And they told me their stories too. They told me about their own past drug use, their own previous abortions, their own prior womanizing, and their own previous struggles with the Faith and its demands. In short, they made it clear to me that the church universal is a hospital for sinners far more than it is a penthouse for saints. . . .
They offered me crucial friendship because it was only when I understood that these folks really did care for and about me, as a person, that I credited their objections to my behavior with something other than reflexive prejudice. In short, keeping me at arm's distance would have made sure that their approval or disapproval of how I lived meant nothing. At a distance, what would I care what they thought? Their compassion and intimacy gave their witness to the deeper reality of Christ the power it needed.
Two quick observations:
- Dave Morrison is author of the book Beyond Gay; he's the founder and moderator of the Courage Online mailing list, an internet community "for men and women living with some degree of same sex attraction who wish to do so chastely" [in conformity to the teachings of the Catholic Church].
With homosexuality joining abortion in a contentious national debate, there is a tendency in the secular media to portray Christians as irrational, hate-filled bigots with not an ounce of charity. Unfortunately, it is often the case that there are those "Christians" who can't help but provide the media with ample fodder for this negative portrayal.
Consequently, I see a real need for Dave's ministry: offering respect and charity for all men regardless of sexual orientation, yet unwavering in its fidelity to the moral teachings of the Church. And I daresay David's got the background, knowledge, and personal experience for precisely this kind of ministry. He knows what he's talking about.
If the New Oxford Review has the audacity to criticize him for treating homosexuals as the Catechism instructs us to, I'd say they're waaaaayyyyyy out of their league.
- The parable of "The Good Samaritan" springs to my mind when reading Dave's post. Unfortunately, the point of the story seems utterly lost on the New Oxford Review, which insists that we should not only refuse to treat homosexuals with charity we would any neighbor, we should decline to even respect them.
But let's not forget those good samaritans at Dave's Anglican parish who befriended him while he was yet an obstinate sinner. If not for them, Dave Morrison would not be who he is today.
Fr. Neuhaus, Deal Hudson, Scott Hahn, Mark Shea -- as somebody commented on Dave's blog, "I'm beginning to think that being dissed by NOR is some kind of mark of distinction."