DAILY CATHOLIC for Nov 14-16
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no. 31

Getting to the
Heart of the Matter

by Sister Mary Lucy Astuto

INTRODUCTION: "Getting to the Heart of the Matter" is what Sister Mary Lucy Astuto pinpoints in every issue when she takes a common sense approach to living our faith with her practical columns. This issue she gets to the heart of the real issue of the Church's stance on homosexuality and clarifies what the Church teaches, always has taught and will continue to ever teach: to "Love the sinner, not the sin." Her column, along with columns by Father John Hampsch, C.M.F. and Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv., provide effective, vital insights into our faith and ways of fulfilling God's Will every day in every way. You can visit Sr. Lucy at her web site for Heart of Mary Ministry at http://www.heartofmaryministry.com or you can reach her at Srmarylucy@aol.com by e-mail.
Love the sinner, not the sin
     If you believe everything you read or hear in the news media today without patient pursuance of what really is the truth, you may be making a very serious mistake. The instantaneous spread of news around the world can be used for good, but it can also contribute to deception, misinformation and at the least, partial truth to the point that people, if they believe everything portrayed, can become confused and gravely misdirected. Other tool of satan, the father of lies and confusion? Absolutely!

     One such inaccurate and inadequate presentation of news recently was the subject of homosexuality and the statement recently made by the United States Bishops. Actually, the Vatican precipitated the US Bishops statements with a series of 14 articles printed in the L’Osservatore Romano which reviewed homosexuality from historical, philosophical, theological and pastoral points of view.

     Neither the articles in the Italian newspaper (not written by the Pope, by the way) nor the statement made recently by the US Bishops, sanctions, approves, condones or "blesses" the ACTS of homosexuality. Quite on the contrary, all statements in this regard uphold the TEACHING of the Church that engaging in homosexual acts ARE sinful.

     One would NOT get that idea from the news media which gave listener or reader the impression that the Church was getting soft on this subject. What I saw and read could certainly give the ill-instructed Catholic or Christian the idea that the Catholic Church was weakening in its stand against homosexuality. Actually, if properly read and understood, the Church has NOT changed its teaching position on this evil any more than it has changed its teaching regarding adultery.

     What the L’Osservatore Romano articles and statement of the US Bishops were trying to do was give Christian DIRECTION, GUIDANCE, and EXPLANATION of how Catholics should view and "handle" their lives in this matter. They were endeavoring to give the Christ-like approach in Christian behavior. Remember the Gospel account of the woman caught committing adultery? She was brought to Jesus Who forgave her readily, but did not condone the sin for He said to her: "Your sins are forgiven. Go, and sin no more!"

     The INCLINATION or one can even say the TEMPTATION to homosexual acts are NOT in and of themselves sinful. Sin occurs when a person wants those temptations, entertains them and GIVES IN to them by engaging in homosexual acts or willingly desiring them. The INCLINATION to homosexuality is no more sinful, of itself, than it is for a thief to be TEMPTED to take something that does not belong to him.

     If the INCLINATION or TEMPTATION in itself is not a sin, then charity dictates that parents of children who are so INCLINED or TEMPTED or anyone who has such a bent should know that tolerance and acceptance of the PERSON is in order, just as Jesus would. The condoning of the sin, however, the actual acts or desire for those acts, can never win an approval.

     The Church has NOT changed its teaching in this regard, therefore, regarding the news media, I am reminded that "A little knowledge [on their part] is a dangerous thing." Beware, be careful! They do mislead!

     God bless you!

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November 14-16, 1997     volume 8, no. 31
Sister Lucy Column

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