My friend Julie Nichols understands that LGBT ministry is a prolife issue

Here is the story of Alana Chen, who committed suicide in the wake of the ministrations of one of the worst priests in the US Church, Fr. David Nix and others.

Alana Chen was a sensitive, quiet and empathetic child, according to her mother, Joyce Calvo. She loved to write poetry, play guitar and make her own clothes. (Courtesy of the family)

Here’s the thing. Before Catholic anthropology ever gets around to addressing our sex lives or any other human act, it addresses, far more fundamentally, who we are: creatures made in the image and likeness of God for who Christ died. Yet it is with extreme reluctance that many Catholics are willing to remain with that when it comes to LBGT human beings. For many, the itch to rush on from “Yeah, yeah, dignity of the human person, blah blah” to “YOU KNOW WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU? I’LL TELL WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU!” is overwhelming. And those who fail to get with the program in saying that over and over and over again to LGBT people are quickly and vehemently suspect of being The Enemy. One need only look at the Pacific Ocean of contempt the Guardians of Righteousness heap on figures like Fr. James Martin for attempting to serve that population with respect. God forgive me for the many times I have played a role in that crap as well.

Still and all, I think that really living with the reality the LGBT people are made in the image and likeness of God and ones for whom Christ died is essential. If you have ever been treated as somebody who needs to be fixed, modified, corrected, molded, shaped, and reworked by some controller before you are worthy of love, then you can imagine how it feels to be gay and under the Lidless Eye of the Righteous. For some reason, people hate being treated like that. And if they endure it long enough, lots of them walk away from the Faith, under the impression God regards them the same way the Righteous Improvers do. Others despair and commit suicide, as Alana did.

Which is where my friend Julie Nichols comes in. She is a mental health professional and a committed Catholic who recognizes that this too is a prolife life issue:

LBGTQ kids need unconditional love and support, especially from other Christians, for their dignity, the sanctity of their lives, and suicide prevention. Love and support from other Christians is seen as love and acceptance from God. Christians rejecting or trying to change who they are is seen as rejection and abuse from God. Jesus and the Gospels were all about love, inclusivity, and defending the marginalized.

I understand that doctrine is part of the Bible and the Catholic Church, but the Catholic Church allows Catholics to theologically place the sanctity of life above all else in life and death cases. Jesus came for the disenfranchised, the ones society rejected. If we claim Christ’s name, we need to follow His command to love the Lord our God with all of our mind, soul, and strength and love our neighbor as ourselves. This would mean loving transgender/gender dysphoric youth unconditionally, using their preferred pronouns and name, and including them, not excluding them. Just doing these things will help reduce the suicide statistics dramatically.

This is why I wear my “free Mom Hugs” rainbow shirt, to save lives and follow the science.


42 Responses

  1. A woman who claims to be a “part-time seminarian” in the Catholic Church can hardly be trusted on matters of doctrine. Or are you in favor of women’s ordination now, too, Mark? How far you’ve fallen.

    “Unless you are capable of life-long celibacy for yourself, you are not qualified to expect this from someone else.” Then (theoretically) bishops and priests *are* qualified to expect this from LGBTQ people. “A person’s sexuality is between them, God, their loved ones/parents, and no one else.” So, no one, not even a therapist or a priest? “The Catholic Church allows Catholics to theologically place the sanctity of life above all else in life and death cases.” Tell that to the martyrs. Actual Catholic theology holds that it is not only better to die, it is better that I allow a hundred thousand people to die, rather than commit one mortal sin. And affirming gay relationships and false gender identities is mortally sinful.

    For God’s sake, Mark. If you’ve thrown your lot in with the heresies of theological progressivism, I would at least hope you would provide some kind of serious theological reasoning for it not the poorly-edited emotivism on display in the article you linked.

    Do better, Mark. Your friend is utterly unqualified to speak on theological matters.

    1. “Actual Catholic theology holds that it is not only better to die, it is better that I allow a hundred thousand people to die, rather than commit one mortal sin. And affirming gay relationships and false gender identities is mortally sinful.”

      I’m pretty sure the Colorado nightclub shooter would agree with you. If anything, he probably sees himself as a martyr, who did what he did so that people like you wouldn’t have to. After all, you’ve demonstrated that you’re perfectly fine with “a hundred thousand deaths”, as long as you don’t have to get your hands dirty and can use plausible deniability to shield yourself from any role you might have played in increasing the body count of LGBTQ folk.

      I’m sorry, but if your response to hearing that a prevailing Catholic approach to the LGBTQ community is leading to them suffering and dying, is to double down and quibble about “theological correctness”, then you’re functionally the equivalent of a sociopath, with as little empathy as you have self-awareness, and whose understanding of morality is no better than a child who’s playing some convoluted game of “Simon Says”.

      1. I don’t give a damn if you think I’m cruel. I care about the state of my soul before Almighty God, Who creates people male and female, and Who detests sodomy.

      2. I don’t actually care whether you think I’m cruel. I care about the state of my soul before almighty God. And He creates people male and female, and hates sexual immorality.

      1. You have not given me any examples of logical fallacies, and your assertion does not impress me.

    2. You get that women can study theology, right? There is not a word here about women’s ordination, so that’s a huge red herring. As to your eagerness to kill a hundred thousand innocents rather than respect the human dignity of LGBTQ people, I urge you to seriously rethink what you just said, particularly in light of what happened last weekend.

      1. Are you saying you think one may do evil that good may come of it? It is evil to tell someone that their sin is not a sin; when one does so, one participates in the sin and becomes guilty of it. Or do you deny this well-established principle of moral theology as well?

        As for the tragic events of the past weekend, perhaps I should have used a different example. But one may not stop proclaiming the Gospel even to avert tragedy. I prefer not to jump on bandwagons or pass judgment on such things until we have a clearer picture. We recently learned that the shooter claims to identify as non-binary; it may turn out the motive had nothing to do with the identity of the victims. It was tragic, but we are not yet justified in calling it a hate crime, unless our goal is political expedience, rather than truth. You have not engaged with my larger point, which is that the kind of LGBTQ ministry for which Ms. Nichols, Fr. Martin, et. al advocate, requires the minister to participate in the sin of the one to whom they are ministering, to be their accomplice by silence or by approval, which is perverse, and antithetical to the Gospel.

      2. It’s fascinating the way you pretend to ask a question and then use your own accusatory answer to your pretend question in order to indict me for things I’m not saying. It is not doing evil that good may come of it to affirm the Church’s teaching that LGBTQ people are made in the image and likeness of God and human beings beloved by him for whom Jesus Christ died and rose. As to, “It was tragic, but…” I spit on your downplaying of targeted mass murder. And, by the way, “I prefer not to pass judgement” is a repulsive lie when every word you write to and about me and Julie is nothing but rash judgment.

  2. Mark, thank you so much for writing this. We have two choices to make on this issue, include/accept or reject. Every major medical association in the world says that acceptance and affirmation of LGBTQIA+ people and their families is life and death. So by following science which is pro-life, we are following Catholic Teaching by……
    1. Honoring the Sanctity of the LGBTQ Life, The Dignity of the Human Person, the Call to Family, Community, and Participation, and their basic Human Rights (Catholic Social Teaching, (Themes 1, 2, 3, and 4 ).
    2. We are loving our neighbor as ourselves (Jesus’ 2nd greatest commandment).
    3. By following science for LGBTQ
    + people, we are honoring the Catechism of the Catholic Church to provide proper pastoral care for LGBTQ people and their families (142-184), (1700-1876), and (2331-2400)
    4. And we are following Pope Francis’s directive in Amoris Lattetita to give proper pastoral care to LGBTQIA people and their families.
    5. By following all of this Catholic Teaching, which is a lot more Catholic Teaching than allowing the gay person to be in a life-long commited monogamouos relationship, we are keeping the family intact, saving the life and human dignity not only of the LGBTQ person and other family members, keeping the entire family in the faith, and not causing lasting spiritual and pyschological damage and even suicide in many cases.

    The other choice…….
    1. Kick out/excommunicate LGBTQ people out of the Church therefore the entire family has to leave the Church.
    This in most cases results in religious trauma recovery where I work part-time outside of my therapy practice. I see regular suicides of LGBTQ people and their family members, families being ripped apart, and lasting damage done. In most cases because there are so many judgemental people who do not understand the consequences of rejection, the parents of LGBTQ children have to choose between their child’s right-to-life or stay in the Catholic Church.


    1. Thank you for being cvil and level-headed. Avoiding the category of dividing people into good and evil, there is still a strain of thought which does not outrightly condemn LGBTQ people. This is the thinking that goes,..

      a)LGBTQ people exist, they are real humans, and worthy of everything that applies to humans
      b)All humans being have unique temptations and challenges, unbearable crosses – e.g. physical/neural/mental disabilities. LGBTQ people have their own cross. This is life.
      c)All humans should bear their cross like Christ.
      d)Catholics are called to support fellow humans to bear their crosses. It is a moral obligation to do so.

      Note that this is not how so-called Catholic Church thinks or acts in society today. They do not at all consider (d).
      Instead they are completely concerned with forcing LGBTQ people to carry the cross. Somehow the whole Church is mortally terrified that LGBTQ people are escaping/refusing the cross. Which leads me to think.. what kind of people are obsessed with the thought that some are trying to escape the cross?..Certainly those who are not happy carrying their own cross.

      Pleasure as the sole moral principle is nihilism, but so is suffering in itself. We can debate to kingdom come about when a cross is good or what kind of crosses are worth carrying. (There are people who believe that any kind of amelioration of suffering is interfering with the Divine order.. that birth, race, genes, nationality, health, wealth etc..etc.. are crosses that should be carried and humans should never ameliorate any of it. eg. if you don’t have medical insurance you should die – that’s your cross).

      But there is no question that the cross has always been voluntary. Christ’s cross has always been an invitation, not one that demands an edict of the state to support it.

      Carry this cross and suffer, you miserable wretch – said not Christ. Why are Catholics obsessed with it then?

  3. “Jesus’ parable to answer his disciples’ question about how to know if something is true. Jesus’ answer was, “Look at the fruit. If a tree bears good fruit, then you know it is a good tree. If it bears bad fruit, it should be chopped up and used for the fire.”

    When we look at the consequences (the “fruit”) of rejecting the neurodiverse and LBGTQ children in the family, church, and society, we find depression, anxiety, self-hatred, shame, self-harm, substance abuse, separation from God, the church, community, isolation, anger, serious mental illness, and even suicide.

    But when we teach that God, the Church, the family, and the community loves and accepts neurodiverse and LBGTQ+ people unconditionally, the fruit is health, healing, love, joy, peace, self-acceptance, stable relationships, reconciling with God and the Church, family unity, and wholeness.

    Fully accepting and including transgender/gender dysphoric children would be no different than fully including and accepting children with disabilities and/or neurodiversity like Autism where the LGBTQ experience is more prevalent. Being LGBTQ+ is not a disability, but it is part of being on a spectrum intrinsic to being human. Unless you are capable of life-long celibacy for yourself, you are not qualified to expect this from someone else. Someone’s sexuality is between them, God, their loved one/parents, and no one else.

  4. I have a serious question: what does the “+” mean in LGBQ+? Because there are some people who claim that there is a category of people they call MAPs, and there can be no peace, acceptance, wholeness or stable relationships with these people. They are destructive criminals, and the Catholic church needs to be unequivocal in calling this out, especially at this point in history.

  5. Well, you mentioned some sort of connection between LGBTQ people and criminals. I would suggest watching the whole video when you have a chance; it’s short.

    1. Say what?? Where did I mention some connection between LGBTQ people and criminals?? The only post I made here was asking what “MAPs” people was supposed to be. I just hadn’t heard the term before, and a quick search didn’t show anything. I asked Paul Fry that, above. Are you confusing me with someone else above?

  6. OK, sorry about that. Please give some detail as to what you mean about “MAPs” because this is a new one to me, even as a practitioner.

    1. No, it wasn’t me who mentioned “MAPs”, it was Paul Fry above:

      I have a serious question: what does the “+” mean in LGBQ+? Because there are some people who claim that there is a category of people they call MAPs, and there can be no peace, acceptance, wholeness or stable relationships with these people. They are destructive criminals, and the Catholic church needs to be unequivocal in calling this out, especially at this point in history.

      I was asking him about the term as I hadn’t heard it.

    2. MAP (“minor-attracted person”) is an online term used by pedophiles to draw equivalency between themselves and members of the LGBTQ+ community. They aren’t welcome there except by a few extremely online people who are so open-minded their brains are falling out. The guy who brought it up was worried that the “+” could mean inclusivity to MAPs, which it doesn’t.

  7. The plus + sign stands for additional gender/sexual identities. I stands for Intersex while A stands for Asexual. Intersex is a newer term, similar to the older hermaphrodite label which is outdated. Intersex means that the person is born with both male and female anatomy and/or characteristics.

    1. Just to clarify, I have no problem with an unordained person of either sex discussing theology. Someone above tried to make this discussion about women’s ordination, and I agree with Mark that is a red herring. Anyone who is concerned about finding the truth is allowed to practice theology and engage in discussions about it. You as a doctor have a valuable voice and I am being sincere.

      I’m concerned about people continuing to talk past each other in the Catholic Church about this issue. But I’m also concerned about using secular jargon such as LGBT, LGBTQ, LGBTQIA+, etc. within a theological conversation. If we use something like “a person who experiences same-sex attraction” that is much less colored by society’s take on homosexuality than if we say, for example, “a member of the LGBT community”.

      To me, the “+” sign is problematic because it is a placeholder for something that is not identified explicitly. I don’t think you are including it out of some sort of malice, in fact I think that you as a doctor want to make sure you don’t leave anyone out. And maybe that is noble within your profession, but within a theological discussion I am not sure it is wise to include it. I believe that everything you are trying to do is an attempt to help people and I respect you for it. I have read several of the articles you have written on Patheos and New Ways. I notice that sometimes you write LGBTQ and other times you include the other letters plus the “+”. I totally get that you don’t want to leave anyone out.

      But there are people who routinely get excluded in the secular world, and I hope they are remembered also in our theological discussions. There are gay men who I have met who desperately want to leave the homosexual lifestyle and they get gaslighted and even vilified for it. There are “de-transition-ers” who are getting similar treatment. I suspect that at some point the detrasitioners may be as large of a sexual minority as the Intersex or the Asexual people. Are we going to add a “D” to the abbreviation list if they no longer wish to be identified as Trans?

      I have many thoughts on this subject, but these are my thoughts for now. I mean no disrespect and I pay careful attention to all ideas presented.

  8. Thank you, Paul. That was a very respectful comment. Just to clarify, I am a pediatric Academic Language Therapist with specialties in Autism, Dyslexia, Neuro-cogniton, and LGBTQIA+ Inclusion in Healthcare. So I am not a medical doctor but a pediatric specialty therapist. I am also finishing a Catholic lay certification in Pastoral Ministry in May.

    The reason that identifications are increasing is that scientific knowledge of human sexuality and gender are increasing. My path to affirmation clinically has nothing to do with who is sleeping in whose bed but but the Sanctity of Life and Dignity of the Human Person which are core tenets of Catholic Social Teaching. There is also participation in Family, Church and Society through other Catholic Social Teaching tenets with direction to provide science-based Pastoral care through Pope Francis’s Encyclical Amoris Lattetita and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    With that said, I do not approve of sexual behavior which does not involve life-long monogamy for those who are incapable of life-long celibacy. Most people are incapable of life-long celibacy without enduring endagering their lives and/or their health.

    So in conclusion, I don’t tell LGBTQIA people to find someone of the same-sex, nor do I force them to marry to opposite gender. I tell them to find a life-long monogamouos spouse who shares similar values since a life of promiscuity has been proven to cause devastating consequences.

    1. Then you are a heretic. Celibacy is the only option for those who are same sex attracted. If they (civilly) marry or have relations with someone of the same sex, then they will go to hell unless they repent.

      1. Matthew, I speak strictly of life, death, and humanity issues being endangered in the LGBTQ population, but you call me a heretic and stay silent. Do you have a reply? Am I still a heretic for following many Catholic Social Teaching, Encyclicals from both Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church? We are talking life and death, not whose sleeping in whose bed.

  9. Matthew, from a scientific perspective, most people who attempt life-long celibacy engender their lives and/or severely damage their health. All of the studies prove this.. So if you want to get technical with Catholic Teaching, that removes culpability for those who are medically incapable of life-long celibacy. God would not expect someone to endanger his/Her life and significantly damage his/her health, ie damage our own bodies. Unless you expect to endanger your own life or significantly harm your own health, you shouldn’t expect it for someone else. That goes against Jesus’ 2nd greatest commandment to love your neighbor as yourself.

    1. I don’t accept that the studies were done by unbiased people. Celibacy is a good and healthy state, which the Church recommends for heterosexuals and homosexuals alike. So there’s another heresy! The Church has clearly and consistently taught that celibacy is a spiritually good state, even superior to marriage (though that has been de-emphasized in more recent teaching, it can be found as recently as JPII’s pontificate). You implicitly denigrate celibate vocations and mock the virtue of chastity, and deny that God’s grace is powerful enough to overcome our weaknesses.

      1. It was also the consensus of doctors in Nazi Germany that Jews were an inferior race and that the genetically inferior should be exterminated. The fact that a medical organization advocates something doesn’t mean it’s true.

        Also, you haven’t engaged with my point about celibacy being encouraged by the Church for everyone in the vocations of priesthood and religious life.

  10. Matthew, I know from working with this population that only a small percentage are capable of life-long celibacy without it endangering their lives or seriously endangering their health which goes against the core Catholic teachings of the Sanctity of Life and the Dignity of the Human Person. The long-term call of life-long celibacy is too much of a life-crushing burden for most people. As a mental health professional, I am in alignment with most practitioners. You can disagree with the majority of us if you wish, but the majority of medical professionals think differently than you. Science doesn’t lie.

    1. Science must be interpreted through an ethical and philosophical lens. There are many times that the consensus of “science” has been wrong, either because it was politicized, or because of insufficient information. On the other hand, the Church is an infallible authority. I know which I will follow. I do disagree with you, and I think your conclusions are incompatible with the Catholic faith. I hope you repent of them and avoid the wrath of God on the day of judgment.

  11. OK, if you want to debate whether these people have the right to live and exist in decent health, then our conversation stops here. Disagreement is over things like coffee and where to attend an event, not over life, death, and humanity.

    1. You said I was free to disagree. What changed? But fortunately, you’re a ridiculous person, and I don’t give a damn what you think of me.

      1. When you call me a heretic for serving the lives and humanity of a group of people who are treated with overt bigotry, hatred, and malice, debating their right to exist is not up for debate. And a higher number of LGBTQ people are also Autistic or have another Neurodiversity. I can disagree on lots of things except The Sanctity of Life and the Dignity of the Humsn Person. Those are non-negotiable Catholic Teachings too.

      2. I don’t deny that they have dignity. I think that because they have dignity they are called to a life which is more than the pursuit of base pleasure. And same-sex relationships are the result of unnatural lust, not real love. But strictly speaking I have no proof that you are a heretic, here, only that you don’t know how to apply the Church’s moral reasoning and have a consequentialist ethic, rather than Catholic.

        The real heresy you’ve uttered is about celibacy. You say celibacy is a “life-crushing burden” for most people. This is contrary to the 24th session of the Council of Trent, which says: “If anyone says that the married state excels the state of virginity or celibacy, and that it is better and happier to be united in matrimony than to remain in virginity or celibacy, let him be anathema.” This is still the teaching of the Church: see, for instance, John Paul II’s post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata, #18, acknowledging that Christian tradition speaks of the “objective superiority of the consecrated life.” So the Church says that not only is celibacy good and spiritually fruitful, it is *better* than marriage. And the Church demands celibacy of all her bishops, of almost all priests of the Latin rite, and of all her religious and consecrated. You, by your casual dismissal of celibacy, erase the experiences of these many thousands and even millions throughout history, who experience celibacy as fruitful and life giving.

        And yes, you are in material heresy, because you deny the Church’s dogmatic teaching on celibacy, which is rooted in Scripture and in the example and teaching of Jesus Christ himself. On the rest, perhaps I can only say your reasoning is erroneous.

        I’ve not conducted myself here with charity, I recognize that. But I’m tired of being gaslighted by left-wing Catholics who think they are the Righteous who know the Real Gospel (which happens to line up with whatever is culturally progressive today), and who accuse anyone who disagrees with them of being pharisees. They are far more pharasaical than they realize. This will be my last comment here. (I’m surprised Mark hasn’t blocked me.)

  12. Matthew, if you are capable of living alone, not having your own family, never falling in love, and never having a life spouse, THEN maybe you have the right to debate this. I have been married for 28 years. I know undoubtedly that I would be suicidal or have terrible mental health if I were not married since I have Parkinson’s Disease. I suspect there is a high likelihood that you are expecting something from LGBTQ people that you would never expect of yourself. I would never expect someone to leave the Catholic Church because he/she were incapable of living a life of celibacy and isolation without serious mental health problems or significantly increasing the risk if suicide. This would not be loving my neighbor as myself.

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