Card. Sarah and a new book about true compassion for the same-sex attracted

The other day I posted about some new books which publishers had sent to me.  While I have been able to open a few, one of them I hadn’t explored at all.  I now read a bit more about it at LifeSite.

One thing in particular: The foreword is by the great Robert Card. Sarah.  Anything that he offers I’m eager to read.


As I mentioned, I haven’t even opened the book yet.  However, the LifeSite piece gives some details about Card. Sarah’s forward.

He first delivers a strong rebuke calling attention to the fact that the Church teaches “ … things in the Catechism about homosexuality that some members of the clergy choose not to quote, including the clear warning: ‘under no circumstances can [homosexual acts] be approved’ (CCC 2357). The respect and sensitivity to which the Catechism rightly calls us does not give us permission to deprive men and women who experience SSA (same-sex attraction) of the fullness of the Gospel. To omit the ‘hard sayings’ of Christ and his Church is not charity.”

His warning about withholding the Gospel from those who deal with SSA comes at a critical moment in the life of the Church with the publication of Fr. James Martin’s new pro-LGBT book, Building a Bridge.


Those prelates and clerics who justify homosexuality challenge the Church’s genuine understanding of the human person and of human sexuality, sweeping aside authentic Church teaching and endangering, rather than helping, those who are same-sex attracted. In a phrase abounding with as much love as it is truth, Cardinal Sarah warns, “We cannot be more compassionate or merciful than Jesus.”


Cardinal Sarah’s foreward closes with a strong plea to his fellow clergy: “I especially encourage my brother bishops and priests to read this book, which I trust will deepen their conviction that the wisdom of the Church in this difficult and sensitive area expresses genuine love and compassion.” He is asking them not deprive the same-sex attracted from the hard parts of the Gospel but to lavish the same-sex attracted with its life-giving truth that we might live in freedom as sons and daughter of God.

He then recounts four important truths:

  1. Only Christ can heal the wounds of sin and division.
  2. Only the Church has the answers to man’s deepest questions and his deepest needs for love and friendship.
  3. Only the fullness of the Gospel fulfills the human heart.
  4. Only the commandments mark the path to friendship with Christ, and with one another, for God’s “commandments are not burdensome” (I Jn 5:3).

While Cardinal Sarah is often described by detractors as being an enemy of LGBT rights, the contrary is true: Those who experience same-sex attraction have no greater advocate, no greater pastor, no greater friend than a man who is uncompromising with the truth.

Daniel Mattson, author of Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay, told LifeSiteNews, “I feel that Cardinal Sarah is standing with, and supporting all of us who’ve turned away from the world’s vision of sexuality and found freedom and truth in the Church. With the gift of Cardinal Sarah’s support, I feel that I have a firm foundation of support to share the good news the Church provides for a man like me. As Cardinal Sarah says, it is only the Church has the answers to the deepest questions of the human heart. The Church has shown me the Way, the Truth, and the Life in following the love of Jesus who says both that I am in no way condemned, but that in order to live the truly abundant life, I must do what all men must do when they encounter the love and mercy of Jesus: by the grace of God, go, and sin no more.”

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Peter Stuart says:

    Cardinal Sarah’s courage helps prop up this SSA Catholic’s shaky courage. God bless him.

  2. nycdreamr says:

    The issue ultimately comes down to who has the right to decide whether or not something is an illness or affliction — the church, or medical professionals? Nothing in the book takes on the challenge of explaining how the church is better equipped than the medical professions in making medical decisions.

  3. hwriggles4 says:

    I was at a conference a few years ago where Daniel Mattson was one of the speakers. When I found out about his topic, I almost skipped his session. Boy, I was glad I attended and listened. He explained about growing up he craved “male attention”, as many men with SSA have a father wound. He is also a Catholic revert. No, he did not discuss psychological “repetitive therapy ” which is a buzzword in today’s media. I had heard Daniel Mattson discuss SSA on Catholic Answers Live in 2013 – the archive can be found through the Catholic Answers website. It takes a brave soul to share this information.

    I wish more priests would learn, promote, and support Courage. Courage has a moderator in my area – He is a religious order priest who serves two dioceses (and has other duties as well) and only one parish that I know of in my area did a fundraiser for Courage. With the “confusion” in recent years, Courage is definitely needed.


  5. AndyMo says:

    “Nothing in the book takes on the challenge of explaining how the church is better equipped than the medical professions in making medical decisions.”

    You skipped the step where we established that this discussion is medical. The Church doesn’t deal with the medical; she deals with the moral. The psychiatric community (only medical in the loosest sense) can try to redefine reality, but that doesn’t make it so.

  6. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear nycdreamr,

    All persons outside of marriage, regardless of whom they are attracted to, are called to chastity. Some people will have greater challenges than others, but chastity is the commandment.

    One must make a distinction between attraction and action, however.

    Even if one has a brain tumor or a lesion or bipolar disorder that leads to hypersexuality (they are known in the medical literature), that person, still, must acknowledge the truth of the moral law. Their condition is one of diminished capacity, so their degree of sinfulness is diminished to the extent that the will is compromised.

    The treatment of the hypersexuality is a matter for medicine, but at each step of the way, going into and coming out of the condition of decreased resistance to temptation, they are, nevertheless, called to do what they can, aided by grace to be chaste.

    Who one is attracted to is disordered in some cases, but that is not, in itself, a moral matter. It is the consented thoughts, words, and deeds that go against Christ’s teaching which defile a person, not their temptations. Illnesses and afflictions are, in themselves, amoral. It is what one does in the face of the illness or affliction that define ones character.

    There is no sense in which true medicine and true religion can be set contrary to each other. Each has a contribution to make, but as Fr. Mulchay from Mash pointed out in the episode, “War of Nerves”:

    Sidney [the psychiatrist]: When Pierce and Hunnicutt [the surgeons] lose one, he’s out of his misery. When I lose one, I’ve lost a mind.

    Mulcahy: When I lose one, I’ve lost a soul. I guess it all depends on your point of view.

    The Chicken

  7. nycdreamr says:

    That homosexuality is not an illness or disorder or an affliction is a the consensus of the medical community. Traditional teachings about sex and sexuality are thus based on an inaccurate foundation, meaning they themselves must be reexamined. Once you accept that sexual orientation is neither chosen, changeable or contagious, any practical objection to sexual behavior between members of the same gender disintegrates. Sin causes some kind of objective harm. Without objective harm, the rationale for making something sinful collapses.

  8. benedetta says:

    nycdreamr, Why then is abortion such a hard line tenet and dogma of gay rights agenda everywhere and particularly in NYC and NYS? According to medical science, the persons that this lobby argues ought to be snuffed out for any and no reason and for big business profit and coin are sentient, feel pain, defend themselves, play, communicate, smile and experience emotions in utero. Despite overwhelming medical and scientific evidence, according to this agenda, women and all must be told that these, the least of our brothers and sisters, are merely “blobs of tissue”. Not only that but the agenda has taken on extremist, mob like proportions and propaganda, engaging in irrational and antihumanist tactics, linked openly to gay lobbies and financial foundations, to expand the number of lives eliminated under the auspices of “health care” to genocide levels against persons of color, supporting sex slavery and domestic violence and abuse of women, exploitation of women and youth, serious harms to women’s health, overall coarsening of our culture, regard for one another and public discourse, and urging for state sponsored abortion policies limiting child sizes and advocating elimination of children for things such as gender and eye color. To pretend that abortion “hurts no one” as a moral schema is preposterous given the overwhelming scientific evidence not to mention the millions of lives, valued lives of dignity, lost just like that. To attempt to persuade that the lobby is completely based in science and medicine, invested in the health of the general population given the seriously irrational, hating and harassing mob mentality that the linkage between gay rights and abortion rationale has taken on at this point seems a little dubious. I think many of us would see greater credibility in the arguments you put forth here if abortion wasn’t such a major “must have” according to this government framework being advanced and really forced on many with little say so or choice given the science. Why is it that people must be forced, sometimes through harassment, to “accept” if it is such a rational and scientifically based political value? Even within the Church this is so, which many have written about and reflected about, with horror, here. There are bishops and clerics who look the other way on this agenda and this seriously damages their credibility when it is time for them to speak to us on other issues that involve how we are to go about ordering our lives with one another. They frankly seem so tone deaf when they allow helpless babies to be slaughtered for partisan agenda to the tune of millions but then try to scream at everyone that we need to be more compassionate that my guess is that many Catholics just tune it all out. It is regrettable because I am on record as advocating for communion with our gay brothers in sisters for my entire life. And yet the harassment and torture is vicious. Why is that?

  9. chantgirl says:

    nycdreamr- You might check out the CDC’s fact sheets about the health risks for MSM. There is certainly objective harm that occurs in response to homosexual acts, and this harm has nothing to do with discrimination, but science.

  10. The Masked Chicken says:

    “That homosexuality is not an illness or disorder or an affliction is a the consensus of the medical community.”

    Hmm….I suspect you might not actually know the history of this issue. In the DSM-III (the manual for psychological classification) homosexuality was classified as a disorder. In the DSM-IV, it was changed to a life choice, not because of any better science, but purely for political reasons within the American Psychological Association. The consensus of which you speak is a political/sociological one, not a scientific one.

    Since God is the author of the Natural Law, His opinion supercedes that of any scientific consensus. Scientific consensus has been wrong before.

    The Chicken

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