On the Pope’s call for an apology to gays

I read the transcript of the Pope’s interview on the plane yesterday and I have looked at the mainstream media coverage of his response to his call for the Catholics to apologize to the gay community.  The transcript of the plane interview is here.

The pope talked about accompaniment.  He often talks about accompaniment but no one asks him what is the end of accompaniment.

That would have been my follow up question!

Then I came across this blog via Twitter and her apology, which was probably not what Pope Francis expected!   

 

One Mad Mom writes:

I apologize for all of those bishops who didn’t bother to teach you the Faith, who didn’t give you a vision of what life would be if you embraced your crosses and rejected temptation, and who left you to your own devices to build your own “truth” which is contra to THE TRUTH and a twisting of reality.  These bishops strove for fame and likeability over your salvation.

Embedded in her rant is this amazing testimony by a former gay activist.  If the Catholics James Parker encountered in his spiritual journey are an example of what Pope Francis means by accompaniment, then I am all in.

The kind of non-judgmental welcoming that gently exposed him to solid, Biblical teaching, with patience, grace, love and friendship is similar to what I experienced when I came to Kanata Baptist and it was so healing.   There is a way to do this that trusts in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring about transformation, rather than rushing in with a rule book.

Broken people like I was or this man was—because if you listen to his testimony, we are all broken in some way—cannot pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps by trying under our own power to live out the demands of the law.   But God in His mercy and His love can heal our brokenness and give us the power to live as we ought.  It is up to us as Christians to make Him so attractive that those who come visit us then hunger for a personal relationship with the Lord that launches them on their healing journey.

People shoving the law in our faces at this stage only drive us away.  That does not mean the law is of no importance.  But let the Holy Spirit determine the timing, not ourselves as busybody rule givers.

It is for freedom that Christ set us free.  Freedom to have the power to be the person in Christ we ought to be, fulfilling the law without having to strain because the Holy Spirit gives us the power.

Sadly, accompaniment too often sounds like enabling and when there is no supernatural faith and deep healing in the lives of those who seek to accompany, that’s what happens. People get confirmed in their sinful natures and are deprived of the hope and joy and freedom Christ’s transforming love brings.

 

 

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4 Responses to On the Pope’s call for an apology to gays

  1. Rev22:17 says:

    Deborah,

    You quoted: I apologize for all of those bishops who didn’t bother to teach you the Faith, who didn’t give you a vision of what life would be if you embraced your crosses and rejected temptation, and who left you to your own devices to build your own “truth” which is contra to THE TRUTH and a twisting of reality. These bishops strove for fame and likeability over your salvation.

    This apology needs to include pastors, directors of Christian formation, and catechists — the people who actually bungled the spiritual formation of the young — as well as bishops. The bishops bear some responsibility for deficient oversight, but they cannot be in every classroom in every parish every day.

    Norm.

  2. I hope to see more of James Parker! His story was amazing and spot on! May God bless his work.

  3. Donna Kelsch says:

    I think the commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself” covers all actions/words we use in interacting with others under any circumstance. Wonderful piece by James Parker! REV 22…you say ” bishops bear some responsibility…but cannot be in every classroom in every parish every day.” My pastor once remarked ” the bishop owns your soul”. He meant that the bishop has ultimate responsibility for every soul in his diocese.Obviously he does that by being an excellent example of wisdom, charity, spirituality, and administrative delegation if he is fulfilling his vocation. Praise be to God, our new Bishop shines in all these areas.
    To clarify the reality of catechists…whether the parish is a small 300 member or a large 4000 member, most youth go to public schools. Given most parents demand that their children participate in every sport possible ( some meet on Sundays ) it is very difficult to get them to “Religious Ed.” which is once a week ( when school is in session ) for slightly more than an hour. That’s roughly 30 total hours a year. I defy anyone to tell me they can understand all that Christ intended, or the Church teaches, in that time frame. The teachers are volunteers who are given what instruction can be arranged ( minimal by necessity ) who are regular practicing Catholics, and instruction in the text being used. Therefore the primary teachers of the Faith are the parents, which the Church constantly indicates.The path to Christ and understanding Gods’ will is an ongoing journey throughout life. It never ends. But it’s the ( adult ) individual who is responsible for seeking the “truth” through various resources offered by the diocese, on the web ( such as the USCCB, EWTN, the Catholic Store, etc. ), and other resources to aid them on this incredible spiritual quest. It’s not easy being an authentic Catholic because much of your life is counter to the culture. It takes both grace and nerve to swim against the tide…but the ultimate reward is well worth it.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      Donna,

      You wrote: To clarify the reality of catechists…whether the parish is a small 300 member or a large 4000 member, most youth go to public schools. Given most parents demand that their children participate in every sport possible ( some meet on Sundays ) it is very difficult to get them to “Religious Ed.” which is once a week ( when school is in session ) for slightly more than an hour. That’s roughly 30 total hours a year. I defy anyone to tell me they can understand all that Christ intended, or the Church teaches, in that time frame. The teachers are volunteers who are given what instruction can be arranged ( minimal by necessity ) who are regular practicing Catholics, and instruction in the text being used.

      Yes, therein is precisely the problem.

      >> 1. Catechists need to have a fundamental relationship of faith with our risen Lord so that they can convey it and pass it on to those whom they instruct. Habitually assisting in mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation is not enough.

      >> 2. There need to be standards of learning, measured by some form of testing, with an end to “social promotion,” in our Christian formation programs. Students who fail to master the coursework of one grade are not ready to move on to the next. In fact, “social promotion” is precisely what results in lack of proper context for new material and consequent gross distortions of the faith. An alternative would be a self-paced program of formation in which children move to the next segment when they complete the segment before it.

      >> 3. Pastors should defer the sacraments of reconciliation, first communion, and conformation in the cases of students who are not properly prepared and disposed — especially (1) those who lack a fundamental relationship of faith with our risen Lord and (2) those whose understanding of the respective sacrament is seriously deficient.

      >> 4. It would not be inappropriate to expect parents of children who are in catechetical formation also to participate in a program of continuing formation for adults, as a way of setting a good example for their children. Pastors can make this convenient for the parents simply by conducting programs of continuing formation for adults in the same time slots as catechetical formation for children.

      I realize that some parishioners might not receive such standards very well, but so be it.

      Norm.

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