All religions, except some forms of Buddhism, recommend prayer. From the Latin precare, which means to beg, prayer is just that: begging, pleading, imploring a God, or some other otherworldly figure, such as a saint.
The Catholic Church constructs barriers while speaking in doublespeak saying "we love you," "we welcome you," "we offer you 'Christian love,'" and "we are here to help you change your unwanted attractions and gender identities and expressions."
The nation's largest religious body is also by far the most likely to have its congregations take to the streets in public demonstrations or lobby the halls of power on moral issues, a new study finds.
In retrospect, had John Paul II chosen to do what his immediate successor did -- retire at an appropriate time -- he would have stepped down around 1995. Our assessment would be different. But we must assess his legacy in its totality.
The average reader of the Catechism will see in this language the whole, sorry history of efforts to medicalize and "treat" those deemed "afflicted" with same-sex attractions. Being gay is not a choice but something innate and natural.
Pope Francis' Catholic Church isn't abandoning its anti-LGBT beliefs; it's just going to talk about them less often. The pontiff's comments were a response to the shifting politics around LGBT issues, not a new policy of inclusion. They are, at most, a change of style, not one of substance.
To be sure, Popes do not change doctrine in off-the-cuff airplane interviews. The Catechism remains today as it was yesterday -- equal parts condemnation and conciliation. But something has changed, decisively so. And that is tone.
We are "gravely disordered," "afflicted with evil tendencies," our relationships constitute a "troubling moral and social phenomenon," and "a destruction of God's work," which "threatens human dignity and the future of humanity itself," but the Church somehow deeply respects us?
I wonder how long it will take the Church to apologize for its longstanding marginalization and persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and its ultimate sanction of our relationships and our gender expressions. I'm certainly not going to hold my breath
The repeal of DADT is not about marriage, or sexual activity, but about something else, and something more important: simple human dignity. And the innate dignity of the human being is an overarching theme of Christian theology.
I'm Catholic because I often find my religion in simple acts of service, and that's enough. Because I believe in something larger than the individual. Because in the face of a sometimes incomprehensible world, I hope.