To my brothers and sisters with same-sex attraction:
Let us all love one another as Jesus has loved us!
As the pastor of San Pedro Catholic Church I want to take this opportunity to reach out to all our brothers and sisters who have same-sex attraction. Whether the same-sex inclination is in the nascent stages or you have fully chosen to identify and live a homosexual lifestyle, I want to make clear that I love you and most importantly God loves you. I understand the sufferings, confusion and loneliness that many of you experience in silence and I want you to know that the Catholic Church and God’s mercy is a refuge for you. Strengthened by God’s word and the sacraments, thousands of men and women with same-sex attraction have experienced the freedom and love of the Gospel in the Catholic Church. The established, Courage Apostolate, a nonjudgmental catholic organization for persons with same-sex attraction who desire to be a disciple of Jesus, is known internationally for its support of Christians of all denominations. The Encourage Apostolate, has successfully been of assistance to families of persons with same-sex attraction. Online support and resources for you can be found at www.couragerc.org and the doors of San Pedro Catholic Church are open for you to experience the infinite love and mercy of God.
Unfortunately, as we all know too well, good information does not always make the headlines and the members and leaders of churches often fall short from the fullness of the Gospel. Experience shows that human weakness, sin and selfishness can arise from anyone’s heart. In fact, one of Jesus’ twelve betrayed him in the beginning of the life of the church. However, when sin abounds, graces abounds all the more! The power of God’s grace and mercy in the face of human weakness only strengthens the unbroken 2000 year teaching that the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit despite the weakness in the lives of Christians. In truth, in our weakness we are strong. The spirit of truth continues to blow in Jesus’ Church and it is the truth that will set you free. The church, the pillar and foundation of truth, is there for you to accompany you to experience the joy of the freedom of a child of God! Do not be afraid! You do not have to settle for labels that other countries put on you. You do not need to settle for less. You are created for more! Your dignity does not come from your desires but it is rooted in your being created in God’s image and likeness. Know your dignity as a child of God! You are called to be numbered among the saints of God!
You do not have to live your life hidden in shame. As a child of God, do not be fooled to believe a foreign ideology that exploits cultural tensions as many human traffickers have done before on this island; nor should you accept that participating in drag queen events are necessary for you to know your dignity. (The unfortunate poorly attended event at a community complex puts to question our moral compass as a community. If freedom becomes understood as absolute expression without limit, what credibility will adults have in disciplining their children for sexting?) There is another way than living a promiscuous lifestyle to come to acceptance and freedom.
The wisdom found in the families of San Pedro is a source of hope and peace for you as brothers and sisters in Christ. Empty promises of fulfilment in money making schemes are not looking out for your benefit or respecting you as persons. Opportunists have always used the beauty of San Pedro island for their own benefit. The Catholic Church’s prophetic voice will always shed light on the lies that promise to fulfil but leave you empty and give the truth that is necessary for a real love and joy that remains. Like a wise grandmother, mother church will support you in your weakness and correct you in your faults, however, she will never stop praying for you and loving you. The question is, are you willing to receive her love?
The church teaches that as a person you have an inestimable dignity as a child of God. The inclinations you have do not define your identity since you are more than your inclinations and feelings. You have been given a cross that you have not chosen but God can use it to bring you to holiness if you are willing to follow Jesus. To follow Jesus as a disciple you must, deny yourself and take up your cross. The Catholic Church supports you and prays for you in your noble pursuit of holiness and love, it will even silently suffer detraction and slander from her children with patience for you but it will never condone or celebrate sin. To do so, would not be love. To say that carnal homosexual acts is not a sin is always a lie that leads to selfishness even if it is done in private.
For a family to remain together it must have the kind of love that is able to sacrifice for the other. Selfishness always leads to division and Jesus works to bring unity. In our days, unity is not easy for anyone but it is worth the sacrifice. By persevering in a life of virtue and self control you can share in that sacrificial love of Jesus. You can have the grace to love as Jesus loves. You can be fulfilled and be accepted joyfully among the saints of God! Mother Church hopes to accompany you on this pilgrimage of faith and love.
+A friend in Christ who understands,
Father Scott Giuliani, SOLT
Pastor of Divine Mercy and San Pedro Catholic Churches and missions.