Dialogue Requires Listening, not Just Talking

*** I would ask you if you are not Catholic or even Christian to please answer this one question for me : What does you think the Catholic Church teaches about homosexuality? Not as a discussion, I will not allow any comments that do not answer this question go through. I want ya’ll to let me know so that I can hear you, and maybe others will take time from talking and listen too. ***


For the longest time I have been writing about my past and I have been stuck on one thing, when exactly did I get so angry and when did I realize what had happened to me as a child? I didn’t really ever vocalize or understand that what happened to me was sexual abuse until I was in my late twenties and had three children. I have been in therapy for over a year now and I’ve been doing the hard work of looking at myself, my thoughts and my wounds so that I can confront everything and heal and become the person God created me to be. It’s not easy to do by any means but as I stood in the doorway of my abusers house and looked him in the face, I felt free from the pain of what he did to me for the first time in my entire life. The Grace of the freedom has kept flowing in my life since.

Some people may think that my voice on the issue of gay marriage doesn’t matter because I am not brave or courageous, but I would say that looking that man in the face and telling him that I forgave him was the most courageous thing that anyone could have ever expected me to do in my entire life. I am also not afraid to speak about sins, but not just about those committed by other people, I am willing to speak about my OWN sins and face them while speaking about them publicly. I won’t talk about other people’s sins without speaking about my own. I will speak about my views on how the Church as a whole, and the individuals that make Her up, speak about and to gay people. With social media, all communication is personal at times. I will speak not only because I am not scared to do so but because I have right to do so as a Baptized Catholic. The “clear” voices who like to let gay people know what sinners they are are not the only voices that matter or get to be heard. That’s not how this Church works, and it’s why I love being here, because Jesus is Lord, not anyone else.

In the past few years I have been in several long threads about homosexuality, which never turns out well because I have an issue with the idea that homosexual acts are the greatest sins of the world. That is an idea that I heard before I became Catholic and one that I still hear in some circles. ** I happen to think pride is but we don’t see anyone protesting that sin at all, ever, but it is the sin that actually was at the heart of the fall of Adam and Eve, not homosexual acts. Call me crazy, but I think maybe we should focus on pride a bit more sometimes.

People have said that we have to be clear about the Church’s teaching on sexual sin. I agree that we have to teach the truth about sins, sexual and otherwise. I just don’t agree that the Church being clear on sexual sin is the only thing needed from Church leaders or the laity, which is what I hear a lot from some circles, even if Leila didn’t say those words in her post.**

I was a hoe most of my life. I heard about sexual sin my entire life. I was raised in a southern Baptist Church, it was drilled into me that sexual sin was a sin and that it would lead to hell and you know what it did? It made me feel like being abused and raped at 5 was my fault, that I asked for it, that I was “dirty”‘and that I was trash. Nobody cleared up the fact that abuse is not “sexual sin” for me and when I went to the Pastor’s wife and told her what had happened to me and that I liked boys like “that” because it felt good, they baptized me for the third time and told me to ask Jesus into my heart, which I did and which didn’t “work” because I began having sex the following year at 14. So when I fight people on this issue, it’s personal to me. Being “clear” on this issue of one sin and not others isn’t merciful sometimes because we do not know what some people are going through. If there is any one person who writes about speaking the truth in love or just loving truthfully it is Heather King and I highly suggest her new book Stumble along with her blog posts on what it is to be mercy walking.

It was after that thread that I realized when I became angry. Right after the third “baptism” didn’t “work”.  I have been angry ever since. That’s when I felt rejected by God and by Christians, and while people can blog about how some of us what to only use fuzzy language with people because we are “scared” to hurt people’s feelings, I lived a good part of my life feeling like God did not love me. It wasn’t about Christians wounding me, I was already wounded, it was about them choosing to keep things “clear” over helping me get to the Healer. They were stumbling blocks to my walk with Christ and maybe there have been some great saints who didn’t care about being stumbling blocks, but I can promise you that Jesus does care. I can promise you that my kids care because all of it greatly impacted their life. Not that I don’t have responsibility for my choices, because I do and I accept that, but man, if I had just known that God loved me anyway back then, things would be so different.  God does work all things for the good of those who love Him, and He is working good out of what happened to me for sure. I just wish I had known. Like that I was more than my sins. When I finally found people who did that, my life changed. I met Jesus. And guess what? I realized that I was a sinner on my own and with God’s Grace confessed all those things with a contrite heart. Things that I never intended on being sorry for.

How we, as a Church, sound to the world matters. How we communicate the love of Christ to the world, matters. The words we use and how we use them matter. There is a reason the Vatican II made a point to talk about the importance of knowing how to transmit the faith to the modern world. (I would highly suggest that people know what the Gospel actually is in the first place before considering preaching it, but that’s just my humble opinion). When we don’t do that, we get people who do not understand in the least what the Church stands for and that it’s Love Himself.

It’s not always about making it clear to gay people that they are sinners. People living in sin who have never known love or have been wounded, whether or not they are gay, and are looking for relief in any place they can, do not need to be told that they aren’t good enough, they know. I knew. I still wake up every day with the voice that says “see, they don’t want you here” in my head. I fight it every day by hanging on to what I know: Jesus came for the lost, not the righteous.

Sometimes we would do well to listen to those who have been lost about what brought them into the Church or listen to what people think of us so we know where we are going wrong, instead of always talking in circles around the same talking points. Dialogue requires listening, not just talking.

** Those are to clarify that this post is written from my point of view from many conversations on this topic and not specifically from what ANY ONE BLOGGER has said to me or otherwise.

I am not sure exactly what this song has to do with this post, but it’s one that I listened to over and over during my conversion and I found myself listening to it this morning, so I threw it in there. If you feel like you have no place in God’s plan, that is a lie, you. You are loved and you are valuable, no matter what your sins are, God love you more than you think He does.


27 thoughts on “Dialogue Requires Listening, not Just Talking

  1. But see, I never said this:

    “Yesterday I was in a very long thread about homosexuality, which never turns out well because I have an issue with the idea that homosexual acts are the greatest sins of the world.

    And, I never said this:

    “I just don’t agree that the Church being clear on sexual sin is the only thing needed from Church leaders or the laity.

    We have been in two different conversations. I never said those things. I love you lots, and I thank you for linking to my blog where people can read for themselves what I said.

    Also, I wish someone would address the spiritual needs of those who were like me (note the last part of my blog post), who need the blunt truth in a world that won’t say it. Where do their spiritual needs get met in all of this?

    Anyway, peace and God bless! 🙂


  2. I linked your post so that it was clear what you were saying. I am sorry if it seemed like I was saying YOU said those things. I didn’t, that is why I linked your post, so that your words were yours and clear. I think that a certain group in the Church does make it seem as if homosexual acts are the greatest sins ever: I disagree. I do think that some think that the Church needs to be clear on the fact that homosexual acts are sin and that is the MOST IMPORTANT THING: I disagree with those things. If you don’t agree with them either then you may want to know that from what I see you write and say on social media it does seem to me that you may fall in those groups, whether or not you say it specifically.

    I asked for this combox to stay clear for people who would like to answer my question, if any, so you and I can have this discussion somewhere else if you would like. 🙂


  3. Oh and as for those who need blunt truth, it is everywhere in the Church’s documents. Send them there. They are easily accessible, that why so many people know that the Catholic Church is against gay marriage, that message is heard loud and clear. I don’t know where there is anyone today that does not know that, even if it’s in a twisted way. Which is the point of me asking that question.


  4. I’ve looked everywhere in this post and cannot find a link to Leila’s article. Am I missing something? (Sorry, I know this is not an answer to the question you asked!)


  5. Great post. It’s like we are so anxious to get to the “go and sin no more” part that we forget that FIRST JESUS LOVED. I also agree that the greatest sin is pride. Thanks for the reminder.


  6. From what I understand, the Catholic church teaching affirms the value, dignity and worth of all gay and lesbian persons. And that they are equal in the eyes of God. And because the church teaches that sexual relationships are exclusive to married persons for the openness to create new life, gay and lesbian people are called to celibacy. Marriage is between a man and a woman.

    Am I misguided? I truly welcome any correction on this….

    For what it is worth, I haven’t met a single person who doesn’t know that. It’s not fuzzy or confusing. And Pope Francis is not fuzzy or confusing on this to my ears. Even gay and lesbian persons in sexual relationships that I personally or professionally know are aware of this.

    I’m with you in that it confuses and confounds ME that people of faith, not just Catholic, are worried that the church isn’t clear on this issue. I see it getting re-affirmed over, and over, and over some more, usually with some variation of “hate the sin, love the sinner” and “go and sin no more”….

    I agree with you totally, Leticia, that if somebody doesn’t know this or haven’t heard this in this living in a cave. The “blunt truth’ is out there. People either follow it or don’t, but it is not because of lack of information on the Catholic Church’s position on homosexuality.

    I am not Catholic, but I am a pastoral therapist who sees many LGBT people in my practice. And I am a United Methodist pastor who had a number of Gay and Lesbian people in church’s that I served. Again, those folks are all too aware of the stand the Catholic church (and other denominations including my own) takes on gay marriage and sexual relationships of any kind outside the sacrament of marriage.

    Great and thought provoking post.

    BTW/, usually when someone states their “blunt truth”, they are going to get someone elses “blunt truth” right back at them. Even if the intentions are loving and caring. People of all walks of life are hurting and trying to make it through life. We all struggle and want to be accepted. I think that is why there is so much hurt and misunderstanding on this subject. To use therapy speak, “its not a cognitive problem”…..Just a thought.


  7. About blunt truth: Yes, pride is a much worse sin than homosexual activity. Part of the problem is that it is a lot harder to identify in someone else. That nice looking lady there, kneeling during the Rosary before Mass, looking reverent and humble? You wouldn’t want to accuse her of any grave sin, would you? She’s a lector, too! Well, I can tell you from the inside that she, meaning me, can be a much worse sinner than the most intense pro-gay activist, but nobody in church would have pointed out that I could be insufferably proud while on my knees. Only my close friends and family would accuse me of that. If you are committing the physical act of homosexual activity then you are committing that act, but if you are proud you could be doing ANYTHING or nothing and still be proud before God.

    Also, the reason no one is standing around with signs pointing out the dangers of pride is because no one is trying to change laws to make pride legal.

    Your profound humility in your writing does more to convict me of my own pride than other people’s accusations, by the way. Now, don’t get proud of that!


  8. The reason I brought it up is because I am very prideful. I began asking God to help me rid myself of it so I really shouldn’t be surprised at all the suffering I feel I am going through. LOL He answers that prayer promptly.


  9. What does the Catholic church teach on homosexuality? A load of evil rubbish, I am afraid. Things which thoughtless people might imagine were “loving”, but a little thought shows were cruel and destructive.


  10. Have you read the Catechism? Or heard of St. Augustine? Read those things first and see what you think. Peace.


  11. I just read the Nature of God and about him in my philosophy class. I was amazed to learn that his theology was based on man’s search for happiness. 🙂


  12. I love his moment of realisation: “I should find it only in Thee!” But I think rather than search for happiness, we heal. Just as my body heals a wound without my conscious intention, so does my psyche.

    I am ambivalent about Augustine. Rome might have split with Constantinople anyway, but the filioque clause did not help. And I find the concept of “original sin” pernicious. What God makes is Very Good.


  13. God does make us good, but He also allows us free will to choose to not love Him, and we make that choice all the time. I believe in God, I believe He has revealed Himself to us so that we can know Him and Love Him, and if I thought He was a liar, I would be an atheist. It is all or nothing for me. 🙂


  14. I am sad that you do not see fit to publish my comment. You might think it controversial, but it is not offensive. I am very glad that, while you might imagine a billion catholics agree with you, increasing numbers of them do not: for they have met a trans person, and seen our humanity. Your popes cannot prevent God’s work indefinitely.


  15. Odd, it says “awaiting moderation” and does not appear on the “Comments I’ve made” page. I was going to reply to that arrogant man on your other post, saying he would not lie, Caitlyn is a man, and such guff: what does he want to achieve? What result does he imagine his “truth telling” as he sees it will achieve? But not if it would sit in moderation.


  16. I have family members who are transgender, gay, and things in between. Every Catholic is to respect the dignity of every person, we fail at that a lot of times, but no matter what some things aren’t about what people feel. That would be like saying vegetarians are starting to disagree that eating meat is bad, ok, so they disagree and eat meat and stop being Vegetarian.

    The thing that I would really like is for people to hear each other and even if they still disagree stop trying to make it some kind of sport where people win over other people. I believe God has revealed Himself to humanity, I believe His Word and I understand my faith. When I didn’t understand it, I had all kinds of idea and theories about Catholics, once I learned what exactly the Church teaches and why, that changed. I don’t force anyone else to believe what I believe and me showing them respect doesn’t hinge on them agreeing with me. The same way you feel there are things Catholic don’t understand about you, there are things you don’t get about us, I feel that it’s better to hear one another rather than attack one another, but that’s just me. It ends up getting me attacked from both sides.

    And no, there aren’t millions of Catholics who agree with me, just just check out the shit they post in my comment box.


  17. I did not think you have jumped the shark.

    If you have trans family members, then your attitude is far less comprehensible. Your level of toleration would be more suited to a well-meaning but ignorant person. God has revealed Godself to me, too. And I wish the straights would just shut up: it does not really matter to you. It really matters to me.

    You were helped to get to the Healer and stopped being a hoe. I was helped to get to the Healer and became my feminine self. Pray do not imagine that you have a better idea than God what God’s healing for me is.

    The comment still awaiting moderation says,

    Oh, Leticia!

    What, do you imagine, it is for me? I hope to be entering Christian service after a job interview next week. I am committed. However I know God does not want me tortured into a ridiculous mask. It is not God who is a liar, it is Benedict and those bishops in the post I linked to. At least have the respect to agree to disagree. I do not have to justify myself to you, but the Lady Bountiful attitude you have that you will deign to use my real name and the appropriate pronouns, while imagining you know better than God who I really am, is a little wearing.

    I see little point in replying to the other bloke. If God would open his ears to hear, then he would not say what he says.


  18. “I wish the straights would just shut up”, well we aren’t anymore than you are going to go back to being a man, so where does that leave us? Either yelling at one another and talking at one another or looking at one another and seeing that we are all just trying to find God in each single day. That’s where I am and I may be ignorant, I have never denied not being, but that’s what my day consists of: serving God to the best of my ability in each moment of my life.


  19. Another comment that did not get through. This is the important bit:

    I was moved when you talked of being what the World called a liberated woman, and you now call a “hoe”, and you find liberation in Christ and chastity. I am not attacking that. I only criticise when you judge what my way to God might be.


  20. That’s just it, I’m not criticizing that. Stating that I believe in objective truth isn’t criticism. I have plenty of things to deal within myself to help me get to God, I have no room to criticize anyone else.


  21. What does “objective truth” mean to you? Does it mean that Caitlyn Jenner is in some way “really” a man, or that if she turned to Christ and was justified, sanctified, glorified, she would revert to calling herself Bruce? If so, you are still trespassing.

    I believe in objective truth, but it is so complex one human mind cannot compass it. We see through a glass darkly. It may only be known through the Mind of God. It includes my femininity. Do not deny my femininity. You have no right to do so. You have no understanding which would justify it.


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