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Letter to My Bishop

  /   Saturday June 11, 2005  

Below is the text of my letter regarding the new ministry to gays and lesbians in the Diocese of Memphis. Please note that I used the NRSV translation due to copyright issues (can quote up to 500 verses without express permission) and so that I will not be accused of stacking the deck by using a “conservative” translation. Let us pray for our bishop.

Your Excellency:

I am writing to make known my concern to you. I was greatly concerned by the formation of the new Catholic Ministry with Gay and Lesbian persons in the Diocese of Memphis as mentioned in the May 19th edition of the West Tennessee Catholic. I understand that those who find themselves attracted to members of their own gender may have special needs, and a fine apostolate named Courage (http://www.couragerc.net/) was developed years ago to support these people in remaining chaste and dedicated to Christ. However, the information that was presented in the article and in your This Far by Faith column did not indicate that this was the purpose of the ministry being formed in the Diocese of Memphis.

The mission statement of the Catholic Ministry with Gay and Lesbian Persons suggests that the baptized are called in “the diversity of our sexual orientation,” as though homosexuality were a form of legitimate diversity such as race or gender. While the Church teaches that men and women with homosexual tendencies are to be accepted with “respect, compassion, and sensitivity,” the same paragraph in the Catechism (2358) states that this inclination is “objectively disordered.” The Catechism says that homosexual acts are “contrary to the natural law” (paragraph 2357) and that “under no circumstances can they be approved.” This is not based on a preconceived notion of who does or does not belong in the Church or on fear of differences in others but the constant teaching of Sacred Scripture and Tradition.

At the end of your column, you wrote “Let us dare to love as Christ loves.” Indeed, we should. Christ called sinners in the place where they were, but he did not leave them there. To the woman caught in adultery, he said “Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.” (John 8:11, NRSV). We understand this when we minister to alcoholics or drug addicts. The effects of their addiction may remain for life, but they are helped to stop the abuse of the alcohol or drug that is destroying them. Likewise, those with a homosexual inclination must be helped in their call to chastity, self-mastery, and inner freedom as called for in paragraph 2359 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. To do otherwise is to leave people whom Christ loves in bondage to sin. Jesus said “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” He also said “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.” (John 8:31,34, NRSV).

As you have said in your column “This spiritual home is to be a precursor of the home we will have for eternity . . . Our task while we are in this earthly home is to do all we can to help each other grow into the home we will share in heaven.” It is essential that we do not condone people’s sin but rather help them to overcome it. Otherwise, we are likely to find that they do not make it into Heaven, and we will be held responsible before God and possibly ourselves condemned. Some people may walk away, but people also walked away from Jesus on account of teaching they could not accept (John 6:66). Please reconsider the approach the Diocese is taking to its ministry to people with homosexual inclinations.


C. David Ancell, Pharm.D.

Category: Posts imported from Danger! Falling Brainwaves, Uncategorized



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