If you want God's best for you, then where sexuality is concerned, there are just two options:- abstinence outside marriage and loving faithfulness in marriage between one man and one woman.
Settle for anything less, and you will not find God's best for your life.
When a priest or bishop affirms anything less, he too will miss God's best for his life - and will also be complicit in sin.
And when the Church affirms anything less, it too misses God's best - and it too is complicit in sin.
Indeed when the Church affirms anything less, in this area at least, it is no longer the salt of the earth or the light of the world.
Sadly there are many clerics today who do affirm that which falls short of God's best. For one person's experience of that see Kim's story on P. 4.
One very prominent cleric who strongly affirms that which falls short of God's best is Fr. James Martin. And both Pope Francis and the Vatican affirm him in affirming that which falls short of God's best.
When Archbishop Chaput recently gave a very gentle and respectful appraisal of Fr. Martin's teaching, Pope Francis's response was to invite Fr. Martin for a personal private audience.
I have read the full text of the Vatican approved talk which Fr. Martin regularly gives. Not as much as once does he challenge people to God's best.
Instead he calls for the Church to recognise that which is less than God's best. He recommends that people in LBGTQ relationships be included in ministries within the Church, including as Eucharistic Ministers.
When people are in relationships that are outside of sacramental marriage, to appoint them to Church ministries is to affirm them in that which is less than God's best, and to publicly affirm and condone relationships that are less than God's best.
Where a priest is in such a relationship, he becomes personally responsible for every person his lifestyle confirms in missing God's best for their lives. Jesus warned that this is millstone territory.
I pray for any such priest the grace to repent. If he is not going to repent (and he may need time to do so), it would be far better for him to find a different life. But true repentance and embracing the teaching of Jesus is the preferred outcome. Then the love and mercy of Jesus will reach out to him.
The Jesus way is not designed to be an easy way. Jesus said that the very first step to be His disciple is to renounce oneself.
³If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and for the gospel will save it. Mark 8:34-35
This teaching of Jesus speaks right into the situation we face today.
People have renounced renouncing themselves and embraced "saving" themselves.
The spirit of our age is not one of self-denial but of self-fulfilment and self-affirmation.
Jesus speaks of entering by the narrow gate and taking the hard path. The spirit of our age says that there is no gate, no boundaries.
This spirit has even got into our Church through people who have never embraced what Jesus says about self-denial and the narrow gate; who have thus never embraced what Jesus says is necessary for discipleship.
Renouncing oneself in the area of sexual desires is often extremely difficult. For many it is so difficult that it is only possible by the grace of God. It requires total surrender of one's sexuality to God, and then, out of love for Jesus, and drawing strength from Jesus, being willing to starve those sexual desires that are contrary to His will.
Blessed are those who do so. Their reward will be great not just in Heaven but on earth.
Even if they stumble and fall, even if this falling happens over a period of years, so long as their intent is to walk in God's ways, and they take reasonable steps to break the power of ungodly inclinations, then they can rejoice. They are still living in Jesus. (See Romans chapter 7 to 8:1
Sadly the most abandoned people in our Church today are those who, while experiencing same sex attraction, seek to live celibate lives.
Nor has any other group here in Ireland been subjected to more hate speech.
Worse still, when prominent people, including former politicians and journalists heaped venom upon them, no one had the COURAGE or independence of thought to stand up for them.
Meanwhile, where clerics fail to hold before people the true word of God, they will answer to God - unless there are strong personal excusing factors.
Today immense hurt is being caused both outside marriage and inside marriage, by people who are unwilling to listen to the voice of God. In some instances cycles of hurting are being started which could pass down in families for up to 500 years.
Jesus is saying, "Woe to those who cause hurt as they seek to satisfy their sexual and emotional desires.
"Woe to those parents who put satisfying their sexual and emotional desires before the good of their children.
"Woe to those priests who put satisfying their sexual and emotional desires before the good of My children.
"What does it profit a person to experience sexual and emotional fulfilment if through it their children, or God's children, are sexually and emotionally wounded."
If you find yourself even tempted to live in a way that could do so, make a complete surrender of your sexual and emotional desires to God. A complete. Total. Ongoing. Surrender! And also of your life!
Then ask Jesus to give you the grace to so love Him, that for the next 24 hours you will starve these desires and walk in His ways.
Repeat the process 24 hours at a time. Persevere in doing so and you will come into healing.
If you are deeply emotionally and sexually involved with someone, breaking that relationship can, at first, be intensely painful, but if you do so, your emotions will gradually heal, and if you keep crying out to Jesus for strength, He will give you strength, and then He will bless you.
When we are prepared to renounce ourselves and walk with God, including in the area of sexuality, we walk under God's anointing, and bring blessing into the lives of many.
When we embrace the spirit of the age and put self first, satisfying our own desires, it comes at a cost. In the first place we will miss out on God's anointing or else it will be greatly weakened, and as a result, we will not be the person God is calling us to be, and we will fail to bring many of the blessings that God desires us to bring.
But it is worse than that. Instead of bringing blessing, we are likely to cause hurt. Sometimes this hurt can be very great. It can start a cycle of hurting that spreads out starting with those we are most called to love or to serve, and then spreads down through the generation.
To such a person Jesus says, "What does it profit a person to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" Mark 8:36
Yours, in Christ
Thaddeus Doyle (Rev)
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