Denver Student Responds To Archbishop: “I Am Catholic, And I Am Gay… I Do Not Need To Be ‘Healed'”
January 30, 2019
OK, a couple of things hit me right off the bat here. First, it’s a mighty pompous title. We’re all fallen creatures, so we ALL need healing. And second? If this kid’s intent is on living the “gay lifestyle” he will almost certainly need some sort of physical as well as emotional and spiritual healing in the future. The stats are not with you, my young friend. You have fallen for the sales pitch and have completely forgotten to see if the “gay lifestyle” might possibly have any negatives.
It is with a very enraged and dismal heart that I write this post today.
This past Saturday, the Archdiocese of Denver sponsored an anti-LGBTQ event at the John Paul II Center led by an anti-LGBTQ activist and proponent of conversion therapy named Andrew Comiskey.
Since this young man failed to actually elaborate on what the event was, I did some digging and think it’s this: https://desertstream.org/events/denvergendermatters/
There was a highly false and insulting banner hung on the fence of the John Paul II Center. It is important to note that a representative from the Archdiocese said that the Archdiocese themselves did not hang the banner although they sponsored this event. The banner is a quote from the leader of the event, Andrew Comiskey, and reads, “There is no such thing as a ‘gay’ person…. That is a popular myth.” “Satan delights in homosexual perversion.”
Last time I checked, God created them male and female. “Gay” is an inclination. We are not our inclinations. We are God’s children made in his image and likeness. And, yes, “Satan delights in homosexual perversion,” emphasis on perversion. Is this even up for debate? I mean, Satan certainly isn’t cheering for any of us to live chaste lives, straight or otherwise. I’m not entirely sure why this young man, a Catholic, has a problem with the teachings of the Church. And, yes, everything in that quote is in line with Church teaching. “Gay” isn’t even in the Catholic lexicon. As happens in most social constructs, it’s a made-up term.
As a young, gay male, I was infuriated when I read this sign and an article [in the Colorado Times Recorder]. Not only is the sign overtly offensive, it is so, so, so very wrong.
What’s Shapiro always say? Facts don’t care about your feelings. Please remember, this was a Catholic group, putting on a Catholic conference, for Catholics. It’s completely optional. Young Johnny Hultzapple was in no way required to attend. If it just doesn’t agree with your feelings, accept it and move on, Johnny. Some, on the other hand, actually wanted to attend the conference and did so. If the message wasn’t wanted, don’t you think the ministry would go bye-bye? Ironically, somebody just referred me to Andrew Comiskey yesterday.
I AM a gay person. I AM a homosexual; and there is absolutely nothing perverted about me. In Genesis 1:26, God says, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Based on Christian belief, humans are made in the likeness of God. I believe this includes STRAIGHT, GAY, LESBIAN, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER, or QUEER individuals. LGBTQ people are made in the image and likeness of God.
Let’s just cut to the chase, Johnny. Do you believe there’s anything perverted about gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer sexual practices? And, just to add a little clarity to your nice list, how about straight sex out-of-wedlock, porn, masturbation, etc.? Again, we are not our inclinations. God didn’t make us drug addicts, alcoholics, porn addicts, rapists, etc., etc., etc. You are confusing inclinations with the part where our body and soul mirror each other as we mirror God.
For 11 years of my life, I attended Catholic school right down the road from the JP II center. In fact, I used to run around the JP II center for cross country practice. My fond memories of catholic school are unfortunately tainted with dark and hurtful moments of bigotry–bigotry that will stay with me the rest of my life.
And here comes the newest member of the martyr brigade.
This bigotry is often promoted in the Catholic religion, although it is not promoted by all. The ironic part of this bigotry is that Catholicism is a religion centered on love: God’s love for his son, Jesus’ love for his people, and people’s love for Jesus shown by loving others.
And love sometimes means saying “No!” and that’s not to people just with your disordered inclinations but also to people who share my disordered inclinations. You want so desperately to see yourself as a martyr that you can’t see that the Church actually treats us all the same when it comes to our disordered inclinations.
Events like [the conference with Comiskey], which spread hatred and lies about the LGBTQ community, are not events that I believe are truly rooted in Catholic teaching. In John 15:12, Jesus exclaims, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
Dude! Did you even go to the conference, so how would you know there was hatred spread? Andrew lived the life you’re in now, so you might want to realize that not everyone is you. I know that’s super hard in this narcissistic world, and at 17 you tend to be myopic anyway, but the reality is that the “gay lifestyle” hasn’t made everyone happy. In fact, just the opposite. That’s what happens when we accept our brokenness as our being instead of letting God’s mercy into our lives.
I am only 17-years old, but I can see that events like Andrew Comiskey’s do not spread the type of love that Jesus loves his people with. Jesus’ love was never judgmental, it was never exclusive, and it definitely was never hateful. The God I know loves everyone, and everyone means anyone who lives and breathes, regardless of sexuality, gender, or any other identity.
Again, did you go to the conference? Did you see what Andrew had to say? Have you even bothered to watch a video of Andrew’s. If you are familiar with him, I’m pretty sure it would be hard to say he isn’t loving. He may say things that don’t please you but “hateful and bigoted?” Put the facts down in your article. Quote him a bit. Link to his videos and show him spewing hate. Oh, wait, you can’t? Maybe it’s because he tries very hard to show what love actually is rather than the pile of manure you’ve been sold. You’re probably still at the stage in life where you think love is a “feeling”, which is a load of hooey. Love is a choice you make to will the best for another. Period. And, yes, this sometimes means we have to suffer greatly for those we love by making the hard choices in their regard. I seem to remember something about a Cross and a guy who suffered greatly because He loved us, but yeah, love is about feeling happy, right? Blech. How in the world do people miss this? It’s all, “Me, me, me, me” and we can’t figure out why the world is a mess. What if we lived in a world where everyone willed the best (AKA everlasting life with God) for everyone instead of their own self-gratification? Well, sadly, Original Sin will never allow that, but you can imagine a world without loneliness even if everyone’s physical self-gratifications weren’t met. Self-gratification is what it is. It doesn’t will the good of another. It’s always looking inward, not willing the best for others. Self-gratification and love are just about as polar opposite as you can get. Sadly, Johnny hasn’t been told that. He has been told “You, you and only you” which will make his life incredibly lonely.
At the event, Andrew Comiskey stated, “The enemy is intent on sowing seeds of deception in really bright and really colorful and really fragile people, and that what the whole LGBT juggernaut is.”
Wait! Did you actually go? Where’s the lie in that statement? Do you believe in satan? And seriously, yes, the fragile people are the ones who give in to their inclinations. They aren’t, as much as they’d like to think, the Christ who was inclined not to suffer but who still died on the Cross for us. THAT is love. Dying to oneself and one’s inclinations.
Now, I’m sure you’re now going to start whining about how this is just all aimed against people suffering from same-sex attraction. Please. Yeah, the rest of the world don’t have to die to themselves and their inclinations. Just you. Really?!?! I’m sure my husband would rather sleep in and then sit on a mountain top, but he gets up every morning, day after day, year after year, and goes to a job to materially support his wife and brood. To top it off, he also gets up on one of his precious days off from that grind to worship God. Other days, he gives up sleeping in to help his kids, Church, the unborn, etc., etc., etc. THAT is love. He wills the best for others despite his inclination against it. That’s carrying the Cross he’s been given.
“But, but, but…the Church approves him having sex!” young Johnny thinks to himself. And you can too, Johnny, in the same and equal context as my husband and me: with a person of the opposite sex that he has joined with in Holy Matrimony. “But, but, but…I love men!” To which I’d again have to remind you that sex is not love. Love is a choice you make to will the best for another. When that is your focus, you can choose to ignore your inclinations and make that choice. This is what Andrew Comiskey is trying to say. Is it an easy choice? Of course not. Neither is the choice my husband has made to come home to the same family day in and day out when we sometimes forget how awesome it is that he does that. He’s got his Cross, I’ve got mine, and you’ve got yours. Accepting it will truly bring you happiness and integrity.
While I whole-heartedly agree that the LGBTQ community and I are really bright and really colorful, I know that we are not fragile. We are a STRONG community. I am a strong person. The LGBTQ community fights to overcome bigotry every. single. day. With each day that passes, we are becoming a hell of a lot stronger. We will overcome, just as we have in the past.
I’m going to guess you’re all for living the lifestyle. I notice that while secular LGTB-whatevers are just fine to admit it, Catholic self-professed LGBT-whatevers never quite mention that little aspect. Let me be a little more honest than they will be. We’re talking sodomy and masturbation. Now that we got that out of the way, yes, Johnny, you are fragile. The thought of living the chaste and celibate lifestyle is just too hard. Never mind that millions do it every day. It’s just too hard for you. You are called to the exact same life of chastity and abstinence that we are all called to, yet somehow that’s bigoted. We are all called to resist our disordered inclinations no matter what they are, but you? It’s just too hard. We should cut you some slack. This isn’t exactly the definition of strong, Johnny. It’s the definition of weak and fragile.
Individuals who attended the event told the crowd that Comiskey’s events and organization lead them to ‘convert’ from homosexuality to heterosexuality. As the article describes, “conversion therapy programs like Comiskey’s have been widely discredited, and are opposed by the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association…. and many other medical organizations.” In fact, conversion therapy programs were just outlawed in the city of Denver. In addition, with a passing of a bill in the state legislature, conversion therapy will hopefully be outlawed in all of Colorado this year.
So, people wish not to live the “gay lifestyle”, but you insist they must? Please. I’m sorry the AMA and APA don’t like “conversion therapy.” If they want to title Andrew’s program as such, they can go ahead, but that doesn’t change the fact that Catholics can Catholic. You might want to give Article 6 in the Catholic Catechism a little read, Johnny, and tell me where Andrew differs from it. I think you might have been cheated out of, well, the Faith:
(For those who don’t like following links)
“* I. “MALE AND FEMALE HE CREATED THEM . . .”
2331 “God is love and in himself he lives a mystery of personal loving communion. Creating the human race in his own image . . .. God inscribed in the humanity of man and woman the vocation, and thus the capacity and responsibility, of love and communion.”115
“God created man in his own image . . . male and female he created them”;116 He blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply”;117 “When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created.”118
2332 Sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul. It especially concerns affectivity, the capacity to love and to procreate, and in a more general way the aptitude for forming bonds of communion with others.
2333 Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity. Physical, moral, and spiritual difference and complementarity are oriented toward the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life. The harmony of the couple and of society depends in part on the way in which the complementarity, needs, and mutual support between the sexes are lived out.
2334 “In creating men ‘male and female,’ God gives man and woman an equal personal dignity.”119 “Man is a person, man and woman equally so, since both were created in the image and likeness of the personal God.”120
2335 Each of the two sexes is an image of the power and tenderness of God, with equal dignity though in a different way. The union of man and woman in marriage is a way of imitating in the flesh the Creator’s generosity and fecundity: “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.”121 All human generations proceed from this union.122
2336 Jesus came to restore creation to the purity of its origins. In the Sermon on the Mount, he interprets God’s plan strictly: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”123 What God has joined together, let not man put asunder.124
The tradition of the Church has understood the sixth commandment as encompassing the whole of human sexuality.
- THE VOCATION TO CHASTITY
2337 Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being. Sexuality, in which man’s belonging to the bodily and biological world is expressed, becomes personal and truly human when it is integrated into the relationship of one person to another, in the complete and lifelong mutual gift of a man and a woman.
The virtue of chastity therefore involves the integrity of the person and the integrality of the gift.
The integrity of the person
2338 The chaste person maintains the integrity of the powers of life and love placed in him. This integrity ensures the unity of the person; it is opposed to any behavior that would impair it. It tolerates neither a double life nor duplicity in speech.125
2339 Chastity includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery which is a training in human freedom. The alternative is clear: either man governs his passions and finds peace, or he lets himself be dominated by them and becomes unhappy.126 “Man’s dignity therefore requires him to act out of conscious and free choice, as moved and drawn in a personal way from within, and not by blind impulses in himself or by mere external constraint. Man gains such dignity when, ridding himself of all slavery to the passions, he presses forward to his goal by freely choosing what is good and, by his diligence and skill, effectively secures for himself the means suited to this end.”127
What? The Church has our happiness in mind??? Mind blown yet, Johnny? Have you EVER even heard this before???
“2340 Whoever wants to remain faithful to his baptismal promises and resist temptations will want to adopt the means for doing so: self-knowledge, practice of an ascesis adapted to the situations that confront him, obedience to God’s commandments, exercise of the moral virtues, and fidelity to prayer. “Indeed it is through chastity that we are gathered together and led back to the unity from which we were fragmented into multiplicity.”128
2341 The virtue of chastity comes under the cardinal virtue of temperance, which seeks to permeate the passions and appetites of the senses with reason.
2342 Self-mastery is a long and exacting work. One can never consider it acquired once and for all. It presupposes renewed effort at all stages of life.129 The effort required can be more intense in certain periods, such as when the personality is being formed during childhood and adolescence.”
Amen! We all need to struggle together in this.
“2343 Chastity has laws of growth which progress through stages marked by imperfection and too often by sin. “Man . . . day by day builds himself up through his many free decisions; and so he knows, loves, and accomplishes moral good by stages of growth.”130
2344 Chastity represents an eminently personal task; it also involves a cultural effort, for there is “an interdependence between personal betterment and the improvement of society.”131 Chastity presupposes respect for the rights of the person, in particular the right to receive information and an education that respect the moral and spiritual dimensions of human life.”
The #MeToo and “LGTBSJ” movements have totally missed this.
2345 Chastity is a moral virtue. It is also a gift from God, a grace, a fruit of spiritual effort.132 The Holy Spirit enables one whom the water of Baptism has regenerated to imitate the purity of Christ.133
The integrality of the gift of self
2346 Charity is the form of all the virtues. Under its influence, chastity appears as a school of the gift of the person. Self-mastery is ordered to the gift of self. Chastity leads him who practices it to become a witness to his neighbor of God’s fidelity and loving kindness.
See? Denying one’s inclinations isn’t mean, it’s kind, or so says YOUR Church, Johnny.
2347 The virtue of chastity blossoms in friendship. It shows the disciple how to follow and imitate him who has chosen us as his friends,134 who has given himself totally to us and allows us to participate in his divine estate. Chastity is a promise of immortality.
Immortality. Epic! Johnny doesn’t even realize he’s tossing away immortality with God for 80ish years here on earth. He’s almost ¼ of the way toward eternal life or death, and again, as stats show, probably even further if he continues on with the “gay lifestyle.” He doesn’t get that the Catholic Church, nor Andrew Comiskey, nor I for that matter, want this for him.
Chastity is expressed notably in friendship with one’s neighbor. Whether it develops between persons of the same or opposite sex, friendship represents a great good for all. It leads to spiritual communion.
The various forms of chastity
2348 All the baptized are called to chastity. The Christian has “put on Christ,”135 the model for all chastity. All Christ’s faithful are called to lead a chaste life in keeping with their particular states of life. At the moment of his Baptism, the Christian is pledged to lead his affective life in chastity.
2349 “People should cultivate [chastity] in the way that is suited to their state of life. Some profess virginity or consecrated celibacy which enables them to give themselves to God alone with an undivided heart in a remarkable manner. Others live in the way prescribed for all by the moral law, whether they are married or single.”136 Married people are called to live conjugal chastity; others practice chastity in continence:
There are three forms of the virtue of chastity: the first is that of spouses, the second that of widows, and the third that of virgins. We do not praise any one of them to the exclusion of the others. . . . This is what makes for the richness of the discipline of the Church.137
2350 Those who are engaged to marry are called to live chastity in continence. They should see in this time of testing a discovery of mutual respect, an apprenticeship in fidelity, and the hope of receiving one another from God. They should reserve for marriage the expressions of affection that belong to married love. They will help each other grow in chastity.
Offenses against chastity
2351 Lust is disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes.
2352 By masturbation is to be understood the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure. “Both the Magisterium of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action.”138 “The deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose.” For here sexual pleasure is sought outside of “the sexual relationship which is demanded by the moral order and in which the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love is achieved.”139
To form an equitable judgment about the subjects’ moral responsibility and to guide pastoral action, one must take into account the affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety or other psychological or social factors that lessen, if not even reduce to a minimum, moral culpability.
2353 Fornication is carnal union between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman. It is gravely contrary to the dignity of persons and of human sexuality which is naturally ordered to the good of spouses and the generation and education of children. Moreover, it is a grave scandal when there is corruption of the young.
2354 Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials.
2355 Prostitution does injury to the dignity of the person who engages in it, reducing the person to an instrument of sexual pleasure. The one who pays sins gravely against himself: he violates the chastity to which his Baptism pledged him and defiles his body, the temple of the Holy Spirit.140 Prostitution is a social scourge. It usually involves women, but also men, children, and adolescents (The latter two cases involve the added sin of scandal.). While it is always gravely sinful to engage in prostitution, the imputability of the offense can be attenuated by destitution, blackmail, or social pressure.
2356 Rape is the forcible violation of the sexual intimacy of another person. It does injury to justice and charity. Rape deeply wounds the respect, freedom, and physical and moral integrity to which every person has a right. It causes grave damage that can mark the victim for life. It is always an intrinsically evil act. Graver still is the rape of children committed by parents (incest) or those responsible for the education of the children entrusted to them.
Chastity and homosexuality
2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
Note that the offenses against chastity are committed by almost all of us. While the “homosexuality” section is set off, it’s just different and something that needed to be addressed as an emerging problem at the time of the last edition. People constantly suggest that people suffering with same-sex attraction are singled out. Psh. Read the entire section.
Unfortunately, the Archdiocese of Denver is continuing to promote these events.
What? A Catholic diocese being Catholic again? The shock and horror of it all. Sigh.
I am Catholic, and I am gay. I am not ‘deceived’; Satan does not ‘delight in my sexuality’; I do not need to be ‘converted’ to heterosexuality; I do not need to be ‘healed’. I am far from perfect, but this is not because of my sexual orientation.
God made me gay, and I know that God wants me to use my voice to spread love and acceptance to not only the LGBTQ community, but to ALL people, regardless of identity. I will work my hardest to ensure that this hatred is not continued in my community. I will work hard to ensure that other kids in Catholic school will not have to suffer the bigotry I had to.
Sorry, Johnny. Saying it doesn’t make it so. Your body and your soul were carefully created by God in harmony. They are one. They are not in conflict. What’s at conflict are your inclinations and proclivities, and it’s not bigoted to say so any more than it is to say that some have the inclination and proclivity to cheat on their spouse, abuse alcohol, engage in porn, etc., etc., etc. You want to be treated differently than the rest of us and yet we are somehow bigoted. We’re the ones willing to accept that we do indeed need to allow God’s mercy to fix us in whatever our disordered tendency. You refuse to even accept that you have a disordered tendency.
My big, Catholic family loves and accepts me for who I am; they know that God made me gay and loves me just the same. I am lucky and grateful to have this system of support around me, but others are not so lucky.
Well, since we were all raised in same confused and lied-to era of the Catholic Church, I really can see why the big Catholic family would encourage the lifestyle. If they were taught to accept the “gay lifestyle”, then they were never truly taught how to love, either. We’ve all been cheated for far too long. That said, we need to seek out the truth and the bishops need to show it to us, which is exactly what Archbishop Aquila is doing there with Andrew Comiskey’s conferences. Bravo to him for being a true father who truly loves us and wills the best for us. He certainly has picked his Cross.
So, if you have continued reading thus far, I ask you to please share my post (gay or straight, religious or not) to share the articles with your community, to let people know that this is happening. Have a discussion at your dinner table, have a discussion in your class, have a discussion with your friends.
Well, I have kids and I work with youth, so you betcha we’ll have discussions. Sadly, yours is a cautionary tale and not the story of a martyr that you wish. It’s all too easy for us all to fall into the same trap you have. I’m sorry the Church has failed you in so many ways. I’m sorry the Fr. Martins of the world don’t care about your mental, physical, and especially your spiritual health, but I do, as do many others.
And, most of all, I ask you to please give love to all of your LGBTQ friends and family members, especially ones that are in communities full of hatred.
In the end, it is love that will unite us all, despite our differences.
Johnny Hultzapple is a student at South High School in Denver.
Isn’t it always the same. “Accept my lifestyle no matter how harmful it may be for me, or you hate me.” It’s beautifully framed to tug at the heartstrings, but when my children are headed the wrong way, I don’t give them the thumbs up. I don’t tell people to follow their disordered tendency. I will the best for them as I hope they do for me, and I make that choice every day, no matter how a big of a Cross it might be.
If you’re not quite understanding why people just don’t rubber-stamp the gay lifestyle, here’s a few things you should read. You might at least try to understand the mind of those you consider the “enemy.” This is not an exhaustive list but are some of my favorites. Despite what you may think, we don’t live in a bubble. Most of us have friends, family and coworkers who suffer from SSA and we love them.