Brandon Vogt

(Video) Interview with Fr. Lou Cameli – Catholic Teaching on Homosexuality

In Austen Ivereigh’s excellent book, How to Defend the Faith Without Raising Your Voice (Our Sunday Visitor, 2012), he coins the term “neuralgic issues”. According to Austen, these topics are like electric fences: as soon as you touch them in polite conversation sparks being to fly.

Today, perhaps no issue is more neuralgic than homosexuality. Even within the Church it’s surrounded by tension and sensitivity, and for good reason. Most of us have friends and family members with same-sex attractions, and most of us have been exposed to the unjust discrimination often leveled against them.

Adding to the tension is a serious confusion over what the Church actually teaches in this area. Popular opinion paints the Church as grossly condemnatory toward those identifying as gay or lesbian. But the Church’s teachings are full of grace and support. While she stands athwart to same-sex activity, and also the push to redefine marriage to include same-sex relationships, she emphatically refuses to condemn anyone because of same-sex attraction. And of course to all people, regardless of sexual orientation, she extends wide her welcoming arms.

Fr. Lou Cameli, a renowned theologian in the Archdiocese of Chicago, has made it his personal mission to clarify this message and get it out. He’s written a new book titled Catholic Teaching on Homosexuality: New Paths to Understanding (Ave Maria Press, paperback, 192 pages) which examines the Church’s magisterial teachings and offers pastoral and psychological responses to it.

Fr. Lou sat down with me during my recent visit to Chicago to discuss his new book and how Catholics can relate to friends and family members struggling with same-sex attraction.

Watch or download our interview below:

 

Video


Watch the video here (11 minutes)
 

Audio

[audio:http://brandonvogt.com/wp-content/uploads/IntereviewLouCameli.mp3]
Download the interview here (11 minutes)
 

Topics Discussed:

0:57 – Is same-sex sexuality a blessing or a curse?
3:45 – Three characteristics that frame all sexuality
5:56 – Responding to those who feel the Church is against people with same-sex attractions
6:50 – Three issues that push young Catholics away from the Church
9:02 – How should we respond to friends and family members with same-sex attractions?
 

Excerpt

Q: How should we respond to friends and family members with same-sex attractions?

Well, I take a look at Mark’s Gospel. Mark’s Gospel is a Gospel of discipleship. When you look at that Gospel, you can see Jesus and the disciples in relationship with each other. And one thing that is absolutely clear is they don’t get it—they miss the point, they backtrack.

But there’s something going on in that whole Gospel that is inspiring to me and ought to animate all of our efforts, no matter who they’re with, and that is this: Jesus stays with them, and they stay with Jesus. They don’t let each other go. It’s not always clear, and it’s not always a straight-lined story, but what happens is over time they know each other, they walk together, and those disciples are transformed.

So fundamentally, it’s not just with people who identify themselves as gay or lesbian, but it’s for all of us together as a community of discipleship:

We don’t let each other go, we don’t let each other go.

 

 


 
You can purchase Fr. Lou’s new book at Amazon.com or through Ave Maria Press.

Tomorrow afternoon, Tuesday, September 25 from 3:00pm-4:00pm ET, Ave Maria is hosting a live webinar with Fr. Cameli about the ideas in his book. Sign up here and bring your questions for Fr. Cameli.

And if you liked this discussion, you can find several more on my Interviews page. Be sure you don’t miss future interviews by subscribing to the blog via feed reader or email.

Have you found difficulty in explaining the Church’s position on homosexuality?

 


 
Also, in case you missed it before, this powerful new video by Fr. Pontifex and Spirit Juice Studios communicates the Church’s same message of grace, but through spoken-word poetry:

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  • RadicalMary

    Again…the assumption that gay people must not understand what is happening in our church. The local chaplain of courage goes to my parish. And YES, is it precisely on that basis that I conclude that this is nothing new, and in a very grave and dangerous way. I have read the encyclicals, casti connubi, The Theology of the Body, Sex and the Sacred City, The Courage to be Chaste…

    I have always been involved in the life of the church and I have seen this topic discussed at least 100 times. That is no exaggeration…and not ONCE has there ever been a discussion with a person who has not gone through the dangerous and I hope to be completely banned mandatory pseudo-scientific chastity program that is courage.

    I would like you to find me a program like your video that is Catholic that features someone who is not chaste sharing their life experience of partnered life..not saying the Church has to endorse the behaviour…but they won’t even listen to that person’s experience.

    Find me a pamphlet or a document or a church bulletin…anything that acknowledges the existence of a gay person who has a difference of opinion on the matter. The fact is that the church suppresses this discussion…which indeed IS a grave accusation..but it’s an even more grave reality. Courage is not discussion among gay people…most of those people have decided that they are in fact not gay…or ex-gay and that they consider themselves to be sick/disordered and in need of a cure. One only need to watch the Courage videos on YouTube to confirm this.

    It is indeed grave, because for every person who participates in that program and finds ‘success’ there are many more who are dead because they have committed suicide. That is not a joke.

    What I am asking you is to find a conversation among people who are actually content and happy to be gay people. This will never happen in the church without a fight.

    There is no compassion or love in this talk..only a wolf in sheep’s clothing! The Church teaching must change. IT KILLS.

  • RadicalMary

    This interview does not say anything new. It doesn’t present any information on how lgbtq people are not life giving…and most of all it does not have any gay people in it! I have yet to see any Catholic presentations on this issue that portray a reasoned and open conversation on the subject, and showing anyone being convinced. How do you expect to convince anyone you won’t have a discussion with…only have discussion ABOUT?

    We are real people with lives, experiences, perspectives and opinions of our own…if anything says ‘unjust discrimination’ it’s the consistent inability and unwillingness to hear or present them in any Catholic space.

    • Mary, thanks for the comment. A couples responses:

      1) This video, and the book it covers, concern Catholic teaching on homosexuality. It would only make sense to have well-respected theologian discuss that topic. Now if were examining the lived experience of Catholics with same-sex attraction, which I’d agree we need more of, it would be more appropriate to interview them than a theologian.

      2) I’m glad the interview “doesn’t say anything new” seeing how it concerns the Church’s teachings on homosexuality. Seeing how they concern objective morality, one would hope and expect these wouldn’t change with time.

      3) The charge you level in your last sentence is serious, yet unfounded. I highly suggest checking out “Courage”, an international Catholic apostolate doing exactly what you ask for: listening to and being present with those with homosexual predilections.

      All that said, I agree that one of the Church’s great modern faults is a hesitancy to engage those with same-sex attractions. But we’re working on it and have made significant progress over the past few years. This book is but one example and if you read it, you’ll find that all the things you long for are equally desired and called for by Fr. Cameli.

  • Kevin Stetter

    yes and no. i have had no trouble in my mastery of what the Church teaches on homosexuality and the like, as it is such a hot bottom topic. the difficulty i’ve encountered is the receptivity, or lack thereof, in those who disagree. the other side of it is that synthesis is not my forte when it comes to writing and speaking, meaning i get sidetracked easily (can you tell?). so during the discussion, while trying to reach common ground, i sometimes get lost in my thoughts. all this is to say that, unfortunately, i have yet to “win” an argument on this topic. at the same time, i’m consoled by two ideas: 1. “winning” an argument doesn’t matter in the long run, since the point of evangelization isn’t changing someone’s mind, but bringing them to Christ. 2. a professor at a certain mid-ohio pontifical seminary, who’s well versed Theology of the Body, hasn’t “won” any either…

  • LizEst

    I watched the interview with Fr. Lou. Very interesting. I was surprised he indicated young people think the Church is too involved in politics. I’d be surprised if the majority of other church-going Catholics thought the same thing.

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