In order to become a saint in the Catholic Church, we are called to “die to self” wherein we empty ourselves of all that is not of God’s will so that we can become what He made us to be. No one is exempt from putting God’s will above his/her own will. This “dying to self” theology is central to Catholic teaching on the Cross of Christ, that we must unite ourselves with Him in it. It is what causes Catholics to give up their “self”-ish wants and desires and go and serve the poor and the otherwise marginalized. They “die to self” and go do God’s will. But now, Cardinal Dolan is preaching the opposite of this message in saying that one does not have to “die to self” anymore. He does this through promotion of the “gay identity” which is specifically contradicted by every saint who has ever written on homosexuality, not to mention the catechism and the papal theologian.
Cardinal Dolan writes in regard to his decision to be Grand Marshal of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade which will include groups who identify as “gay”:
Catholic teaching is clear: “being Gay” is not a sin, nor contrary to God’s revealed morals.
So, while actions are immoral, identity is not!
That is false. First, let’s look at the catechism, which no Catholic may knowingly preach against, most especially our bishops.
CCC 2333: Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity. Physical, moral, and spiritual difference and complementarity are oriented toward the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life. The harmony of the couple and of society depends in part on the way in which the complementarity, needs, and mutual support between the sexes are lived out.
Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which all Catholics are bound also, in discipline, not to preach against:
The human person, made in the image and likeness of God, can hardly be adequately described by a reductionist reference to his or her sexual orientation. Every one living on the face of the earth has personal problems and difficulties, but challenges to growth, strengths, talents and gifts as well. Today, the Church provides a badly needed context for the care of the human person when she refuses to consider the person as a “heterosexual” or a “homosexual” and insists that every person has a fundamental Identity: the creature of God, and by grace, his child and heir to eternal life.
Rev. Wojciech Giertych is the papal theologian. As such, his job is to “review the texts given to the Pope for his speeches for theological accuracy.” This is what he says about “gay” identity in an interview with LifeSiteNews:
“…in the American language you have a distinction between the word ‘homosexual’ and ‘gay’. A homosexual is a person who has, to some extent, this homosexual condition. Somebody may have this difficulty, and his friends, his neighbors will not know about this. He’s dealing with this in cooperation with the grace of God and may come out of this difficulty and come back to normal human relationships. Sometimes adolescents, at the moment when their sexual sensibility is appearing, if they have been distorted by others they go through a phase of difficulty in this field. But as they mature they will grow out of it. Whereas a ‘gay’ is somebody who says, ‘I am like this, I will be like this, I want to be treated like this, and I want special privileges because I am like this.’ Now if somebody is not only homosexual, but a gay, declaring, ‘This is how I am, and I want this to be respected legally, socially and so on’ – such a person will never come out of the difficulty.”
Here are some quotes from the saints on dying to self:
Love consumes us only in the measure of our self-surrender. — St. Therese of Lisieux
Whatever you do, think not of yourself, but of God. — St. Vincent Ferrer
God gave Himself to you: give yourself to God. — Blessed Robert Southwell
We cultivate a very small field for Christ, but we love it, knowing that God does not require great achievements but a heart that holds back nothing for self. — St. Rose Philippine Duchesne
I bind myself today
The might of the Incarnation of Christ with that of His Baptism,
The might of His Crucifixion with that of His Burial,
The might of His Resurrection with that of His Ascension,
The might of His Coming on the Judgment Day. — St. Patrick of Ireland
Let us throw ourselves into the ocean of His goodness, where every failing will be canceled and anxiety turned into love. — St. Paul of the Cross
In uniting yourself to God’s will, you take on new life and gather great courage, willingly embracing the cross and kissing His hand even when it chastises you, a hand that reaches out to you in love and has no other intention but your greater spiritual well-being. — St. Paul of the Cross
He who desires anything but God deceives himself, and he who loves anything but God errs miserably. — St. Philip Neri
Give me ten truly detached men. and I will convert the world with them. — St. Philip Neri
Another weapon the devil employs is immodesty, or more frankly, impurity. My dear children, be on your guard. The devil will tempt you with bad books, bad thoughts, or the foul conversation of a companion. When any such fellow approaches you, say to yourself, This is a minister of Satan. And let these wretches who indulge in foul conversation say to himself, I am a minister of Satan because I help him ruin souls! — St. John Bosco
“Jesus Christ gave up his life that we might live, therefore, whoever wishes to carry the cross for his sake must take up the proper weapons for the contest, especially those mentioned here. First, diligence; second, distrust of self; third, confidence in God; fourth, remembrance of the Passion; fifth, mindfulness of one’s own death; sixth, remembrance of God’s glory; seventh, the injunctions of Sacred Scripture following the example of Jesus Christ in the desert” — St. Catharine of Bologna, On the Seven Spiritual Weapons
This is by no means an exhaustive collection of quotes from the saints on denial of self. To the contrary, it is what all saints have done. All of them. It is at the core of what it means to be Catholic. To tell people that they can embrace a self-centered identity on a matter of grave sin, which homosexual acts are, and that they are not doing something immoral in doing so is to deny everything the saints have taught us.
It should be said, too, that denial of homosexual identity is something that we can find agreement with many protestants on who otherwise do not accept the Catholic view of sainthood. Cardinal Dolan has contradicted all that we know about what it takes to become a saint, and he has done so on an issue that we could unite on with those protestants who disagree with us on sainthood.
Even beyond this, at the personal level, I have stated repeatedly (ad nauseum) on this blog that because I have Bipolar Disorder, identity in disorder is dangerous for me physically. Satan is much more intelligent than any human being, so you can imagine how he toys with a faithful Catholic who has Bipolar Disorder which brings with it sometimes delusional thinking. It is only in immersing myself in objective reality, particularly on my identity in Christ, as taught by the Catholic Church that I am able to outwit Satan when I have suicidal ideation from time to time. In short, Catholic teaching on our identity in God’s will, and in Christ, is what keeps me from killing myself.
Yesterday, I was taken aback by the remarks that I had just read from Cardinal Dolan. It triggered me. (See Daily Triggers for Bipolar Disorder.) It was important that I seek out reassurance from people I know to be faithful Catholics. The first place I could think of was Catholic Answers. I found the particular conversation dealing with Cardinal Dolan’s statement and left the following comment, whereupon I was blocked from the forum on the grounds of “Contempt for Clergy.”
I cannot begin to express how painful it is for me to see Cardinal Dolan contradict CCC 2333. It further pains me that this is characterized as charity. We do not blow our brains out for charity because that would be the opposite of charity. God has rights. I’ve tweeted my comments to Cardinal Dolan and will post them below. I don’t expect anyone here to care, but it’s important to me in my spiritual life and is consistent with what the Church teaches. For me, it is life or death….physically speaking.
I said to Cardinal Dolan:
I have bipolar disorder. If people like me in spiritual direction are allowed to find ID in disorder, they’ll commit suicide.
I don’t criticize for jollies. I criticize because people will commit suicide if they find their identity in disorder.
And because objective disorder is different from medical disorder, it is spiritual suicide to ID in it.
The papal theologian has said that once you ID in it, it is less likely that you can come to understand the truth. I agree.
I will continue to defend CCC 2333 because lives are at stake, both physically and spiritually.
And every time you deny CCC 2333, you are essentially saying that my specific cross in life is futile and a lie.
If I were to ever believe you my life would be in danger. Thats why I cling to root basis of CCC 2333. Objective identity.
My identity isn’t whatever I come up with in my head. My identity is what God says I am. Therefore, I do not take my life.
Is that “contempt for clergy” or the voice of someone in pain due to concern for souls? Since I wrote it, I know that it is the voice of someone in pain due to concern for souls.
This is not the first time people I trusted theologically in the Catholic Church have done this to me, and I know that it will not be the last. But, you see, my job as a Catholic is to “die to self.” I cannot let this be a hook in me that impedes me on my way up the ladder to heaven. I can, however, warn others out there who have the same cross that I bear that you should not be discouraged. You should not let your faith be shaken. You should not let Cardinal Dolan and others convince you that the Church has stopped preaching that your dignity is in God’s will. You should not equate your disorder with yourself, as Cardinal Dolan does. You must continue to believe that all human beings suffer with either objective disorder (like same-sex attraction) or medical disorders (like Bipolar Disorder) and that all of our disorders are wiped away when we die, as there is no disorder in heaven. You will be perfect in heaven. Further, as the saints tell us, it is far better to suffer on this earth than to suffer in purgatory, which is where we are perfected before we enter into heaven. So, take heart. Do not let anyone make you believe that your identity is in delusion, or suicidal ideation, or anything else that is as the result of the Fall. Your identity is in what God desires for you, in what He has created you to be, to live with Him as such in heaven. It is not in anything else.
Bishops may say you don’t need to be fixed. (This is not “contempt for clergy.” It is pain for suffering souls.) Bishops may say that you are not broken. But God does not ignore your pain and pretend it doesn’t exist, and He does not equate your disorder with your identity. He knows your pain, and He WILL fix you, provided that you unite that pain with our Lord’s in His Cross.
Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.