How We Can Get Through Current Crisis of Homosexuality in the Church

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By Dan Almeter, The Stream, August 15, 2018

The acceptance and even promotion of homosexuality is at the root of the problem in our Church.

Dan AlmeterI spent six years in a Catholic seminary in the ’70s. The current scandal of predatory homosexuality came as no surprise to me.

My fellow seminarians laughed at Pope Paul VI when he re-affirmed the Church’s teaching about homosexuality through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Persona Humana. The seminary rector ordered us to lock our bedroom door every night because of predatory behavior. I was “hit on” by priests and fellow seminarians.

Struggling with a certain level of same-sex attraction, I began to believe that maybe I was homosexual. By God’s plan, I chose to leave seminary and enter an ecumenical charismatic community. There I received healing and formation in my masculinity. I’ve been happily married now for 38 years. My wife and I have been blessed with six children. All of them are married, and continue in their Catholic faith as strong disciples of Jesus.

This crisis cannot be resolved until the Church leadership recognizes and admits that both the current acceptance and even promotion of homosexual behavior is at the root of it all.

I now counsel men and teens who struggle with same-sex attraction. Not everyone I counsel is totally healed, but I have seen dozens of men make serious progress in living either a celibate life or successful married life.

Conspiracy of Silence and Intimidation

The acceptance and even promotion of homosexuality is at the root of the problem in our Church. Last year, a cardinal invited me to come to his archdiocese to talk to his priests about homosexuality. Before the talk, an auxiliary bishops told me to “go easy on the priests.” He instructed me to talk about transgenderism and not homosexuality.

Hope — New Wine Skins

Structures that support the sickness of accepted homosexuality within the Church must change. But we will win the war.

The Holy Spirit has been preparing us for these very days by raising up many new ecclesial movements and communities around the world. They are primarily lay-led. They blend families, consecrated singles, and clergy. They can provide “new wineskins” we need as models of renewal, like the Franciscans, Dominicans and Jesuits for their day.

In a landmark talk in 2006, the head of the Church’s Council for the Laity quoted John Paul II’s call for “living Christian communities.” He declared them “the answer which has been raised up the Holy Spirit in this dramatic challenge at the end of the millennium.”

Bishops around the world must become intimately familiar with these new ecclesial wine skins. They provide a wealth of formation, are deeply orthodox, often ecumenically focused, very evangelistic and clear models of how our church structures and parishes can become disciples in mission.

These new communities and ministries live an accountable lifestyle. They could be a great example of how priests and bishops can be more accountable to one another.

I explained that one can’t begin to talk about transgenderism without talking about homosexuality. It was obvious that the bishop was trying to intimidate me into not talking about the “elephant in the room.”

Just this month a seminarian, soon to be ordained, told me his seminary loses good men because of the homosexual issue. They get pastoral assignments in parishes where the pastor is “pro-gay.” If they say anything bad about the homosexual agenda, the pastor might give them a poor evaluation. It could keep them from ordination. Some of these guys give up.

Pro-gay activist Fr. James Martin, SJ, gets positive coverage and endorsements by priests, bishops and cardinals. A Vatican office invites him to speak at the World meeting of Families. Bishops and priests say mass for the pro-gay activist groups like New Ways Ministries. These clergy arrogantly snub their noses at the laity who protest. They call us homophobic and intolerant.

The Leadership’s Dysfunction

This crisis cannot be resolved until the Church leadership recognizes and admits that both the current acceptance and even promotion of homosexual behavior is at the root of it all.

I am deeply disturbed that some bishops suggest throwing one more band-aid onto a gaping wound in the form of some new policy monitored by the bishops themselves. We do need a board of carefully chosen professional lay people who can help investigate the decades of predatory behavior by cardinals, bishops and priests. Why? Because the hierarchy is acting like a dysfunctional family — unhealthy alliances, co-dependency and more.

For the past few decades most of the hierarchy has been afraid to speak boldly or act decisively. They fear being marginalized and “thrown under the bus” by superiors or peers. As a whole, they will not become accountable without serious help from the laity.

This scandal, as one colleague told me, is like the bombing of Pearl Harbor. To see the Church survive, we must prepare for a protracted period of spiritual warfare. It is going to take everyone to pull together to win this war. The soldiers (the laity) have just as much responsibility now as do the generals (the hierarchy).

Come on faithful bishops! Step up to the plate. Follow the Gospel about how to give correction as described in Matthew 18:15-18. Call your fellow bishops to accountability. The faithful laity will back you up.

Prayer and Fasting

We will all need to pull together to get through this crisis. We will need a full investigation. We will need the laity heavily involved. We will need to stop the huge bleed caused by the pro-homosexual agenda struggling to re-define the human person.

We, laity and clergy alike, must enter into a time of repentance and fasting. “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting” (Mk.9:29b). Ultimately, there is no other way to win the war.

No doubt, the Holy Spirit will inspire new methods and structures to guide us. But always, the ultimate biblical solution is prayer and repentance that gives the Holy Spirit full reign.

Dan Almeter is the North American leader of the Catholic Fraternity of Covenant Communities and Fellowships. He is also a licensed professional counselor and spiritual director. He’s part of the “Gathering in the Holy Spirit” dialogue between Catholics and leaders of the New Charismatic Churches.

Dan Almeter is the North American leader of the Catholic Fraternity of Covenant Communities and Fellowships — a private association of pontifical right with offices in the Vatican.   He has been a member of the Alleluia Community in Augusta Georgia (an ecclesial ecumenical Christian Community) since 1977 where he serves as a pastoral leader, head of formation and mission outreach.  Dan is also a licensed professional counselor and spiritual director.  He has been counseling men with same sex attraction for many years.    For over ten years, Dan has been part of a dialogue called “Gathering in the Holy Spirit,” between Catholics and leaders of the New Charismatic Churches, which meets with the Council for Christian Unity in the Vatican every two years.  He participates in many local, national and international initiatives regarding Christian unity.  He is married to Marie for 38 years, has 6 children and 15 grandchildren.