Pope Francis declares a Day of Fasting and Prayer for Peace in Syria on Saturday, 7 Sep 2013

Day of Fasting and Prayer for Peace in Syria on Saturday, September 7, 2013

Day of Fasting and Prayer for Peace in Syria on Saturday, September 7, 2013

This graphic was from Ignatius Press.  The graphic contains Pope Francis’s call for the Day of Fasting and Prayer for Peace in Syriaon Saturday, September 7, 2013.  This call was made during his Wednesday audience at St. Peter’s Square last September 1, 2013:

I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church… a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.

According to the Code of Canon Law:

Can.  1249 The divine law binds all the Christian faithful to do penance each in his or her own way. In order for all to be united among themselves by some common observance of penance, however, penitential days are prescribed on which the Christian faithful devote themselves in a special way to prayer, perform works of piety and charity, and deny themselves by fulfilling their own obligations more faithfully and especially by observing fast and abstinence, according to the norm of the following canons.
Can.  1250 The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.

Read more at Monk’s Hobbit.

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On the nature of homosexuality and Original Sin

Question

Hi Dr. Sugon,

I sent you further inquiries about your thoughts on the nature of homosexuality last May 18, and I was wondering if you have received it. I am very much looking forward to discuss and be enlightened about matters which I still am not aware of, and I think that this conversation wonderfully helps me in doing that. In case you haven’t received it, I’ll be copying my reply here. Again, thanks, and I hope to hear from you soon.

“Yes, I say that homosexuality is partly a biological phenomenon, however, I did not say that because it is a biological phenomenon that homosexuals do not have a choice on their lifestyle. Homosexuals have the choice to live conservatively, that is not denying their homosexuality, but living in a way which does not scream the essence of stereotypical homosexuality (i.e. cross-dressing, application of excessive make-up). They also have the choice to dress and express their ideas more through clothing and other sociocultural avenues. But, what they don’t have a choice at is their attraction orientation – just as a straight man does not have a choice to get attracted to women and vice versa, unless society affects them to act otherwise. The same thing goes with your example of a murderer. I do not claim that killing is good, but a murderer who was born with schizophrenia or other psychological disorder is not deemed morally responsible for the act of killing, because he technically did not have a choice; his body was programmed to act that way. Therefore, this murderer, instead of being sent to jail, is sent to a psychological facility in which he will serve his term. What I think then is that, generally, homosexuals must not be held responsible for their orientation, and thus be condemned for it, because they don’t have a choice on who to get attracted to. (One particular exception may be a man who was born with the probability of getting attracted to women, but chooses to engage homosexually.)

To clarify, are you suggesting that homosexuals can be “trained”? I disagree with this point, and I will provide sociocultural references that show that such a transformation to becoming a heterosexual is improbable. Although we can try putting homosexuals in psychological facilities, or perhaps have the Church assist in an action to rehabilitate them from their homosexuality, society is not designed to act upon such an action. The case is different from the psychologically impaired, because there is a probability that they hurt themselves or others when they do not get treated. It is improbable that a particular gender is more inclined to doing harm to people than other genders, so it is not necessary to “treat” them. Also, becoming stable and constant in early years, gender is part of one’s identity (Kail, 2010). Therefore, trying to manipulate one’s gender through conditioning entails tainting one’s identity. With that, society deems that a mandate or even to advocate change in gender is unethical. That is why centers for homosexual rehabilitation do not exist.*But, I do not deny that there are still people who try to convert homosexuals, however, because gender is established and constant, these most of these people fail. Stories of fathers drowning their children in a drum of water and physically abusing them seem to attest to this.

Yes, man has free will, but this free will is affected by many factors. Thus, human behavior is not governed by biological instincts alone, but rather affected by it, together with the environment. We do not just punch the person who accidentally stepped on our foot, because we think that he did not mean and know what he did, even if, by our fight-or-flight mechanism, our bodies tell us to punch him or flee the scene. Homosexuality acts in the same way. Since social mores and teachings do not give enough reason to convince homosexuals to constrain their biological instnict to get attracted to the same sex, homosexuals think that they are justified in following their biological instinct.

Moreover, the link you provided me is Vatican’s official statement on the nature of marriage and homosexual unions alone. I am still stumped on what the Church claims about the essence and nature of homosexuality: where did it come from, for example.“-

*I have looked into this matter, and I stand corrected in saying that there are homosexual rehabilitation centers. However, it is highly frowned upon by the society and by the Catholic Church herself, because, again, it’s unethical.

Response:

Dear ____

Yes, I received it a long time ago, but it got buried in my many emails for not responding soon enough.

The short answerto your question on the nature of homosexuality is this: I don’t know.

The long answer is: God created only male and female.  And God blessed them: “Be fruitful and multiply!”  If God only made male and female, how is it possible that some men are attracted to men and women to women?  The answer to this question is related to the more fundamental question: If everything that God created is good (read Genesis 1), why is there evil in the world? Answer: God made the angels good, but He gave them free will to reject or accept his love.  Some angels used their free will to reject God’s love, and they became demons, with all the powers of angels before their fall, but filled with malice and hatred against God.  Their choice is irrevocable.

Now, if God made humans only male and female, why are there lesbians and gays?  Answer: before their Fall, Adam and Eve have perfect control over their passions.  This is called Original Justice.  But Satan, the leader of the fallen angels, is envious of the privilege of Adam and Eve, for they and their descendants shall become children of God if Adam and Eve pass the test.  But misery seeks company.  So Satan tempted Eve to disobey God’s commandment not to eat from the forbidden tree, and she brought his husband Adam with him in her disobedience.  Because of their disobedience, Adam and Eve lost their perfect control over their passions.  This is Original Sin.  And this defect of Adam and Eve is passed on to their descendants, together with increase birthpangs, difficulty of tilling the ground, and ultimately, of bodily death.  Thus, homosexuality is a result of Original Sin.  It is very difficult to cure, but the struggle to overcome ones homosexual tendencies is itself a path to sanctity, a cross that a homosexual has to bear in order to reach heaven.  God can provide us with all the graces that we need to overcome temptation.  We only need but ask.  As Christ said: “For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened….how much more will the Father in heaven give the holy Spirit to those who ask him?” (Lk 11:9-13).

Let us always pray and fast.  Fasting helps us control our passions.  If a homosexual can learn how to control himself from eating meat on Fridays, he will build up spiritual reserves to combat his hunger for the human flesh during sexual intercourse with a fellow man (or with a fellow woman as in the case of lesbians).  Some passions are difficult to remove; they are like stubborn demons that refuse to get out of a man.  The apostles, too, encountered several cases of demonic possessions that the apostles have difficulty sending out.  The apostles complained to Christ, and Christ said to them: “”But this kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting.”  In the same way, homosexuality can also be cured, but it can only be done by prayer and fasting.  The only way to see if this method works is to try it.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Sugon