the other hand, has as its object the constitutive dimension of man, that is, its relationship with the Creator, is perhaps not too often questioned or violated? It seems to me that society, its leaders and public opinion are more aware today, even if not always exactly, of this serious wound inflicted against the dignity and freedom of the “homo religiosus” [religious man], on which I wanted, many times to attract everyone’s attention “. “Christians are original and authentic citizens, loyal to their homeland and faithful to all their national duties. It is natural that they can enjoy all the rights of citizenship, freedom of conscience and worship, freedom in the field of teaching and education and in the use of the media”. “Moving our gaze from the East to the West, we are faced with other types of threats against the full exercise of religious freedom. I think, in the first place, of countries in which great importance is accorded to pluralism and tolerance, but where religion is subject to growing marginalization. People tend to consider religion, every religion, as an unimportant factor, alien to modern society or even destabilizing, and they try with various means to prevent any influence of it in social life.
 
Thus people arrive to demand that Christians act in the exercise of their profession without reference to their religious and moral convictions, and even in contradiction with them, as, for example, where laws are in force that limit the right to conscientious objection of health workers or of certain legal operators “. “Continuing my reflection, I cannot pass over in silence another threat to the religious freedom of families in some European countries, where it is imposed the participation in courses of sexual or civil education that transmit conceptions of the person and life presumed neutral, but which in reality reflect an anthropology contrary to faith and right reason “.
 
If we analyze the concept of religious freedom as it emerges from the words of Benedict XVI, we can note that the right to religious freedom is considered “the first of rights” but, as clarified by Salvemini, it is neither Freedom without adjectives nor religious freedom, laically understood, in other words, the equal freedom of all religions, but rather the freedom to be Catholics, it should be emphasized that the freedom of conscience and of worship, freedom in the field of teaching, education and use of the means of communication  are claimed for the Catholics. In reality, these are very delicate freedoms because the recognition of total freedom of conscience involves in practice recognizing the right of the Catholics not to obey the law when their conscience, in this case the particular moral code of their religious confession, is in contrast with the law, that means to guarantee the primacy of a particular confessional morality on the law.
 
I remember that Benedict XVI himself urged Catholics to commit themselves to preventing access to teaching to homosexuals and to feel engaged in fighting against the approval of the legal recognition of homosexual unions. If particularistic morals of the individual religious confessions were entitled decision on matters that affect all the population, freedom would be quietly subjected to principles incompatible with the exercise of the freedom of all. But the Pope demands full freedom of action also on the level of teaching, education and the media, areas in which the state cannot and should not delegate anything to anyone.
 
Confessional education can under no circumstances replace a lay and pluralist education. Educating means first of all providing non-prejudicial views of reality, it means putting people in contact with reality so that they can learn and judge for themselves by overcoming prejudices. Precisely because education has an enormous value in the formation of the person, it must take place in a pluralist context, and in this sense lay, in which the fundamental rule is the confrontation with reality beyond the ideologies and the prejudices of value.
 
It is significant that the Pope considers the obligation of participation in courses in sexual or civil education to be an attack on religious freedom, mind you, not of people but of families, because it is through sexual confessional education that religions perpetuate their power, preventing in fact children’s access to secular or otherwise different views of sexuality. A completely similar reasoning applies to the mass media. It is up to the state the primary task of the fight against ignorance and subcultures, against the superficiality and the absence of critical spirit. In this context religious confessions have freedom of expression but in no case can an education uniformly permeated of values of a confessional type can be allowed, such an education would constitute a real brainwashing and an attack on individual liberty in the name of religious freedom. Kids who are growing must be able to compare different messages and different interpretations of reality to form their own point of view. It should be emphasized that freedom of religion cannot become the freedom to create structures of power that are alternative to those with institutional aims and ways of proceeding that are not respectful of the freedom of others and that to the freedom of religion corresponds a secular freedom of criticism of religious confessions that cannot enjoy special protections or immunities, such as, in a truly secular society, no particular group can enjoy such benefits.
 
The Constitution of the French Republic, which came into force in 1958, begins as follows: Article 1 – France is an indivisible, secular, democratic and social republic. It ensures equality before the law to all citizens without distinction of origin, race or religion. It respects all beliefs. Its organization is decentralized.”  As can be seen, the secular nature of the state is explicitly stated in art. 1 of the Constitution. In the Italian Constitution, laicity is never named, and article 7 constitutionalizes the Concordat with the Holy See: Article 7 – “The State and the Catholic Church are, each in its own order, independent and sovereign. Their relations are regulated by the Lateran Pacts. The modifications of the Pacts accepted by the two parties don’t require a constitutional revision procedure.”
 
The Constitutional Court has been working to recognize in an interpretative way a principle of laicity of the state in whose name the state ends up limiting its own de facto sovereignty even in realities that are objectively very far from secularism. For a careful examination of the issue refer to the essay “The principle of secularism in the Italian and European constitution” 
[http://rivista.ssef.it/site.php?Page=20050502135352251&edition=2010-02-01].
 
I conclude with a quote. So Ernesto Rossi writes about himself: “I belong to the very small group of those who still believe it is the duty of every civilized man to take the defense of the secular State against the interference of the Church in Parliament, in school, in the public administration, and believe that in our country, this is more important than any other goal – political, legal or economic – since its attainment would be the indispensable premise for any serious structural reform.” [E. Rossi, from “Il sillabo e dopo”]
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HOW A GAY GUY CONFRONTS RELIGION

The blog is nice and definitely not standard, so I think I will continue to read it, I think it misses something, a topic that I think has affected the lives of many gay guys, me at the first place. I know that I’m about to throw a stone into the pond and I could raise a high wave, but I don’t think we should have any taboos. What are the relationships between gays and religion? Mh, pay attention, I don’t want to talk about gay priests and the like, a problem that deserves serious investigation even by the gay world, which instead withdraws in good order, I want to talk about the relationship between the majority of gay boys and religion, the thing from my point of view is fundamental but the taboo is so big that people avoid getting involved in similar issues. I don’t know about you, but I have lived it with a real anxiety. 
 
When I was a young boy I didn’t realize it, then between 13 and 14 years old, I discovered two new things together: one is religion and the other is that I was gay. I say immediately that religion seemed to me a beautiful thing for some of its contents, such as universal brotherhood, the idea of winning death, the idea of giving a deep meaning to life, and there is no denying that these things have a charm very strong, but from other points of view religion seemed very formal, legalistic, someway the opposite of what it should have been.
 
On the other hand the discovery of sexuality and of being gay, which was not at all a trauma for me, had other attractions, if we want less metaphysical and decidedly more concrete, especially for a growing boy. The other boys were also a sexual attraction for me and I could not hide it to myself. At that time I went to the parish church which, all in all, had their own dignity. There was a priest, regular meetings were held to talk about morals and even about sex. The priest was prudent, for example he had as a rule not to confess the boys, a very smart thing to avoid creating embarrassment. For more where I went the girls were very few, they were not excluded but almost excluded themselves. For a guy like me, going to a place like that meant going to a place that was good for my parents and at the same time being able to be in direct contact with many other guys, it was good, we played table football, we chatted, we talked to the priest, yes, yes, we talked to the priest and here I was beginning to feel out of place. We all saw each other in a room and then we began to chat and ask questions, even about sex and not too general, but the thing sounded strange to me, we were all boys and we spoke only about girls, in practice the priest was enough able to talk about straight sex and morals, but he never spoke about gays (sex or not sex), total taboo. Basically the taboo subject was not sex but homosexuality. I didn’t like all this.
 
And then there was another topic that was my real obsession of a few years ago: masturbation. [Note for project. If you want this part you can cut it, but I would like to insert it.] I say obsession because I did everything to avoid it, but since mother nature is stronger than us, I inevitably happened to masturbate another time and I had to go to confession and so on, practically indefinitely.
 
The story of masturbation actually represented in a very clear way the continuous oscillation of my interests between religion and sex, be careful, “gay” sex, detail that I omitted systematically. Sometimes I have self-imposed forms of scary self-discipline to try to resist, for a while I succeeded, to the limit, with titanic efforts, even for a month, but then it was impossible to go on that way.
 
Then, over the years, I asked myself the meaning of all this and honestly I didn’t find any serious reason for this, and then certain things of the religion seemed to me like a superstructure invented just to keep people under check more easily. For a few years I have still fluctuated so to say between heaven and hell, then I said to myself: but I have a conscience, the eternal Father gave it to me and not to use it would be a blasphemy, since then I began to reason in a different way, before acting I wondered if I was really honest to the end, but if the answer of my conscience was yes I didn’t pay any more attention to anyone and in terms of gay feelings the answer was almost always yes.
 
I would like to explain myself better. When I fell in love with a guy and I had to understand how to behave towards him, I followed two criteria, the first was that of spontaneity, I wondered: if I hadn’t thought too much and had behaved just instinctively, what would I have done? And then I wondered if that instinctive choice could be wrong for that guy, that is, I wondered if I had some hidden purposes towards him, sometimes I thought I had unconfessed purposes and therefore I felt urged to a choice that was very hard for me and I did what I thought “honestly” was the best for that guy and not for me, but most of the times the instinctive choices seemed to me even the most radically moral: in practice always tell the truth unless there it was the risk of hurting the other, but never for my own sake. This is not a stupid logic and it is not even a difficult moral to apply because if you love a guy you really want his good. So you understand how I think.
 
As for religion after certain positions taken by the Church I honestly think that being gay without hypocrisies is irreconcilable with what the Church says. I have read the official documents on “homosexual persons” and also those to forbid homosexuality in the seminaries, I read these things with great regret because they will only create more suffering, for example to the homosexual priests who surely are there and who are so further crushed. I wonder, and even here I ask honestly: but do they understand what they are doing? I heard a priest saying that those who make gay propaganda (which is absurd because being gay is not an ideological question and the propaganda in these things doesn’t make sense) has a “cauterized” conscience, which in the language of ecclesiastical moralists means that he has the conscience so burned that he can’t even realize his mistake. There is no need to say that “in all honesty” the thing seems grotesque. I could excuse these people if I thought they really don’t know what they are doing, but unfortunately I think they know it very well.
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