Spiritual Friendship

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What Catholics Can Learn About Islam from a Former Muslim

Many Catholics look upon Islam as an ally in the struggle against militant secularism. Since Muslims are opposed to permissiveness, pornography, same-sex “marriage,” and other aspects of the secularist agenda, many Catholics assume that they must share similar values about marriage and sexuality. But this is not the case. The Islamic emphasis on modesty and [...]

Do We Understand the Homosexual Inclination?

“An essential dimension of authentic pastoral care is the identification of causes of confusion regarding the Church's teaching.” Thus begins an early paragraph (no. 4) of the pivotal 1986 CDF “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons.” Said another way, authentic love and authentic freedom can only [...]

The Spiritual Friends and Amoris Laetitia

By the deafening silence, one can assume the “Spiritual Friends” are disappointed by the Holy Father’s apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, at least as related to their favorite topic, same-sex attraction. No doubt their hopes were high when the controversial interim report was produced at the Extraordinary Synod in the Fall of 2014. It was as [...]

Why Attractions and Emotions Become “Identities”

For years to come, a range of experts and armchair analysts will likely argue about the origins of same-sex attraction and “gender” confusion and to what extent either counts as a psychological disorder. But there is one aspect of the LGBTQ(etc.) phenomenon that, it seems to me, is beyond dispute: basing identity on attractions and [...]

Why Words Matter When It Comes to Homosexuality

We can all agree that gaining understanding is at a premium when it comes to the topic of homosexuality. So what are we to make of (the words) "homosexual" and "gay"? Are these two words alike? Are they synonymous in meaning? Perhaps they are. Then again, there are such differences in people's minds when they [...]

Spiritual Friends on Chastity, Romance, and Freudian “Sublimation”

A half-dozen of the usually non-monolithic Spiritual Friends have joined forces in an educational project that, unfortunately, will probably bring more confusion than clarity to Catholics seeking to understand what the Church has to say about same-sex attraction. The website CatholicSexuality.com—a chastity-education project from a Yonkers, New York group called the St. Augustine Foundation—invites people [...]

A Word of Caution for the Spiritual Friends

Melinda Selmys thinks that I have entirely missed the point of Spiritual Friendship, the blog to which she contributes, along with several other same-sex attracted Christians. Her response to my essay (found in this now-available volume and profiled here by Austin Ruse) declares that I am quite wrong to suppose that she, or her fellow [...]

An Intellectual Challenge to the Spiritual Friends

Two years ago I began to notice regular columns in First Things from those who identified as homosexual, chaste and supportive of Church teaching on marriage and human sexuality. It became immediately clear there was a movement afoot, one that I hadn’t noticed nor had anyone else outside of a small bubble, but that it [...]

Reflections Inspired by the Courage Conference in Detroit

Modern times being what they are, it can be quite difficult to have a civil, Catholic discussion of same-sex attraction. People who experience it are sometimes reluctant to speak out about their experiences, which is understandable considering that those who do speak open themselves to criticism from many directions. For those who are not same-sex [...]

The New Homophiles: Muddying the Meaning of Family

It’s an oddly timed realization—here in the shadow of the looming Supreme Court decision that could have the effect of redefining marriage (as though that were possible), I’ve come to the conclusion that the New Homophiles seem to be engaging in an effort that would have the effect of redefining family (as though that were [...]

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