The Easy and Ugly Labeling of Abuse Victims at the Vatican’s Synod on Young People

2018-10-11T08:40:16+00:00October 11th, 2018|Blog, Jesus Loves Gay Men, The Church|

In the midst of a worldwide sex abuse scandal, at the 2018 “Vatican Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment” there is an effort by some within the Catholic Church to include for the first time the LGBT acronym within an official Church document. Those who advocate for full inclusion of LGBT Catholics into the Church, such as Jesuit priest James Martin, believe that in order to express true compassion and sensitivity towards a group, who they argue have been largely marginalized and discriminated against, members of the hierarchy must start addressing the LGBT community “by the name they choose.”

Unfortunately, there are also forces within the Catholic Church that wish to convince those with same-sex attraction that they were born with such desires. Yet, at best, this is an overly simplistic way to explain a complex situation. Its also an exercise in avoidance. Because numerous other factors could at least partially determine why someone would develop a homosexual inclination. For example, according to one study: 46% of homosexual men in contrast to 7% of heterosexual men reported an incident of homosexual molestation. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that a “significant” number of boys who were sexually abused by clergy later identify as “gay.” In addition, gay men who experienced childhood sexual abuse were much more likely to engage in high risk sexual behavior that subsequently put them at a greater risk for HIV. Arguably there are those who survived sexual abuse, but subsequently died from AIDS.

Before I left home for San Francisco, I inexplicably went to a local Catholic church and spoke with a priest. At the time, I didn’t know why I was there. In hindsight, my life had been so devoid of any male influence – beyond the incessant teasing I endured at school – that I desperately wanted to hear some advice from a man. “You were born gay.” He didn’t change the perception I had of myself. My mind was already made up. I knew I was gay. Other boys had been telling me that since before I even knew what the word meant. However, the priest I spoke with didn’t know about any of that. He never asked. He didn’t know about my relationship with my father. He never asked. He also didn’t know that an adult male molested me the previous year. He never asked.

When certain clerics, bishops, and cardinals want to label an entire group of diverse individuals as gay, LGBT, or LGBTQIA…What do they actually know about these people? Not much. But as James Martin claims, that doesn’t really matter because those who identify as gay were simply born that way. When asked about this theory, Martin said:

Yes. Science and psychology shows that, and most people are finally coming to see that this — for mysterious reasons — is the way they are made. That’s something that’s held by almost every reputable psychologist and biologist. And the “LGBT” people I speak to have always felt that way. Part of it is accepting oneself and accepting this is the way God made you.

However, even the highly gay-affirmative American Psychological Association can not make this claim. According to the APA:

There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors.

Unfortunately, Catholic LGBT ministries have already propagated the born gay theory in almost every diocese in the US; including: San FranciscoSeattleNew York CityChicagoLos AngelesMinneapolisBaltimoreSan DiegoBostonSan Jose, and Portland.

In the official “guidelines” from the Diocese of San Jose, with regards to “pastoral” considerations when counseling someone with same-sex attraction, priests are instructed to inform the person that they were essentially born gay. According to the document, “Diocese of San Jose Guidelines for The Catholic LGBT Ministry Council,” Catholics priests within the Diocese should “not presume any particular social or psychological analysis of sexuality in our society, except for a generally accepted premise that individuals do not choose and cannot change their sexual orientation but must understand it and integrate it into their life of faith and conscience.”

Such directives, if strictly adhered to by a priest, effectively neutralizes any possible discussion. Of course, unless they pursued specialized study or training, priests are not psychologists or therapists, but oftentimes the buried traumas of youth are only revealed through the vulnerability experienced by some (especially men) during the Sacrament of Penance. Priests have repeatedly told me, that the subject of homosexuality in males, only surfaces in Confession. Yet, the confessional is not the place for spiritual direction. One of the most frequently asked questions I receive from men who are trying to live a chase life is: How can I find a good spiritual director. All I can say – “I wish you well.” And it is this lack of access to already overburdened parish priests, that I repeatedly hear as the main frustration from men who experience same-sex attraction.

As a way to circumvent the Communist eavesdropping at the universities, during the Soviet occupation of Poland, a young Karol Wojtyla accompanied his college students, whom they referred to stealthily as “uncle,” on various camping trips into the Polish mountainside. It was during these excursions, which included Mass and lengthy religious discussions, that the future Pope fielded more intimate questions from his students about relationships and sexuality which eventually formed the foundations for his later addresses on “the theology of the body.”

When I returned to the Catholic Church in 1999, I was blessed to encounter a completely selfless and theologically orthodox priest who occasionally allowed me to accompany him on his daily duties: Mass at the parish, praying the Rosary with the sick in a local hospital, visits to the homebound and the elderly, the day interspersed with prayers and readings from the Liturgy of the Hours, and finishing in the afternoon with Holy Hour. At the time, I took for granted the friendship which developed between us. I never had a completely healthy non-sexual relationship with another man. At first, although I liked him, I didn’t trust him. But, one day, during a conversation about my own childhood, he revealed his own difficult memories of a family torn apart by divorce. Then, I partially let me guard down.

When this priest found out about my past, it would have been easy for him to consider me as simply a gay man. But, he took the extraordinary step of getting to know me – just a little. And, that was enough. Yes, everyone who identifies as LGBT deserves compassion and sensitivity, but they also deserve honesty. I wasn’t traumatized by the truth, but I was deeply wounded by the lies – namely, that God made me gay. In reality, such a gross and reckless distortion (if I continued to believe it) could have eventually cost me my life.

Out of misplaced empathy, the Synod may choose to label a large group of human beings as LGBT; although they do not fully understand the backgrounds of these beautiful souls. But one thing I am sure of – a number of them are sexual abuse survivors. Placing the LGBT acronym upon them – is the easiest thing to do. It takes no effort. Therefore, the Church has failed some of them twice.

All of us have been hurt; the kind priest who took the time to get to know me – he too had been hurt when he was a boy. But he had no homosexual tendencies – therefore, no one labeled him. And no one should label me…or anyone else.


  1. Vichi October 11, 2018 at 9:38 am

    I think every single sin can be claimed to be an essential, inborn, unescapable characteristic and that’s the easiest way to rationalize avoiding repentence and healing. I have a child with autism and sometimes I think there is a similar argument going there: we can’t pinpoint a clear cause for autism, so your child was born with it, you should accept him as he is, if you try to help him “get rid” of his autism it means you don’t love him. No distinction between sinn and sinner, no distinction between sufferer and suffering.
    Thank you for this blog. You have no idea how many people you help. God bless you, Joseph.

  2. Ana Milan October 11, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    The slogan LGBT… is a NWO political weapon used by Modernists to force the religious into accepting Mortal Sin & has been extremely successful in our priesthood as many of these men are of that orientation. Nowhere does scripture say God made homosexual or transexual people. The new gospel of PF Church says He did but doesn’t iterate as to why because they cannot , as He didn’t. It is to be hoped & prayed for that baptised Christian men & women will come to their senses & demand that this notion is immediately dropped so that they can access the pertinent psychological treatment necessary for them to leave this spiritual wilderness behind them once & for all. We are all God’s children & our inheritance lies with Him. Don’t let anyone be fooled by this Masonic/Modernist/Peronist regime being promulgated in the Vatican & most Episcopates as it will only lead to Hell on earth & later for eternity.

  3. Evangeline October 20, 2018 at 1:01 am

    Thank you Joseph, for all you do, God bless you. You will help other people. It can’t be easy. So many men have been molested by men when they were boys, and they commit a devastating effect on the boys or young men they abuse. What it will hopefully do is serve as a warning for parents that they need to be vigilant about who their boys are with. People assume sweet old Uncle somebody or that neighbor who is so terrific and takes such an interest in my boy is not the homosexual who will happily show pornography to the boy to groom him and then introduce him to sodomy. We now see how traumatic this is for boys and how it often sends them into a spiral of confusion where they then act out on other boys or become fully engulfed in homosexuality. It is satanic in it’s effects. Parents, watch your boys! Know who your boys are with, arm them with information about what they should do if some man shows them porn or says things that make them uncomfortable. They should follow their instincts. If a parent sees behavior that is uncharacteristic for their boy, find out why. Never assume it could not be happening. Ask them! It’s happening to many boys. And we should all know by now, never assume it would not be your priest or bishop or teacher. Any unrelated male now is a risk.

  4. Faith October 20, 2018 at 7:25 pm

    I must respond to Evangeline. You are right; boys are very much at risk but it is not just from unrelated males. Many boys are abused by relatives too. Parents must be awake to this scourge.

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