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How does the Church's teaching on marriage relate to people who experience same-sex attraction?

Posted Jul. 31, 2013 by Marriage Unique for a Reason 4 comments

Note: Much attention has been given to a media question and answer session with Pope Francis on the papal flight home from World Youth Day in Brazil. See coverage and context from Catholic News Service here and here. It would be an opportune time to re-visit what the Church teaches about persons who experience same-sex attraction. The following is from the Common Good page on this website and addresses the common question: “How does the Church’s teaching on marriage as the union of one man and one woman relate to people who experience same-sex attraction?” Below the answer are helpful links to further sources of Church teaching, as well as pastoral guidelines and ministries for persons with same-sex attraction.

Jesus was very confident in speaking the truth. He was not confined by the traditions of His time. He did and spoke what He knew was the truth. He Himself is the Truth. Jesus did not discriminate, yet he clearly taught that marriage is only between one man and one woman. He also clearly disagreed with sexual behavior outside of marriage. As Jesus did, the Church teaches that marriage between one man and one woman is the only proper context for sexual relations.

The Church’s teaching on marriage recognizes that every human person is made in the image of God and has inviolable dignity. Every human person is a gift, deserving respect and love. It is important to acknowledge that persons with homosexual inclinations have suffered and can suffer a great deal. Historically, they have been treated as second class citizens in many instances. Often, the early years of persons who experience same-sex attraction can be very painful, and can include long periods of loneliness, confusion about their own feelings, the pain of self-hatred, and most sadly, even thoughts of suicide. Unfortunately, some have gone so far as to act on these thoughts.

The Church cares for and accepts persons who experience homosexual inclinations. She refuses to label anyone. Many with a homosexual inclination attend Mass regularly, are active in parish life, and seek to receive the sacraments. The Church invites and welcomes everyone to pray and worship, and is eager to listen to everyone’s story. The Church has long worked in ministry to those suffering from HIV/AIDS, and she continues her pastoral outreach and invites all people to follow the way of Jesus. The Church does not want the teaching and beauty of marriage, which is a sacrament at the service of union (communion and mission), to be an occasion for deeper division.

Sexuality is a good part of our human nature. The Church, the Body of Christ, encourages all of us to seek forgiveness for human weakness and poor judgment in areas of human sexuality, which often results in human tragedy of the highest proportions.

The Church knows well that sexual sins are not the only sins in the world. Greed, anger, violence, and envy cause untold pain to millions. Yet the Church also understands that sexual lifestyles that disregard marriage as the union of one man and one woman are particularly destructive to lives, to marriage, and to families.

In our culture today, it’s common to hear the words “choice,” “rights,” “tolerance,” and “equality,” particularly among young people, and often in connection with issues such as marriage or sexual expression. But what do these words really mean? Growing up as they do in a world filled with brokenness and rejection, young people are hungry for something more, for something substantial, for the truth. One of the greatest assets of youth is their hunger and enthusiasm. All too often today this hunger is ill fed. The Church invites all of us to proclaim the truth in love as we also live in the light of truth.

For more information, see:


Friday Fast: For grandparents

Posted Jul. 26, 2013 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

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Intention: For grandparents, that they may be cherished by their families as they continue to witness to fidelity, love, and sacrifice.

Reflection: Today is the feast day of St. Joachim and St. Anne, the parents of Mary and grandparents of Jesus. In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI said that grandparents are “witnesses of a personal and community history” that continues “to live on in their memories and in their wisdom.”

More quotes from Benedict’s talk on grandparents:

“Who does not remember their grandparents? Who can forget their presence and their witness by the domestic hearth? How many of us bear their names as a sign of continuity and gratitude!”

“May grandparents return to being a living presence in the family, in the Church and in society. With regard to the family, may grandparents continue to be witnesses of unity, of values founded on fidelity and of a unique love that gives rise to faith and the joy of living.”

“In the face of the crisis of the family, might it not be possible to set out anew precisely from the presence and witness of these people – grandparents – whose values and projects are more resilient?”

Did you know? The next video in the Marriage: Unique for a Reason series is a Spanish-language video called “El Matrimonio: Hecho para el amor y la vida” (“Marriage: Made for Love and Life”). In the video, grandparents Hector and Rosa, who are celebrating their 50th anniversary, gently help their grandson Miguel and his girlfriend Maria see the beauty of lifelong married love between a husband and wife. Go here to watch a trailer of “El Matrimonio” (with a dual-language script).



Friday Fast: Pray for Married Couples Struggling with Infertility

Posted Jul. 12, 2013 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

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Intention: For married couples whose hearts ache to welcome a(nother) child into their family: that they may find refuge in Jesus’ Sacred Heart, and that His love would fill their hearts and flow to others through them.

Reflection: As our lives unfold, we may find that they look quite different than we expected, and it may seem as though God does not hear our heart’s requests. Times like this can be very painful. But let us recognize that in the midst of the heartache and confusion, there is an invitation.

There is an invitation to run into the arms of the Father as His little child and entrust to Him our fears and disappointments, as well as our hopes and desires. There is an invitation to stop, look and listen: to stop for a moment, to look at our desires more deeply, and to listen to what the Lord may be telling us through them. There is an invitation to surrender everything to Him, plunge deeply into His heart, and allow Him into ours.

Let us draw close to the One who loves us so tenderly and ask that our hearts may be open to see His presence in our lives and that we may trust in His loving care for us.

Did you know? Read the stories of three married couples who have faced the ache of infertility, and learn more about resources for effective and morally sound ways to treat the causes of infertility in “Hope for Married Couples Who Want to Have a Child.”



Friday Fast: Pray for Religious Liberty

Posted Jul. 5, 2013 by Marriage Unique for a Reason 1 comment

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Intention: On this First Friday, ever mindful of Christ’s infinite love for humanity, we pray and fast for the protection of religious freedom for all people of faith.

Reflection: In today’s gospel reading, we encounter another example of the totality of Christ’s love, as exemplified through Christ’s words to the Pharisees who had questioned His interactions with tax collectors and sinners. Christ, ever unconcerned with public opinion, tells the Pharisees, “Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners” (Mt 9:13).

In the current struggle for religious freedom, let us be mindful of the totality of Christ’s love.  The freedom to embrace that expansive love, and to act in response to it, is both a right that belongs to all people and something that we must act vigilantly to protect. Indeed, just this week, a religious coalition of many leaders of other denominations and faiths joined together to sign a statement supporting religious freedom.

Thus, on this First Friday, we would be well served to take to heart the words of our Holy Father: “We must promote religious liberty for all people. Every man and woman must be free to profess his or her faith… Why? Because that man and that woman are children of God.”

Did you know? On Tuesday of this week, over 100 prominent national religious leaders and scholars joined Archbishop William Lori, Chairman of the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, and Dr. Russell Moore, President of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Committee, in signing an open letter called Standing Together for Religious Freedom.  The letter calls on the Administration and Congress to respect conscience rights and religious freedom in light of the coercive HHS mandate.



Cardinal Dolan on the Supreme Court decisions: "Sad, worrisome, but hardly surprising"

Posted Jul. 2, 2013 by Marriage Unique for a Reason 3 comments

From Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s blog:

A Call to Counter Cultural Witness

Sad . . . worrisome . . . but hardly surprising.

That’s how I answered another concerned person who asked my sentiments about Wednesday’s Supreme Court decision allowing the redefinition of marriage.

Sad, because the ominous erosion of the pivotal institution of society and civilization — marriage – has been accelerated.  Yes, the decision could have been more troublesome, but it’s still somber.

The understanding of marriage as the lifelong, faithful, loving union of one man and one woman, as a husband and a wife become a mom and dad to their babies, and bring about a family, is a given in the human heart, a constant in history, flowing from what philosophers term the natural law, a definition embedded in reasoned reflection on the human person, antedating any government, written law, or religion.

Read the rest here.