Thank you Pope Benedict XVI

I just want to thank Pope Benedict XVI for his service as the leader of the Catholic Church.

I am praying that the next Pope is able to lead the Catholic Church in such a way that people start to turn back to the Church and more importantly back to God. I also am praying that those in power in the Catholic Church follow Pope Benedict XVI lead in understanding when God tells you its your time to step aside and let new leaders emerge, allow it to happen.

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20 Responses to Thank you Pope Benedict XVI

  1. Mike says:

    Hey Joe,

    I want to thanks Pope Benedict XVI for his service to the Catholic Church. For the time that he has been pontiff, he has been courageous, not just on determining with clarity that he was no longer able to assume his duty as Pope, but he was able to write a few encyclicals, books and I think he has been a good Pope despite the negative news.

    I’m assuming it was his personality; it’s hard to truly convey what he is thinking or feeling, if the medias are all in control of the message and it’s interpretation, that is not really going to help, but now that he has resigned, I can understand it’s because he prefer praying, reading books, it seems that a life of prayer is better suited for him than the life of traveling abroad, conferences, dinners, meetings etc., and he was old.

    My hope for the next Pope, is that it’s not just the smartest man in the room but someone who can reach out to people, present himself and his faith in a way that will bring a renewal in the Catholic Church. The best way to do accomplish that is not just to lecture us, that doesn’t work anymore it seems, and people have disdain to be treated like that, I think what people wants, is a Pope who is able to reach to their minds and hearts. If he’s able to do that, people will really love him and will connect with him and perhaps there will be a renewal of some kind.

    • Joe says:

      Hey Mike,

      Hope you are doing well and thanks for leaving a comment. I pray too that the next Pope is able to rejuvenate the Church, bring some sanity back to this world and reach the minds and hearts of many. It is a lot to ask of one person, but with God on his side, I am sure it is possible.

  2. Julie Schreffler says:

    I’m doing some personal research, trying to formulate a philosophy that I can share in a way that includes insight from gay Catholics. I am a straight, married mother and I also teach at a public high school in SW Missouri (the buckle of the Bible belt).

    I have some questions and was hoping to find someone who was willing to share with me.

    If anyone who reads this and is a gay Catholic would be willing to help me out, I’d sure appreciate it.

    Thanks,
    Julie

    • Joe says:

      Julie,

      Thanks for leaving a comment. Please feel free to use the contact form on my website to contact me and I will do my best to answer your questions. You can also ask the questions in this post so other readers and view them and give their input as well.

  3. Mike says:

    Hi Julie,

    You’re welcome to answer me questions if you wants, I’ll try to answer to the best of my
    ability and knowledge of the issue on Catholics who are gays.

    I’ve attended 3 Catholic schools, I’ve talked with a lots of priests, I’ve also got spiritual counseling from the vicar general, a Jesuit, a Bishop, so I’m sure I could tell you a lots.
    Joe will forward you my email address, thanks Joe! :-)

    Mike

  4. Julie says:

    Mostly the following questions and thoughts are this jumbled mess of stream-of-consciousness. Bear with me, as one idea leads to another, equally complex and thought-provoking to me.

    Is the issue of equal rights more of a legal issue or an issue that requires a paradigm shift in all institutions? Is it fair to ask that of a religious organization that holds firm beliefs in opposition? But what if a practicing gay Catholic wants to be married and accepted by the Church? Should the Church make exceptions? Should the government insist on this?

    I truly believe that those premises that created and founded the Catholic Church are based in love, tolerance, compassion, and forgiveness. It is the institution that has corrupted those ideas.

    Do or can you separate the institutional Catholicism from the foundational ideals of the faith and still remain a faithful Catholic?

    I appreciate your input.
    God Bless. And Peace.
    Julie

    • Joe says:

      One cannot separate the foundation from the institution, it is the institution that interprets scripture for us and defines our humanity on those terms.
      As to whether a church can refuse to provide certain services to an individual is still unclear but dubious. But for a follower to refuse housing, services or employment based on one’s sexuality is no reflection of equal rights for any other group in the public arena. I don’t see it as anything Jesus would do.

  5. Mike says:

    My understanding as a practicing Catholic, is that love is paramount and can only happens where faith and truth meet in the Eucharist. What I am saying is that Jesus is Present in the Eucharist and He can only be met or should I say received when these conditions met.

    What I am saying is that the Catholic Church can’t adopt laws that are contrary to the Dogma of the Faith, and then think that people will be able to receive the Eucharist without consequences.

    I think the whole picture is to save and protect love. I believe that gays should be treated with love, compassion, respect and be given human dignity like anyone else. Segregation doesn’t work, it’s just another word for hate and in this regard those who practice it are a big bunch of hypocrites. If there’s something I hate it’s to be treated different, looked down, isolated, this I think is a really grave injustice.

    I’m against same-sex marriage. I think people are missing the point. Same-sex marriage isn’t about love, it’s just about sex and it is self-centered. The real love is Jesus.

    What I do believe that is possible, is for gay people to find a compatible special friendship and this can be source of joy, happiness and peace.

  6. Geoffrey says:

    Hi Joe,

    Just found your blog now on the net. I hope you will keep posting regularly in 2013. I have a good knowledge of Catholicism, at least I like to think so, and like to discuss how it is being gay and Catholic. I would like to join the discussion very much.

    Geoffrey

    • Joe says:

      Thanks Geoffrey for the encouragement. I do hope to find time to post again soon. I just have been super busy working (2 jobs and trying to make some home improvements) that I just haven’t had the time to write anything. Please feel free to leave comments on any of the post here and join in any conversations that are going on.

  7. Julie says:

    I guess I am also struggling with the legislation of marriage, as well. Our country separates to an extent the religious aspect and the civil aspect of marriage. Shouldn’t they be separate?

    Here’s my thinking:
    Homosexuals should not expect to have their marriages blessed by the church; that would be hypocritical and against dogma.
    However, if they would like to have a civil union (marriage) not recognized by the church–that should be their right.

    I am struggling as a Catholic–trying to hold these two ideas at the same time, recognizing that as a Catholic, I must view that as a sin, but for someone who is not Catholic, not Christian, I cannot and will not judge that behavior.

    Mike, I really like your response. And I agree that love and compassion and dignity are all essential for each and every human on this earth.

    Thank you for sharing.

    • Joe says:

      Julie, thank you for posting your question and response.

      This has been something that I have been struggling with as well. On one hand I know that the Church sees marriage as joining of 2 souls to become 1 with one of the main focus of that marriage is to have children. On the other hand, I see nothing wrong with being able to designate someone you love as being able to make medical decisions for you if you are unable, ability to avoid estate taxes when a person you lived with for 30 years passes away or have someone you can confide in. With the way the laws are set up the only way to achieve this is through marriage (unless you can afford a lawyer to prepare legal documents and this will only take care of some of these issues).

      The Church is not against love. It isn’t against two people of the same sex living a life together. What it is against is sex between two men or two women because that type of sex is not capable of producing children. So the way I see it is there are really 2 separate issues here that people are confusing as one. The Church is arguing that marriage between 2 men or 2 women is not right in God’s eyes because no children can come of that marriage. Don’t forget we refer to God as Our Father and Mary as Blessed Mother. The gay right movement is focused on the legal benefits of marriage. Being able to visit a partner in the hospital, avoiding tax penalties, provide health insurance to someone they love.

      I personally believe the gay right movement focusing on marriage and not civil unions is because they feel they would not be treated equally (it would be like a second class marriage). I do see the argument for this. We know how the south was segregated for so many years and how separate but equal was not truly equal.

      To me the real way to solve this to provide an easy way for someone to designate another that they would like to have the legal ability to make decisions (health, legal or otherwise), ability to designate one person (other then one’s children) that they would like to add to their health care plan, and the right to provide the house 2 people have shared for years to avoid being taxed outrageously when the other person passes. To me this would be more inline with what Jesus would be in favor of. Don’t forget that Jesus told John to take care of Mary after He rose from the dead. In our current legal and health system, John would not have been able to visit Mary if she was in the hospital or make legal decisions if she was not able to do so. I personally don’t think that is what Jesus would have wanted and we should look for a way to provide the benefits that have been attached to those that are married in the government eyes to those that do not fit into the one man/one women marriage role, but to those that are single and want to select their best friend of 20 years or two men or two women that chose to share a life together. As Catholics, we need to stop believing that the best way to stop sin is through the legal system and start looking for ways to support and truly show love to one another.

      • Joe says:

        ” this would be more inline with what Jesus would be in favor of.”
        And you know this because? This is a way in which a lot of people like to interpret things, and I think we all should. But in the Catholic Church it’s how the Magisterium interprets these things. I don’t see any indication of Jesus making such a stir over the composition of families, one prime objective was his desire to allow all to have access to the temple. The Magisterium, however, sees homosexuals as unworthy of having the same access to families as they do not have the “affectual ability” and any attempt would cause “violence toward children”.

    • Joe says:

      the catechism is very clear, ” They are against the natural law, are closed to the gift of life, and do not proceed from a genuine sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”

      although they may claim to have rights under the Constitution, such rights are to be opposed by practicing Catholics. Anything else is approval of sin and the Pope has called upon all Catholics to spread this truth about marriage.

  8. Mike says:

    Hi Julie,

    Like you, I have tried to find answers about all this issue. I do think that a civil union between two guys is fine, after all this federal legislation. It doesn’t interfere with the Catholic Church. Everyone wants to love and be loved back, it’s only fair that they can find a partner and share life with that special guy.

    My worry, and I have a lots of worries. It take 3 to make a marriage work, that is a man, a woman and God. My worry, is that because it’s a civil union, meaning not blessed by the Catholic Church, it also mean that they cannot receive the Eucharist like any average practicing Catholics because they live in a civil union, but on a broader sense, the human person is very complicated, and there’s indeed big part of the person where love is paramount and present, even though it is not officially recognized by the Catholic Church. The majority of gays people are good people, maybe they’re a bit naive about the complexity of the faith, and the Dogma of the Catholic Church, but in essence they’re good people. They feel that they don’t know how to express this love that they feel in their heart, they wonder where is their place in society, they’re afraid of being alone for the rest of their life, they long to be loved, to have happiness, to have friends, to have life’s experiences that are fulfilling and meaningful. After all, it’s good life’s experiences that shape our identity as men and women, it is very powerful because whenever you feel sad or depress, the simple fact of thinking about someone who love you, suddenly uplift your soul and you feel strong. It give meaning to life.

    What I’m saying is that we can’t judge gay people, I know sometimes I have probably been mean or wrote my answer too quick in trying to express something sincere, but they’re all childrens of God. Jesus love us all. The issue, is that I don’t want them to get hurt in a difficult civil union, in which it could become a loneliness lived between two people due to not receiving the Sacraments. That loneliness could be so intolerable that the civil union could implode from within, and these guys would feel upset as to explain why it didn’t work. But to each his own, and it also depend how this is lived. It’s a difficult issue. But it’s important to not be isolated, it’s important to have caring friends, who understand and love us the way we are, without lecturing us or trying to preach us. Really, we need some good friends. I feel that this is a lots of suffering, it feel like a heavy cross on the shoulders of those who are gays and feel disenfranchised from society, that they feel misunderstood and that their happiness isn’t recognized by others. It’s a grave injustice because everyone deserve to be happy, but we must be careful about being sensitive and providing a true loyalty to the Catholic Church while
    balancing the need for happiness among gays people.

    My experiences tell me that same-sex civil union doesn’t work, because you see, me, I feel the need to receive Jesus present in the Eucharist and pray. It’s the only way, I feel, that I can be happy and live my life. Most people would says that this is what they feel about the Sacraments, that it make them happy, better people.

    I do believe that gays should seek someone who is compatible and truly care for them as a friend, as a brother, and build a long lasting relationship, be it friendship, so they can
    feel that this provide consolation, compassion, love and affection that is desperately needed for a fully emotional stable person. Life is tough I find, and spiritual life is even more tough. We need good friends to sustain us in difficult times! We need friendship, we need love. And more importantly, we need contentment in life. This is very important.

    I hope that this message provide some sense of comfort for those who seek an answer in this difficult issue. And as always, HOPE, and know that there is a good friend for you in this life. If someone truly need a friend in this ordeal, it is certainly gay people, because they got it tough. I ask Jesus that He help gays people with the issue of loneliness and provide them friendship and love. Thank you.

    Mike

    • Joe says:

      maybe we also need to put some regulation on non-Catholic marriages seeing how they don’t have the true nature of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.

  9. Mike says:

    Hey Geoffrey,

    Welcome to contribute to what you have to say! Have a good day :-)

    Mike

  10. antonio says:

    Hi everyone! I am gay and a Catholic. I would like to say how can some say that the gay and lesbian community deserve respect and not to be segregated. Yet we cannot have sex and be married. Talking about being hypocritical. Now according to scripture jesus said take this all of you… There are no side notes stating only for straight and only if married by the church. These ridiculous rules are made by the popes. The body and blood of Christ are for all to consume and enjoy it’s spiritual benefits. Anyone one couple that has been married only through the courts does not mean that God is not there. Remember the reading split a piece of wood I am there turn over a stone and you’ll find me etc..it does not take a human being in a cloak with bells ringing to make Gods presence be known. God is in all of us and knows are step before we make it for he has created us and has written out our lives.. it is a shame that the lamb of God taught by man to be prohibited to those who are not married by the church gay or straight…let’s take a look at the other stories of the bible where it states a man may hit his wife with a Reed no thicker than his thumb..so domestic violence is alright ?? According to that it is.. why did the church change the vow where a woman is to honor and obey her husband..In the bible a woman is to honor and obey her husband yet the church changed it because it is degradation to woman..let’s take a look at genesis where it’s good for a daughter to lay with her father since their mother was killed. So incest is a good thing?? I think not. Gay and lesbians have the spiritual right to be loved and welcomed into church with no discrimination..yes their union should be blessed ..why not? If marriage is only to procreate then how about the thousands of straight couples that cannot have children due to medical issues .. Their marriage isn’t valid?? Should they divorce then?? I think not! Forgive me if I’m all over the place this definitely stirs emotions in me..God bless you all and may the holy spirit bring light to your mind and warm your hearts to the true love of God

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