About the Post

Author Information

J. PATRICK REDMOND was born and raised in southern Indiana and recently returned to his home state after sixteen years of living in South Florida and teaching for the Miami-Dade County Public School System. Presently he teaches English Composition at the University of Southern Indiana. Patrick holds a BA in English from Florida International University in Miami and an MFA in creative writing and literature from Stony Brook University in Southampton, New York. He is a contributing blogger for the Huffington Post, and his writing has appeared in the NOH8 Campaign blog, the Southampton Review, and in the Barnes & Noble Review’s Grin & Tonic. He is also the 2012 recipient of the Deborah Hecht Memorial Prize in Fiction. Some Go Hungry is his first novel, and when asked about it, Patrick says, “It’s about God, guns, gays, and green beans.” Additional information is available at jpatrickredmond.com.

‘The Third Way’: A Depressing Study in Catholic, Ex-Gay Propaganda

by Sue McGlone, guest contributor

A Catholic video claiming to give insight into the compassion of the Catholic Church for homosexuals has been produced – by a priest who believes that being gay is the equivalent to being a pedophile.

(J. Patrick Redmond’s Queer Catholics and ‘The Third Way’ in HuffPost-Gay Voices.)

The Third Way

I haven’t been a Roman Catholic for well over two decades – probably closer to the quarter century mark. On a personal level, the Church does not really affect me these days, or to be frank, interest me unless something of wider societal import crops up in the news. I’m happy to live and let live. I can see that some people, including a very small handful of lovely individuals whom I am lucky enough to call friends, derive a great sense of joy and comfort from their faith. Who am I to criticize that? However, sometimes there are much bigger issues at stake and on those occasions I have to ask myself ‘who am I to stay silent?’ particularly if the issue in question is thrown in my face. This time, my conscience is refusing to keep its mouth shut.

Over the past week, I have twice been sent a link to a new Catholic video. Once by someone who thinks the film is extremely positive, once by someone who finds it dismaying. Produced by Fr. John Hollowell, a 34-year-old, American Catholic priest, the film is called ‘The Third Way’ and explores the relationship between homosexuality and the church. The speakers are predominantly gay and lesbian people though it’s unclear by the end of the film if this is how they all now prefer to identify.

As I clicked ‘play,’ I made a conscious effort to keep an open mind. The message started to trickle through early on that these men and women were claiming to have found a sense of peace, acceptance and belonging within the church. Fantastic. ‘How positive,’ I thought. However, as I watched, bit by bit, it became very apparent that there was something much more unsavory going on in this story and the sting in the tale hit me right in the eye with all the venom I had hoped would not appear. How disappointing.

Fr. Hollowell originally planned to call his video ‘Unnatural Law.’ He obviously realized that this was not going to be the most subtle or effective hook for his target audience and swiftly changed his mind. However, it may have been a more honest title. Sadly, ‘The Third Way’ is nothing more than propaganda and like all effective propaganda it draws you in. It’s very well made, the people interviewed are engaging and seem genuine (please persevere with what I write to understand why at least some of the group may not be as genuine as you may believe) but once you push past all the emotion and apparent compassion there is a simple and distasteful message lurking beneath the surface. We accept that you are attracted to people of the same sex. As a church, we also know that acting on this attraction is intrinsically disordered. You must come to accept that too. You are suffering from a pathological condition. If you opt for a lifelong commitment to celibacy you can be happy like these people despite this flaw. If you continue to have any kind of same-sex physical relationship, your life will end in misery. We love you but there are conditions to that love. It’s your choice.

There is of course absolutely nothing wrong with making a conscious decision to live a life of celibacy – whether you are straight or gay. However, when that decision is reached from a position of deep seated self- loathing, loathing from others in respect of an aspect of your sexuality, or indeed, emotional and spiritual blackmail, in my opinion, a certain unhealthy fragility creeps into the equation.

So, who are the makers and participants of ‘The Third Way’ and how are they making the compassion that they claim to have for the gay community a reality in their lives?

Given that a core segment of the video speaks to the interviewees’ experience of suffering emotional pain at the hands of bullies who, among other things, called them offensive names, and given that each speaker called for this unjust treatment to stop, it is somewhat ironic that Fr. Hollowell should have been involved in ‘The Third Way’ at all. Fr. Hollowell makes no apology for stating his belief that homosexuality equates to pedophilia.

On January 30 2014, as ‘The Third Way’ was entering its final stage of production, Fr. Hollowell posted a music track on his blog as an angry response to American rapper Macklemore’s well known track ‘Same Love.’ ‘Same Love’ calls for a stop to homophobic attitudes and for gay equality. The track that Fr. Hollowell posted – ‘Same Love – A Response,’ was a rap that had been released by the Christian, rapper, Bizzle. There is homophobic content throughout the rap but arguably the most offensive section puts forward the case that homosexuals are not just akin to pedophiles – they are, in some ways, actually worse:

“It angers you if I compare you to a pedophile

Cuz he sick, right?

And you’re better how?

(Man, I aint chose this)

You think he chose that?

(But I was born this)

Well prove he wasn’t born that

But, you were never a girl

He was once nine

So at one time in his life, it was just fine” (Bizzle, 2014)

http://on-this-rock.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/macklemore-artistic-response.html

Fr. Hollowell was fully aware of the lyrics of the track and felt no necessity to retract his post even after a respondent challenged him by quoting the above verse back to him. It should be noted at this stage that Fr. Hollowell is not only a priest but was until recently a high school chaplain. Due to his position of power he is in a position to directly influence the attitudes of young people. This is not this first time he had tried to link homosexuality to pedophilia.

On June 24 2013, Fr. Hollowell wrote an extremely offensive and insensitive post on his blog after a poster had criticized him for spreading hatred and using his position within the community to encourage others to do the same. The poster had ended his comment by writing a line stating that the Catholic Church was not currently in a position to cast stones. Seemingly infuriated by this, Hollowell wrote:

“The inference at the end is an old and tired one – “the ‘Church’ has sinned, so it can’t say anything is wrong, etc. etc.”… but using that poor logic, given the fact that the majority of children abused were boys and young men, wouldn’t that make the abusing priests also members of the LGBQT community? Therefore, by your logic, the LGBQT community has no moral authority to say that the Church is wrong either.”

http://on-this-rock.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/a-response-to-j-patrick-redmond.html

To suggest that pedophiles, be they clerics or otherwise, are gay and that the LGBT community is by virtue of that ‘fact’ responsible for the incidents of sex abuse in the Catholic church is abhorrent. Pedophiles are pedophiles. Fr. Hollowell has an unfortunate habit of equating LGBT citizens with sexual predation.

In recent years, Fr. Hollowell has become known within anti-discrimination groups in the United States. In 2011, he was accused of trying to use his chaplaincy position at an Indianapolis high school to indoctrinate students with anti-gay attitudes and inflammatory false information about homosexuality. His activity came to light after he posted several of his teaching sessions on YouTube. There are hours of this material on the internet but there is a link to a few snippets below.

In these recordings, among many other things, Fr. Hollowell uses his interpretation of scripture as a launch pad to repeatedly refer to homosexual acts as an ‘abomination.’ He identifies a comparison between homosexuality and addictions such as alcoholism and implies that a person who identifies as gay might be aided to curb their sexual attraction by attending counseling or self helps groups akin to Alcoholics Anonymous. Fr. Hollowell claims not to be involved in so called ‘ex-gay’ or reparative therapy, where individuals are counseled to undertake a transition from homosexuality to heterosexuality. He assures the students that the Catholic Church is ‘not about that.’ I am not sure that I can be convinced that he does not condone it, given that at least several of the participants in ‘The Third Way’ work professionally (for want of a better word) in that movement. He is certainly supportive of Courage, a Catholic apostolate that runs programs to encourage homosexuals to remain celibate throughout their life as a response to their ‘addiction’ and refers to this group when talking to the young people.

Despite Fr. Hollowell’s references to alcoholism, Courage states that it does not draw such comparisons. However, whilst the apostolate rejects the notion that it is an ex-gay group, given that it does not provide ex-gay therapy, it is happy to support members to access conversion therapists on request. Courage undoubtedly shares many of the views of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuals (NARTH), which promotes the idea of homosexuality being a treatable disorder. The 2013 Courage Conference hosted two speakers affiliated with NARTH, including William Consiglio, author of ‘Homosexual No More.’ In his book, Dr. Consiglio writes that if emotional blockages are “successfully reduced, diminished or removed, human sexuality can resume its natural heterosexual flow” (1991, p.22). Unsurprisingly, the press took the presence of Courage’s speakers last year, as confirmation that the apostolate do indeed endorse conversion therapy, and the presence of Cardinal George at the event offered evidence in many people’s eyes that this endorsement also comes from church hierarchy. Dr. Consiglio’s book is officially listed as recommended reading for priests supporting those with attraction to the same sex.
http://www.priestswithcourage.org/recommendedbooks.html

As he wades further and further into blatant homophobia, Fr. Hollowell pulls statistics out of a dated study to try and stress the inability of same-sex partners to remain in monogamous, lasting relationships. Same-sex marriage and adoption are unsurprisingly presented to the class as abhorrent. Fr. Hollowell rants about the reasons that children are not safe in a same-sex family unit. His rather confused argument is probably easier for me to quote directly than to try and explain. I would hate to be accused of misquoting him. He states:

“Look, the state should not be putting adopted children with couples who are acting on their homosexual attractions. You don’t need sin for that because our society already does that. Our society already does not put people into situations where there is sex going on which that society deems to be not good. If there’s prostitution going on in the house we would pull the child out of that environment as a CPS. If porn was being filmed in a home, we would pull the child out of that environment. If sex was occurring in the home which was bondage or S & M type sexuality, the CPS would pull the child out of that environment.”

http://equalitymatters.org/blog/201103250012

You have to wonder just how much time Fr. Hollowell devotes to thinking about all the sex fueled situations that might be equivalent to the horrors of being brought up by same sex parents. Either way, the bigotry in his message is clear. People in the gay conversion movement repeatedly refer to something called ‘The Gay Lifestyle.’ In fact you will hear this phrase being used repeatedly in ‘The Third Way.’ In case you need an explanation of why lumping millions of individuals into one homogenous group is both offensive and ridiculous click here http://www.beyondexgay.com/article/exgaylifestyle.html.

In respect of trying to play his role in eradicating homosexual relationships from the face of the earth, Fr. Hollowell is certainly a man on a mission. He uses as many forums as possible to get his version of the truth out, including the production for Catholics of recordings with titles such as, ‘Secrets to Evangelizing Your “Homosexual-Agenda-Friendly” Family, Friends and Acquaintances.’ His rather warped perception of homosexuality frequently emerges in a tirade of vitriolic text on his blog. Quite often this is interspersed with material which might lead the reader to conclude that the author is suffering from some sort of persecution complex. A good example is Fr. Hollowell’s reaction to the posting of the red and pink equality symbol that went viral on Facebook last year, when the Supreme Court started its hearings on same-sex marriage. Under a copy of the symbol which he refers to as ‘the Mark of the Beast,’ Fr Hollowell writes: ‘I just want you to know that if this is your sign then you are actively supporting my persecution, torture, imprisonment, etc.’ He then goes on to suggest that if gay marriage comes to pass then there is no logical reason why society should stop itself from condoning incestuous marriages between fathers and daughters or indeed unions between beings that are not ‘PEOPLE.’ I assume by screaming the word people in capital letters he means the marriage of non-human animals marrying each other or humans marrying pigs, dogs, pet iguanas or objects. In the same blog entry, alongside these poor and rather offensive attempts at logical argument, are more familiar examples of Fr. Hollowell’s homophobia. He writes:

“Of course nothing can defend homosexual sex. When homosexual sex is described to people using proper anatomical terms, and when a discussion is had as to the fluids exchanged and so forth, most people are repulsed.”

http://on-this-rock.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/the-mark-of-beast.html

So, what we need to keep in mind is this man is the person who is sitting on the other side of the camera when the gay and lesbian interviewees in ‘The Third Way’ are talking to us. To get to the point where they are deemed appropriate for inclusion in the video the individuals have gone through a process which has led them to conclude that an aspect of their sexuality is repulsive and they are now managing any desire that they might have for an emotional and physical relationship with someone as if that desire were something that elicits disgust, and if acted upon, justifiable rejection from those they love and respect. The interviewees in the film seem happy. I am very glad for them and hope that they remain happy and at peace with their respective situations. I also hope that they will still have a support network should they have a change of heart and meet someone with whom they wish to have an intimate relationship, both physically and otherwise. Based on his various contributions and responses to gay individuals on internet forums, I would hazard a guess that Fr. Hollowell will not be sticking around for them, save perhaps throwing the occasional word at them from his pulpit to offer a reminder that they will be going to Hell.

What is truly sad, is that there is a high likelihood that most of the individuals in this video would follow Fr. Hollowell’s lead. On one level I feel for some of the interviewees, deeply. There is however a point at which it is very difficult to excuse an adult individual’s behavior just because their minds have been filled with the negativity of another. Off screen, most of the interviewees appear to be on their own homophobic crusades. This is key to understanding just why, truly unfortunately and despite any appearance to the contrary, the promise of compassion which is emphasized in ‘The Third Way,’ is based upon a pretense and why viewers should at least take time to consider what the real agenda of the producer and at least a significant number of the participants might be.

Julie Sponsler, the lady who opens the video has spoken on air about her experiences and the suffering in Hell that she believes awaits non-celibate gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people. Julie has clearly had a very difficult life marked by sexual, physical and emotional abuse as a child and adult, drug addiction and a range of other very sad events. However, like many people who have been heavily influenced by religious homophobia and / or the ‘ex- gay’ movement, she appears to have projected her personal experiences onto the lives of all gay people and has a habit of creating fantasy statistics or twisting actual statistics to suit her world view. For example, whilst being interviewed on a Catholic Talk Radio blog she stated the following as facts:

“Over 50% of gay relationships are controlling and violent and abusive.”

“You are 100 times more likely to die in a gay domestic dispute than any other.”

“Disease and cancers among homosexuals are staggering. There are literally hundreds of STDs and cancers rampant in the homosexual community that did not exist 25 years ago – many of them unknown to the heterosexual.”

“The average lifespan of a gay man is 42. The average lifespan of a lesbian is 45.”

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/forwardboldly/2013/06/09/forward-boldly-julies-story-1

Julie’s final statistic about the lifespan of homosexuals is a variant of one used by many anti-gay groups. It stems back to a single paper that was written in the late 1980s studying groups in the US and Finland and was written to aid health planners in addressing HIV prevention, infection and subsequent care. The rate of mortality due to HIV among the gay population and other groups – including heterosexuals, has significantly dropped since the mid 1990s and in any event the authors have always been horrified that their work has been abused by homophobes. See their comments here http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/30/6/1499.full.

Quoting scripture, sadly Julie also states in her radio interview that the physical injuries that she received at the hands of her partner were deserved as a direct consequence of her homosexual relationship (audio mark 16:30 – 18:28). As she was once very active within a gay church she also seems tormented by her own chances of going to Hell as an enabler of others. I have to admit, I would like to just give Julie a big hug. She is clearly not at peace at all and is hurting – but she is very much hurting others too.

Another of ‘The Third Way’ interviewees who has been accused of hurting people is Richard. Richard Cohen was permanently excluded from the American Counseling Association in 2002 after violating six of its codes of ethics. He is heavily involved in the controversial ex-gay / reparation movement through his organization, ‘The International Healing Foundation’ http://www.comingoutloved.com/ which he runs alongside Christopher Doyle who also appears in ‘The Third Way.’ Additionally, both men are strong advocates of this type of gay to straight therapy for minors. In the UK, ex – gay therapy has been condemned by all of the main counseling and psychiatric organizations. Somewhat late, The Association of Christian Counsellors added its voice to this condemnation by banning the therapy at the beginning of this year.

The damage that ‘ex-gay’ therapy has done to individuals has been well documented. There is a plethora of reputable sourced information on the internet from scholarly articles, professionals and survivors but in summary, the main consequences for many participants are increased anxiety and depression, including suicidal ideation. Gay conversion therapists have been accused by many survivors of using pseudoscientific methods to plant false memories of sexual abuse in clients. They look for abuse to prove their theory that homosexuality is caused by harmful environmental factors and, bingo, they find it. This link will take you to a Sky News report covering the debate in the state of Virginia’s general assembly, as to whether or not conversion therapy should be banned.
http://web.orange.co.uk/article/news/gay_conversion_therapy_could_be_harmful

The saddest part of this report for me is Gail Dickert’s testimony. An ‘ex-gay’ survivor, she was told as a twelve year old girl that her sexual orientation must have been caused by sexual abuse from her father. Her father died before she could tell him that she now knew that these accusations were false. She is far from an isolated case. As you will see, Christopher Doyle spoke in defense of ‘ex-gay’ therapy for minors in Virginia. The Republican heavy assembly apparently took his side. Terrifying. Gail Dickert’s feelings about the proceedings can be found on her blog. She also recounts a very interesting meeting with Christopher Doyle http://www.homospirituality.com/tag/beyond-ex-gay/. As an aside, on top of their other programs, Doyle and Cohen’s organization offers an online course, where for just $299.00 dollars members of the public, with no other training, can become a ‘Certified Sexual Orientation Coach.’ Which means exactly what and is regulated by whom? In the right environment, the ex-gay industry could be quite a lucrative one.

Desperate to reach young people with the ex-gay message and also sell more products, Doyle has also been recently accused of getting into schools by masquerading as an anti-bullying educator https://www.truthwinsout.org/blog/2012/04/24338/. His Acception programs have been pulled out of schools when it has become obvious to educators that their agenda is less about bullying than encouraging LGBT young people to seek ‘ex-gay’ counseling –http://washingtonexaminer.com/prince-georges-pulls-video-that-advocates-therapy-for-gay-teens/article/2520924. Doyle launched his Acception’program with a publicity video for schools that focuses on the harm that bullying can do to LBGT young people. The video makes no mention about his beliefs about the causes of homosexuality or how the program, once in direct contact with youth will encourage young people to look into an option of turning straight.

The propensity of Cohen and Doyle to be economical with the truth in order to make contact with groups and individuals as a means of pulling LGBT people into the ‘ex-gay’ movement is an important point. I hope that it is not lost on viewers when they try to take an objective view of ‘The Third Way.’ I have already illustrated Fr. Hollowell’s duplicity. Here is a link to an article discussing Richard Cohen’s moves to put a different slant on his own foundation.
http://fcnp.com/2013/04/17/richard-cohens-cynical-makeover/

Essentially, Cohen and Doyle along with others who champion gay to straight conversion therapy, argue that homosexuality is caused by homo-emotional wounds developed through physical, sexual or emotional abuse and/or unfulfilling heterosexual relationships in childhood and adolescence. Cohen states that he was sexually abused as a child but that these memories only surfaced once he himself was in therapy as an adult several years after marrying his current wife through the Unification Church. Before and after marrying his wife he had gay relationships.

There are so many controversies surrounding Richard Cohen’s work that it is impossible to list them all here. For example, in his books, he has been accused of trying to link homosexuality with pedophilia (Coming Out Straight, 2000 p.49). He has also stated that race can be a cause of homosexuality (Gay Children, Straight Parents, 2007 p.75). His so called ‘Holding Therapy’ has also been hotly debated. Richard is extremely proud of telling readers and viewers that he has travelled all over the world and helped thousands of people to become ‘ex-gay.’ Here is an example of how his theories are informing others http://www.truthwinsout.org/news/2013/09/37265/. In the link, there is also an interesting snippet of Cohen from a documentary about conversion therapy – ‘Chasing The Devil’ (2008).

In 2009, Cohen was accused of offering the Ugandan government homophobic ammunition which it went on to use in justification of the country’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill. This was probably through sheer idiocy rather than any deliberate plan. You can watch him try to defend himself on these points at the bottom of this link: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2009/12/08/richard-cohen-on-the-rachel-maddow-show/ – believe me, it’s worth watching. Interestingly, in his capacity as President for ‘Voice for the Voiceless’, an advocacy group for people who are ‘ex-gay,’ Christopher Doyle has recently commented that the people to blame for the brutal anti-gay laws passed in countries like Uganda, Nigeria and Russia are, wait for it…gay people – who should stop rocking the boat and presumably keep their mouths shut about having equality with heterosexuals.
http://www.voiceofthevoiceless.info/are-anti-gay-laws-created-because-of-anti-gay-countries/

The ‘ex-gay’ therapy theme of abuse being the root cause of homosexuality does of course run right through ‘The Third Way.’ You might say the interviewees have been selected to specifically emphasize the point. In fact even one of the group has stated that she was disappointed by Fr. Hollowell’s decision making in respect of this. On her blog, Melinda writes on May 2 2014:

“The Third Way” doesn’t make any outright claims about this, but it subtly advances a thesis that is deeply harmful: homosexuality is caused by poor parenting, a lack of love from the same-sex parenting, or else by sexual abuse which parents do not adequately address.

The film-makers had access to other narratives. I went to a lot of trouble to ensure that I didn’t say anything in my interview that could reasonably be construed as supporting the “bad parents = gay kid” narrative.” http://sexualauthenticity.blogspot.co.uk/

In ‘The Third Way’ Melinda and perhaps Joseph appear to be the only interviewees who are open to the fact that abuse does not automatically equal gay. However, on his blog, http://www.stevegershom.com/, Joseph Prever does direct gay readers looking for support to an ‘ex-gay’ reparative therapy organization called ‘People Can Change,’ so he clearly supports the work that they do. He suggests that young people seek out this organization on others’ websites too http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/sexuality/se0259.htm. Along with Cohen and Doyle ‘People Can Change’ have also fought against US legislation that might ban conversion therapy for minors.

Finally, we come to Jason Evert. There are other interviewees and speakers in ‘The Third Way,’ and whilst I would like to tell you a little more about each of them, I need to wrap this up. However, Jason is a special case, so you will forgive me for rattling on a little longer. If you have read this far – you’re doing well. Thanks.

As you may remember Jason Evert was at the centre of a controversy in 2010 when he came to the UK to tour Lancaster Diocesan secondary schools and other Catholic youth venues. Jason was here in his capacity as a Chastity Speaker. This subject was not however what got him into the news. His talks included the distribution of his booklet ‘Pure Manhood’ (2007). The general secretary of the TUC wrote to Michael Gove to complain that the booklet contained homophobic content. It does. Prominent Catholics and the Catholic media seemed to rally around Jason Evert and criticized the audacity of anyone to think they should have any say in Catholic education and the teaching of Catholic doctrine. However, what they all conveniently chose to omit in their commentary was the fact that Evert was not only quoting from Catholic doctrine by stating that homosexuality is ‘disordered’  but was also pedaling the homophobic narrative of gay conversion therapy regarding the cause of homosexuality and the same type of twisted homophobic statistics that Fr. Hollowell, Julie et al are so keen to poison teenage minds with. For example, these are quotes from a section in ‘Pure Manhood’ entitled ‘What if you have homosexual attractions?’

“A guy who has these attractions may not want them, or even know where they’re coming from. Perhaps they stem from an unhealthy relationship with his father, an inability to relate to other guys, or even sexual abuse. Whatever the case may be, purity will help him understand the origin of his feelings.

Every guy needs male approval as part of becoming a man. But in this need for masculine love, some guys may question their identity and try to find it in sex. But that will not satisfy their calling to make a total gift of themselves. The homosexual act is disordered, much like contraceptive sex between heterosexuals. Both acts are directed against God’s natural purpose for sex — babies and bonding.

Even if a person does not believe in God, he cannot argue with nature. For example, the life expectancy of homosexual men is half that of heterosexual men. Furthermore, imagine what would happen if all people with same-sex attractions were placed in their own country. It would be empty in a century, because bodies of the same gender are not made to receive each other. Even if a man has same-sex attractions, his body is heterosexual.”

You can read summaries of the controversy that was sparked by Jason Evert below. At the time I remember feeling horrified that all of the Catholic commentary, at least that I was aware of, seemed to be backing Evert’s right to pour vile misinformation into young people’s minds. I still find it shocking and I would have found it shocking a quarter of a century ago when I was working as a Catholic youth worker – ironically, in the Lancaster Diocese. I believe my colleagues would have been equally alarmed. Has the church really veered so far to the right over the past twenty years that the majority of its members cannot even recognize prejudice and discrimination anymore? Trying to be objective, it is one thing for a religion to defend its right to say that something is morally wrong – it is something else completely to condone hateful falsehoods to try and give weight to your moral position. Perhaps the Catholic Church believes that teenagers can be scared straight if faced with the ‘truth’ of poor life expectancy. Where were the people from within the church who should have been publicly speaking out against Evert and protecting students from, if nothing else, bad education? If you are Catholic and reading this and you did challenge aspects of Evert’s text, I apologise for my tone. Unfortunately, your voices are being drowned out by others in the Church. http://www.theguardian.com/education/2012/feb/18/anti-gay-book-gove-row

http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2012/02/23/gove-rejects-call-to-ban-catholic-booklet-from-schools/

So, why have I written this lengthy response to the distribution of ‘The Third Way.’ I’m not Catholic and I’m not gay. Is it any of my business? Well, of course bigotry is everyone’s business but I did think about my options. Criticizing the Catholic Church after you have left it often gets you the rather unimaginative label from some less open church members that you must have some kind of chip on your shoulder. A fairly patronizing, brick walled response that is worth avoiding for the sake of your own sanity. However, a casual visit to a couple of Catholic forums to see what people were saying about the video was the deciding factor for me.

Firstly, it appears that many viewers believe ‘The Third Way’ to be some sort of media milestone in proving just how real the church’s compassion to homosexual people is. That does not sit well with me for obvious reasons given the off screen attitudes and actions of the video’s participants.

Secondly, those making comments appear to be so wrapped up in giving themselves and their fellow Catholics kudos for being compassionate, that nobody has stopped to ask who those connected with the film are and what their agenda may be. To some extent I can understand why they might have been convinced, after all, surely it is just a bunch of people telling their story – isn’t it? Perhaps viewers already share the real views of Fr. Hollowell in terms of his gross homophobia. Perhaps they are unaware of the more public activities of the participants. Perhaps they are happy not to know.

Finally, the general message being passed on seems to be ‘Share this far and wide.’ The deal breaker for me was a comment that suggested that the film should perhaps be shown to young people – at which point my ‘ex-youth worker’ radar activated. Richard Cohen and Christopher Doyle do not also run ‘ex-youth worker’ therapy – it is just the way life has taken me. Nevertheless, like everyone else, I still have a responsibility to prevent young people from harm. Whether you agree with me or not – I strongly believe that ‘The Third Way’ is harmful, both in the layers of its content and its strong link to those who are involved in activities that damage people at times in their lives when they are most vulnerable.

Much has been made of Pope Francis’ ‘Who am I to judge?’ comment about homosexuals. I am yet to be convinced that the Vatican is going to make its response to homosexuality and homophobia one of substance over style. I’m keeping an open mind. Either way, my suggestion to the church hierarchy is that contributions such as ‘The Third Way’ and associations with some of its participants, will convince very few informed Catholics in the church or people outside of the church, gay or not, that a commitment to dialogue is genuine. My advice – press delete ­­­­­– and perhaps have a lengthy discussion with Fr. Hollowell.

Sue McGlone  (May 8, 2014)

 

Writer’s Bio – Based in the north of England, Sue McGlone has over twenty years experience of working with marginalized youth and defending the rights and welfare of adolescents in and leaving care. She has also worked as a freelance consultant, trainer, writer and advocate.  Having now taken a step back from this work, Sue is gradually trying to build a portfolio of young adult fiction – which she hopes that someday, someone might actually enjoy reading!

Sue has always championed opportunities for young people to express themselves creatively and believes that she also has a responsibility to spark discussion and make a difference through her own writing. She was, in part, inspired to write this piece as a result of her own memories of working with LGBT youth and after reading Carl Siciliano’s open letter to Pope Francis which pleaded for a change in Catholic teaching regarding homosexuality against the backdrop of terrible harm that it currently helps to create. 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carl-siciliano/a-plea-to-pope-francis_b_5143000.html

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50 Comments on “‘The Third Way’: A Depressing Study in Catholic, Ex-Gay Propaganda”

  1. Paul McMichael May 19, 2014 at 8:48 am #

    Sue,

    Thank you for doing the leg work on this film. I just read the Church in New Zealand is considering its use to minister to its parishioners.

    As I’m sure you will agree, this is a very bad sign.

    I engaged with the film’s Facebook page and made a lot of the same comments as you (though not as cogently and thoroughly). However I was banned from the page and comments removed within a day or so.

    It’s clear from responses to my comments within that one day, that a great many people have been taken in by the production values and smooth words.

    “Beautiful”. “I cried”. “Heartening”.

    Is Doyle even a Catholic? Surely Richard Cohen isn’t? There is enough material to condemn film this as a piece of propaganda, no less, and that anyone using the film would become tainted by the association with Doyle, Cohen and Hollowell.

    I feel very strongly about this as a Catholic myself. If you get to hear of its use in the UK, I would give up my time to protest this strongly. I think a briefing should be prepared based on a lot of the content in your post, to send to Bishops and Archbishops in the UK warning them off.

    Paul McMichael

    • Sue McGlone May 20, 2014 at 10:08 am #

      Already done Paul ;0). I had sent the above information to several people in the Church before Patrick and Terry (Queering The Church) kindly said that they would like to publish it on their blogs. However, I have since also sent it through to Cardinal Nichols and several members of the Bishops’ Conference with a short summary ( obviously it’s a bit of a long read above so I wanted to make sure the key points were impressed upon them). I think they are setting themselves up for a fall. On a practical level, Cohen, Doyle and indeed Fr. Hollowell are such loose canons – something embarrassing could easily happen and then the Church would have to justify the film all over again. You know that The Core Issues Trust are plugging it on their homepage? Uncomfortable.

      Whilst I don’t intend to chase Fr. Hollowell all around the world re his ‘world domination’ plan (I don’t know if you’ve seen any of his videos on youtube – e.g. The church strikes back!), as NZ was the first country where it came out as news, I also sent info through to news stations, Terry Easton (who has been interviewed) and a couple of others who were quoted in articles. I hope they find it useful should they need it. I have had a response. I wrote to the Church hierarchy in NZ as well. A letter of complaint was also sent to Fr. Hollowell’s Archbishop. I am pretty tenacious in situations like this – I don’t like hypocrites, bullies or bigots. However, we will have to see if anything else is needed. I might take a break from the negative world of Fr. H and go and relax for a bit!

      As you say, it is frustrating that people have been taken in. I am trying to maintain charitable thoughts towards some though as genuinely, I just don’t think they get it.

      I don’t know if Doyle is Catholic. The situation with Cohen is a bit of an odd one re his past Moonie connections as they still seem to be claiming him as one of their own but he says not.

    • chuck thomas July 24, 2015 at 2:20 pm #

      I side with you. There are many citations in medical and psychological literature that GayNess is not a mental illness and not a sickness of any kind. It is inherently a part of the individual’s nature at birth. This seems to defuse the Catholic rhetoric somewhat and expose it as hatemongering. The worst part is that the Church assumes wrongheadedly that all gay people are abused, depressed, maladjusted, incompetent, dependent, self loathing individuals and the church was just what was needed to “fix” them. This outlook is patently false. Look at the gay people who are successful, accomplished and happy without the Church’s “intervention”. Look what a fool Michelle Bachmann and her husband made of themselves during her presidential run by trying to reform gays. If you are, like the institutional church, arguing a point from the bed rock of falsehood, aren’t you violating the Cathechism number 1789 which says you may not perform evil with the expectation that good will result (?) May the force be with you. It will require courage!

      • Philip July 24, 2015 at 5:25 pm #

        Hi Chuck–

        In the end, why a person is attracted to someone of the same sex does not matter if we are coming at this issue from a Catholic point of view. For example–it doesn’t matter if a person is born with a disposition to alcoholism or develops it during their lifetime. The abuse of alcohol would still be detrimental to a person’s flourishing. (It wouldn’t matter if there was an “alcohol gene” either.)

        The reason why the Catholic church does not support homosexual *actions and/or lifestyle* is she understands that they are detrimental to a persons true flourishing. The Church holds her position out of love and care for a person’s true flourishing.

        So if a person doesn’t agree with the Church’s teaching it is ultimately because they must argue that homosexual actions/lifestyle is not intrinsically harmful to the people taking part in it.

        In other words, the Church holds her position out of love of those that struggle with same-sex attraction!

  2. John Vargas May 19, 2014 at 11:50 am #

    Thank you for this very well written and researched article. I have forwarded it to a gentleman who I met recently that just sent me the link to this movie. While I know his intentions were good, speaking to him made me realize how awful it is that he embraces this message. I also feel he is so sad and torn inside. It hurts me to see.

    • Sue McGlone May 20, 2014 at 10:23 am #

      Thanks John
      I hope that the information helps your friend and that he is in any event able to find peace. I do think that the positive reception of the film amongst some Catholics is down to a mixture of misguided good intentions on the part of some. With others it’s just a case of good old fashioned homophobia and an absolute determination to cling to, in my opinion, questionable church doctrine. This film gives them permission to do that and feel good about that choice.

      • chuck thomas July 24, 2015 at 2:29 pm #

        Well said. The film indeed provides justification for Catholics to embrace non-Christian attitudes and not letting the facts get in the way of good old fashioned bigotry. It is sad that to be an observant Catholic sometimes forces you to rub elbows with people who thrive spiritually on being misled and encouraged to bash people in “irregular” circumstances (a polite way of saying the practice of homophobia). We are supposed to be the body of Christ. This is no way to go about it.

  3. Jeramy May 20, 2014 at 10:24 pm #

    Thank you for this truthful article. For the past 3 years or so I have felt that I’ve been battling Fr Hollowell on my own. On his YouTube channel I left a few comments in 2012 and the few responses I got back from him seemed to be coming from an 12 yr old spoiled child rather than a 30 yr old priest. He was sarcastic, disrespectful (even though my comments were always respectful ), and constantly threatened me and others of “blocking us” if we left more than one comment. As a lifelong Catholic, I could hardly believe this was coming from a priest.

    Thank you for making me feel less alone in exposing this priest and his horrific lies. I have lost many nights of sleep in the past because of this man, feeling helpless to do anything to stop him.

    I will pray that somehow , someway he will be stopped for I fear of the countless number of LGBT lives that will be negatively effected by his message. I am especially concerned about vulnerable, innocent teens who may already been subjected to bullying in school and thus feel unworthy of respect.

    The sorrow I feel is deep….thank you for giving me some comfort and hope with this article.

    • Sue McGlone May 21, 2014 at 6:32 am #

      You’re very welcome Jeramy. I do find it a little bizarre that none of his superiors have ever taken him to one side to tell him to cool it.Involvement in this story has unfortunately left me with a bit of a negative perception of what the state of Catholicism must be like in the USA today. I am sure however there must be lots great people like yourself, no doubt living out their faith in a quiet, genuine way!

      If it’s any consolation, in my experience as an advocate for young people, bullies and hypocrites often appear to be winning a ‘battle’ here and there – but somewhere down the line things fall apart for them.

      When I wrote to Fr.H’s archbishop, after highlighting all the problems above, I briefly told him the story of a fantastic priest from my youth,Fr. Pat Duffy. Pat was a truly humble, warm individual. He never wanted to be the centre of attention but he was nevertheless very close to the centre of a great many people’s lives. Like the rest of us, I guess he wasn’t perfect but his words and actions never left any of us in any doubt that he had been blessed with a gift of communicating God’s love to others. I suspect that the Catholic Church could do with a few more Pats these days. Unfortunately, he is no longer with us, so I can’t ask him what he makes of Fr.Hollowell’s antics. I think he might be very sad. Knowing Pat, he would probably be telling me to pray for him – I can’t believe that Fr. Hollowell is a very happy man! Prayer does not feature too heavily in my life these days – so I may have to put that in the capable hands of others.

      However, what I would ask, is that if there are any Catholics out there who have concerns about this film, please pass this information on, either in discussion or by sharing the link – and make your concerns known to your bishop / archbishop.

      Take care Jeramy.

  4. Jeramy May 20, 2014 at 10:30 pm #

    Thank you for this truthful article. For the past 3 years or so I have felt that I’ve been battling Fr Hollowell on my own. On his YouTube channel I left a few comments in 2012 and the few responses I got back from him seemed to be coming from a 12 yr old spoiled child rather than a 30 yr old priest. He was sarcastic, disrespectful (even though my comments were always respectful ), and constantly threatened me and others of “blocking us” if we left more than one comment. As a lifelong Catholic, I could hardly believe this was coming from a priest.

    Thank you for making me feel less alone in exposing this priest and his horrific lies. I have lost many nights of sleep in the past because of this man, feeling helpless to do anything to stop him.

    I will pray that somehow , someway he will be stopped for I fear of the countless number of LGBT lives that will be negatively effected by his message. I am especially concerned about vulnerable, innocent teens who may already been subjected to bullying in school and thus feel unworthy of respect.

    The sorrow I feel is deep….thank you for giving me some comfort and hope with this article.

  5. tb May 21, 2014 at 4:15 pm #

    I appreciate all the work you’ve done researching this article, especially contacting the NZ press. It’s obviously not gone unnoticed to the people promoting this film. Fr. Hollowell made a huge error by including Richard Cohen in this film. Anyone watching objectively will dismiss his work as just another attempt at “reparitive therapy”. Which, honestly, is all this is. Been there, done that.

    • Sue McGlone May 21, 2014 at 6:00 pm #

      I saw it being advertised on a couple of Australian parish websites a couple of days ago. It’s been taken off. Hoping that’s a good sign.

  6. Philip May 22, 2014 at 3:18 pm #

    What a breath of fresh air this interview documentary is!

    I’ve read a handful of reviews and commentaries on this and it is interesting how intolerant of differing viewpoints many in mainstream media are–when they are supposedly espousing “tolerance”. The extremes are always where we get ourselves into trouble and we must truly strive for the middle way–the “third way”.

    We must also show respect towards the men and women that took part in the interviews of this film. They laid it all out there and we can only imagine how much courage that must have taken. God bless them and may all who took part in this film and are affected by it be drawn ever more closer into the mystery of our Creator!

    • tb May 22, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

      Philip, while everyone deserves respect and compassion, the word tolerance has never meant that we should stop thinking critically at what is being shown to us. These people participated in a documentary and were featured as examples for others to follow. They participated understanding this. Do you think it was by chance that the majority of those in the documentary had traumatic upbringings, and the documentary focused on that trauma extensively? Do you think that they filmed them telling their stories is crumbling buildings because they thought it might look pretty? Weren’t these people portrayed as lost, tortured and pathetic the whole point? They are saying that gays are broken, but the Catholic Church is soo great! Don’t believe me? Why didn’t Fr Hollowell interview happy gay couples with stable jobs and kids? Why didn’t he let them tell their stories of a not perfect, but completely average, happy life? What’s more important, why didn’t they discuss potential impact of following “The Third Way” on established same sex families, especially those with kids. Where can we find the mystery of Christ in divorce court, foreclosure and child visitation agreements? “The Third Way”? No thanks!

      “One of the major themes that this documentary wanted to show was that one should not “loathe” them self for being attracted to persons of the same sex. Neither should we loathe someone for being attracted to someone of the same-sex. All persons should be shown authentic love.”

      Here is another major issue with the documentary. Fr. Hollowell, as explained in the article” has major bigotry problems. He has compared homosexuals to pedophiles and the gay rights movement the “mark of the beast”. If that is not loathing, I dont know what is.

      • Philip June 1, 2014 at 9:03 pm #

        Hey TB,

        “Do you think it was by chance that the majority of those in the documentary had traumatic upbringings, and the documentary focused on that trauma extensively? Do you think that they filmed them telling their stories is crumbling buildings because they thought it might look pretty? Weren’t these people portrayed as lost, tortured and pathetic the whole point”

        I think you are hitting upon a very important point–and I think you are exactly correct–though I wouldn’t agree with the conclusion that is presented. The more general point of this documentary is that we are all broken, not just those that experience same-sex attraction, and we are all seeking true love, peace, and joy.

        The more specific point is that not only is this documentary looking to present correct Catholic teaching on this subject–i.e., that those attracted to persons of the same sex are to be treated with the same love and compassion that all persons deserve–but I also do believe you are exactly correct that this documentary is speaking most directly to those that experience same-sex attraction and feel lost and are seeking authentic love.

        The Church most definitely holds that authentic love is not to be found in sexual relations outside of the bond of marriage of a husband and wife–and I find this to be most life-giving and freeing, both from experience and from reasoning through the teachings.

        “Here is another major issue with the documentary. Fr. Hollowell, as explained in the article” has major bigotry problems. He has compared homosexuals to pedophiles and the gay rights movement the “mark of the beast”. If that is not loathing, I dont know what is.”

        I do not think there is a need to argue about whether or not Fr. Hollowell is a bigot, simply because I don’t think it is ultimately relevant. In other words, the argument; if Fr. Hollowell is a bigot, then the Church’s teaching on homosexuality is wrong is a not a good argument. That is the reason I haven’t addressed the second part of this article because it is not relevant to the discussion of the life-giving teachings of the Church.

        The documentary does not propose that those that are attracted to persons of same-sex should loathe them self, and this doesn’t change no matter what we say about Fr. Hollowell. In other words, I am personally not that interested in criticizing or praising Fr. Hollowell as I don’t know much about him.

  7. Philip May 22, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

    I wanted to comment more directly on the first part of your article, instead of a more general comment from earlier.

    However, when that decision is reached from a position of deep seated self- loathing, loathing from others in respect of an aspect of your sexuality, or indeed, emotional and spiritual blackmail, in my opinion, a certain unhealthy fragility creeps into the equation.

    One of the major themes that this documentary wanted to show was that one should not “loathe” them self for being attracted to persons of the same sex. Neither should we loathe someone for being attracted to someone of the same-sex. All persons should be shown authentic love.

    As you probably picked out, the main thesis is that authentic love, freedom, peace and joy is ultimately not to be found in acting out sexually on this same-sex attraction. Never does it say that one should loathe or suppress their sexuality. Just the opposite–we should use our sexuality properly and that will begin to lead us to the true joy and peace we are desiring, no matter if we are attracted to persons of the same or opposite sex.

    We know very well that we have many desires that we should not act upon, and the Church simply claims that we should not act out upon a homosexual desire. Never do we claim that these people are “bad people”. We are called to judge actions and ideas, not persons. When Pope Francis said, “Who am I to judge” he was speaking of the latter, not on the fact of homosexual actions. It is a beautiful message because it calls us to something higher where we love all persons but not all actions and ideas.

    • Philip May 22, 2014 at 3:44 pm #

      Moderator–it didn’t take my quote tag (the second paragraph above) if you would kindly add that, and then you can delete this comment it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    • Sue McGlone May 22, 2014 at 6:47 pm #

      Thank’s for your comments Philip. It does feel that either you haven’t read most of what I wrote or alternately, you don’t accept that any of the individuals have done anything to concern you. You have not commented on any of the evidenced points I raised so I do not know how they made you feel. It’s clear we have very different views on homosexuality. Nothing I write here will bridge that gap. If we met in real life I am sure we would have an interesting chat!

      A couple of points….
      Regarding respect and tolerance – I do reserve the right to feel intolerant and have little respect for people who persistently harm people. I do not for example have any respect for Richard Cohen and Christopher Doyle’s foundation and their various other dubious projects. I believe that it is very wrong to take money from individuals and offer them a crackpot ‘cure’ for something that they do not need healing from in the first place. At one point even Exodus disowned Richard Cohen’s methods as harmful. I am assuming that you know about Exodus, if not, Google them. Here is a link to the statement that they made about Cohen (at bottom but you might like to read the rest too) http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2007/11/27/ex-gay-history-richard-cohens-2000-exodus-conference-presentation/

      As I mentioned above, in some ways I do feel deeply for some of the people in the video – and do you know, I would even extend that in part to Cohen and Doyle. At some point in their lives, someone has made them feel that they have a cross to bear, an affliction (there you go you see, that is where you and I will never agree). The problem is, as adults we have to take responsibility for the crosses that we throw on other people’s shoulders. I can respect the participants as human beings of course – but I cannot respect the wounds they are inflicting on others. I am not going to re-write my entire blog so, I’m afraid you will have to go through it again if you do not understand what I mean by that last sentence.

      Regarding your point about courage….the majority of those interviewed are well used to telling their story in public – in fact Richard Cohen and Christopher Doyle have made a living out of it. Melinda has been on TV, gives talks, has written a book and has a blog. Joseph writes about his life on a blog and I believe, though I’m willing to be corrected, does some public speaking. David has written articles about his experience – I’m not sure if he has done anything else. Again, they are all adults. I suspect I am sounding like a much harder hearted person that I actually am – but you have to understand that from my perspective they were not taking part in some noble project.

      Authentic love… it annoys me a little when people seem to think that those who do not to conform to their religious beliefs have no concept of what it means to love authentically. Intimacy and affection is of course not just about sex – in fact sometimes, even a lot of the time, it is nothing about sex. You don’t have to be a member of any given religion to comprehend that – or indeed any religion. I once knew a couple who had been together for 40 years. Aged 70ish one of the couple was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. His partner nursed him through his sickness and sat by him as he died. Do you know what – those two men had possibly the most authentic love for each other most people had ever witnessed.

      • Philip June 1, 2014 at 10:07 pm #

        Hey Sue,

        Thank you for your comments and for taking the time to write this article!

        As you might have noticed in my original “off the cuff comments”, I didn’t focus on the bulk of your article, which deals with Fr. Hollowell, because whether or not one likes or dislikes Fr. Hollowell and his past actions that doesn’t change whether the Church is right/wrong in Her teachings on same-sex attraction (which I thought the documentary did a good job of presenting).

        I think my main criticism of the article would be that the title “A Depressing Study in Catholic, Ex-gay Propaganda” doesn’t really fit the content, which does focus on Fr. Hollowell and not how “depressing” the content of “The Third Way” is. In fact I found, as well as others did, The Third Way to be uplifting because it looked to get past all the bickering of the “far left” and “far right” and really pave a middle “Third Way” that focuses on the deepest desires of the human heart–to truly love and be loved truly.

        ————

        On love:

        Now as you mention, what love is is very much a discussion that is beneath the surface of these main discussions. What the documentary looked to show is that sex does not equal love/intimacy and one does not *need* physical intimacy to be happy; one does not *need* to be in a “romantic relationship” to be loved. I am myself discerning lifelong celibacy at this moment, so I can vouch for this from experience. And in the end, it doesn’t matter if I am attracted to men or women, or both. (This connects directly to Pope Francis’ “Who am I to judge” comment.) I personally desire to continue to integrate my sexuality so as to use it according to the nature of the human person, because when we use our sexuality properly that is when we find the most complete and true inner peace and joy.

        Love is willing the good of the other, as other. From this we can see that to love another it is necessary to know what the good of the other actually is. This means we need to take time to reason through what the truth of reality actually is. We are lucky to have 2000 years of intellectual musings of those associated with the Church to get us started, but we must reason through it ourselves and come to understand just what and why the Church says what She does.

        Are these teachings hard; without a doubt! Does that mean that it is not worth doing, of course not. One of my favorite lines was when David stated, “I used to think I was a ‘gay man’.” I really do abhor this type of “label”. As if this person was able to be reduced to her/his sexuality and being attracted to the same sex. I have many friends, 2 of them are very close friends, that are attracted to persons of the same sex. But they are not “gay men”. They are wonderful and beautiful human persons made in the image and likeness of our Creator. They deserve authentic love just as you and I do–but whether authentic love is to be found in physical homosexual relations, that is where we must be clear that it is not found there; just as it is not found in sex outside of the committed relationship of marriage of a man and woman.

        As you may have gathered, I completely agree with you on your last paragraph on authentic love. The main idea is simply that authentic love is not to be found in physical homosexual relations–which is why it is very possible that the two men you mentioned had some of the most authentic love for one another and others.

        ———

        On a commitment to dialogue:

        To wrap this up, I want to comment on the idea of “a commitment to dialogue”. The modern Church may be more open to dialogue than ever in Her history. Now this doesn’t mean that there are ways that we could be open in an even greater way. But being “open to dialogue” does not equate with agreeing with what the other says. Sometimes it seems that the only way that others will see the Church as being “open-minded” and “open to dialogue” is if She hears and then agrees with what the other has to say. Obviously this is not correct, as I am very open to dialogue, and open to rational discussion, but we shouldn’t promise that we will change our views. We should only change our views when the other side has presented the truth of reality, which is always the truly rational point of view. We need to have the humility to spot truth in another person’s words even if it surrounded by a great many other falsity’s and vice-versa.

        ~Philip

  8. Sue McGlone May 22, 2014 at 7:10 pm #

    Philip, here is a post written by a gay Catholic on his blog – you may (or not) find it interesting. It also links to a post titled ‘Two Popes and a Cardinal Agree’ – which looks at things from a more theological position. Regards.

    http://queeringthechurch.com/2014/05/19/celibacy-and-gay-catholics-ex-gay-ministry-and-a-genuine-viable-third-way/

    • Philip June 1, 2014 at 10:42 pm #

      Thank you Sue for this link! I was able to read through it and just had a few short comments.

      Though I would not be quick to say that all persons who are attracted to persons of the same-sex are exactly like that from birth, I would say that many do feel a “natural attraction” towards those of the same-sex from youth. I am more of the view that attraction to both same and opposite sex is more like a peacock feather–there is no one size fits all. That is one reason I love the teaching of the Catholic Church because it says no matter what your attractions are we can all reason through and discover how to properly use and integrate these attractions.

      I also agree that these therapies for “de-gaying” need to be looked at with scrutiny. From “The Third Way” it seemed to be promoting the fact that we should not be trying to fight these attractions but rather that acting on the homosexual attractions is not the only option. One should neither try and “de-gay” nor should one act on homosexual attractions–there is a third way.

      —–

      On celibacy:

      I thought that the discussion of celibacy being hard was good. As I mentioned in my above comment, I am currently in the process of discerning celibacy. I can tell you it is not easy, but is worth it and completely life-giving.

      I also agree that celibacy should not be forced on anyone. But the Church does not force celibacy on anyone, including those attracted to persons of the same-sex. The author’s main thesis seems to be that because those with heterosexual attraction have an outlet (marriage) if one does not freely choose celibacy, that because those with homosexual attraction don’t have this option they are somehow “forced” by the Church to live a celibate life.

      It seems that there is always some confusion with this since to be celibate simply means to not be married. It doesn’t mean to “not have sex”. (Obviously within Church teaching if you are not married you should not be having sex. But to be celibate simply means to not be married.)

      So maybe a better way to state this is that the Church invites people with same-sex attraction to live a chaste life (i.e., not having sex). The Church does not force anyone to not have sex. Sure, it invites those that are not married to do so. In the end, all this simply follows the grounding principle of Catholic sexual teaching that one of the two main ends of sex is potential for procreation. If the potential for procreation has been taken away our sexuality is not being used how it was designed.

      Again none of this is easy. I have been in good discussion with many of my friends who experience attraction to those of the same-sex and really trying to discuss how we truly love them without having to agree with everything that they might hold.

      • Sue McGlone June 2, 2014 at 7:36 pm #

        I would have to disagree with you regarding the definition of celibate. All dictionary definitions that I have ever come across will offer at least the following two meanings: 1. A person who is unmarried (especially one who has taken a religious vow or promise of chastity) 2. abstaining from sexual intercourse. In reality, as things stand people who are gay are very much called to fulfil both definitions.

        Of course the Church cannot, as you say, physically ‘force’ someone to be celibate – unless it assigns them a 24 hr, close proximity bodyguard for the rest of their lives. However, the RC ‘invitation’ to be celibate as a homosexual comes along with a frightening consequence for refusal i.e. if you do not take up this invitation you are, if you choose to believe many conservative Catholics, pretty much damned. That’s a big psychological weight to carry around. Additionally, on this earth, by entering a relationship you may be rejected by your family and support network. Having worked with a number of homeless young gay people from religious backgrounds, who were rejected by families specifically because of their homosexuality, sometimes just for being gay, sometimes for being in a relationship, I can tell you that the pressure and fear involved in these situations is immense.

        So, things like ‘force’ and choice have to be considered against a back drop of a whole range of factors. It is possible for individuals, communities and institutions to pressure people to believe, do and be all sorts of things in a myriad of ways. Of course ultimately, many individuals might be able to disentangle themselves from all of this and I am not suggesting that everyone who chooses a celibate life does so because they are unable to think for themselves and are therefore doomed to misery. Far from it. I do not dispute that some people, gay or straight, choose this way of life and are genuinely happy. I would be the first to stand up and defend their decision.

        However, they are not the people I am worried about. The people that I am concerned for are those who find themselves locked in a cycle of repression and some level of self-hatred, who deny themselves exploring the possibility of a life that might be more appropriate for them – because consciously or subconsciously, they do not believe they have a choice. I am then concerned about the baggage that they may subsequently tip onto the next person in line who is grappling with their own sexual identity and so on – and so on…

        My personal view is of course that there is a choice, people can use their conscience, study, reflect and perhaps conclude that the Church may in fact be wrong. It has been wrong on various social issues before and has historically come to accept this – albeit with a considerable passage of time in between. I know it is very uncomfortable for conservative Catholics to accept that many Catholics (gay and straight) are very much at peace with the conclusions they have drawn on this issue. Unfortunately, some might be at peace with their conclusions but not with the hostility around them so they walk away from their religion (notice I did not say faith). I also know that some people think that people who do not accept Church doctrine on homosexuality, do so out of convenience i.e. you cannot pick and choose. However, I think that without thorough debate, saying this is a bit of a cop out and an avoidance strategy. Fear blinds people. This applies to both sides of the debate of course.

        Anyway, as I am writing this from a non Catholic position – people think that it’s very funny that I have found myself talking about Catholicism so much over the past few weeks given that I have managed to avoid it for so long –here’s a YouTube link that you might find useful at some point in the future. It’s a video of two Catholic, gay men speaking at Boston College, I believe earlier this year. The topic is ‘Homosexuality in a Catholic Context.’ The second speaker, Andrew Sullivan gives an excellent presentation which represents many of my thoughts on the issue plus a great deal more. It’s a very long video in total but he starts speaking just after 37.19. The other speaker, David Morrison has already spoken by this point – he is living as a celibate. I’ll try and briefly answer your other post tomorrow. Regards.

      • Philip June 2, 2014 at 8:49 pm #

        Hey Sue,

        I agree with you 100% about how tough these issues are. As you mention, there are psychological issues of not being accepted, which ultimately is a damned lie the Evil One tries to persuade us of, since as a matter of fact we are all infinitely loved and accepted by God. Now of course this is easier said than truly realized and understood (even for myself up until about a year ago). I can tell you that once this love is experienced things that don’t really matter start to fall away.

        What makes this so tough is I cannot see a way of rationally holding that homosexual actions are in line with how human sexuality is meant to be used. Many times emotional arguments are put forward, since this is a very emotional issue, and we should be aware of that. But we are rational beings, we should allow reason to guide our desires, emotions and feelings. Not every emotion, desire, and feeling should be acted upon.

        The Church’s position, and the “Third Way”, try to present a response to your middle paragraphs. The Church says, you are infinitely loved. If you are searching for peace and joy, come home to the Church where Christ resides in the Blessed Sacrament. Those who experience same-sex attraction and are searching for something more in their life need this invitation from the Church. The Church won’t force you, but we must invite all to come drink from the well-spring of living water that She contains.

        I will tell you that if the Church ever changed her stance on homosexual actions, she would also have to change her stance on masturbation, artificial contraception, pre-marital sex, and same-sex marriage. Rationally, it is all or nothing on these issues. They stand or fall together. (Which is why modern society is very accepting, and even promotes most of these, where the Church is the exact opposite.) The lynchpin issue is whether or not human sexuality is actually oriented, and should be oriented, towards procreation or not.

        But because these are tough issues, I really enjoy having discussions with friends of mine that are of good will and that are attracted to persons of the same sex so as to see their point of view on this.

        ——
        On the definition of celibacy–that was more to point out that sometimes people can be using different definitions of it. I would agree completely that sometimes people use it just in the first way, meaning “unmarried”, while others may use it simply to mean “not having sex”. I wanted to just point out that normally when the Church uses the word they simply mean “unmarried”. In other words, a “celibate” priest could be having sex. He would be an “unchaste celibate”.

      • Sue McGlone June 2, 2014 at 7:42 pm #

        Here’s the link Philip. Forgot to attach it below –

      • Sue McGlone June 3, 2014 at 9:22 am #

        Hi Philip
        OK – so just to finish off our discussion – a few points… I am going to merge comments in response to a couple of your last posts into one post here.
        Re your need to approach the subject from a place of rationality as opposed to being swept up in emotion, I agree with you. I think that in the March 2014 video that I posted below, Andrew Sullivan gives a very precise, logical argument against the Church’s position – so I will refer you back to that. By the way by March 2014 I mean of course that this is when it was loaded not the date of the event – but I am sure Sullivan would present a very similar if he was asked the same questions today. Towards the end of the video Sullivan also gives a bit of an argument from the point of biology in terms of how we have very disproportionate responses to what is taken as ‘normal’ bodily functions only when the issue of sex is involved.

        You have noted on a few posts that the beliefs and behaviours of Fr. Hollowell and other Third Way participants are irrelevant to the integrity of the documentary’s message. I do not see the logic in your argument. Of course, none of us can live up to an ideal 100% of the time. However, that is very different from having and repeatedly expressing extreme views or actively engaging in activities that are harmful. If you want to show that an aspect of an institution’s ethos is genuine e.g. compassion – you cannot expect others to easily accept the suggested truth of that message if it is presented through the filter of individuals who in reality reject a commitment to actual compassion whilst paying lip service to the idea. If a political party produced a broadcast to illustrate their commitment to anti-racist policies and strategies but chose to be represented by a production crew who off screen were renowned for deeply racist behaviour – nobody would take that party seriously and the public would quite rightly see the broadcast as an insult to their intelligence. They would see the broadcast as a message built on lies. It is illogical to treat faith institutions any differently. In fact, I think Jesus would be the first to call them out on their hypocrisy. I won’t quote bible verses at you. Fr. Hollowell and some of the participants do not unfortunately represent a tiny minority – these views are rampant throughout conservative Catholics. It is therefore very relevant to expose these views and activities.

        Regarding the content of the article in terms of its title…
        You are right in the sense that I could have spent more time talking in fine detail about how different specific elements of the film amounted to propaganda techniques. For example, I could have talked about how the imagery of depressed young people walking through bleak, ruinous buildings was used as a metaphor for the misery that people who are gay will inevitably experience (according to conservative Catholicism and ex-gay narrative). I could have talked about representations of masculine stereotypes e.g. David talking about the impact of being involved in sports and being shown how to throw a ball properly. The ex-gay narrative depends heavily on the notion of what constitutes correct masculine and feminine behaviour and Courage certainly emphasize this in some of the activities it organizes. I could have touched on the use of emotional surges of music as the documentary reached its conclusion and almost turned into a recruitment video i.e. if you are gay the Catholic Church is where you should be!

        We are never going to agree on the content of the video but the bottom line is that from my view point and that of many others, it is propaganda because it attempts to show the Catholic Church as something that it is not and also uses a small group of people and a factually unsupported narrative to try and present a view of gay people that is harmful. That is depressing. I would have more respect if the documentary had lasted 10 mins, had outlined the Church’s doctrine and made a clear statement to say ‘so viewers, this is what we believe…we will tolerate you if you are gay on the understanding that you know that there is something objectively wrong about your very being. If you choose to live in a relationship as a gay person – get lost, we are not interested. Take the third way or take the highway’ That is what it boils down to in the end and that would be a much more honest statement.

        The Church’s constant observations that imply somehow that people who operate outside of its doctrines do not understand the full meaning of intimacy comes from a rather patronizing perception of the world and a position of disconnect with real lives. Telling the vast majority of gay or straight people, people of faith and people of no faith, who have had any type of meaningful relationship, that complete intimacy is not built on sex, is like announcing to them that grass is green. Sex is however one important element of most paired relationships at some point- though it’s level of importance may fluctuate tremendously.

        We absolutely do agree on one thing Philip – people are much more than their sexuality. There will come a time when the world will stop being so obsessed with labels. I look forward to that day. I wish you well in your personal journey and have enjoyed our discussions. All the best.

  9. Gabriel May 24, 2014 at 10:48 am #

    I am a gay Catholic myself, and blog a good deal on the subject (Mudblood Catholic is the name). I saw part of The Third Way, but my computer kirked out before I could finish it, and it had left a sufficiently bad taste in my mouth that I didn’t particularly feel like hunting it down and watching the rest. From what I saw, I can agree with some of the criticisms here.

    However, I’m also a personal friend of both Melinda Selmys and Joseph Prever, and I feel that you’ve jumped to conclusions with respect to the latter. It’s true that he has gotten a good deal, personally, out of a number of sources that are either explicitly ex-gay or associated with the movement, People Can Change being one of them. Be that as it may, it does bear saying that he doesn’t support ex-gay therapies; moreover, I think there is a great leap involved between “He has a link to such and such on his blog” and “He clearly supports them.” There are a number of links on my own blog, for example, that I have up because I think them helpful and interesting in some important ways, but I don’t know that I could give an unqualified endorsement to most of what’s in my RSS feed. Both as a friend of his who cares about his reputation, and as a gay Catholic who both accepts the Church’s teaching and also wholly repudiates ex-gay therapies, it’s of considerable importance to me that we not be painted with a broad brush.

  10. Sue McGlone May 24, 2014 at 2:20 pm #

    Hi Gabriel – thanks for your comments. I am sorry if you feel that Joseph has been misrepresented.

    At the end of Joseph’s article that I link to above, he states: ‘If you are looking for a good place to start — for yourself or someone you know, or just because you want to understand the whole thing better — I recommend browsing around People Can Change and Courage.’ Joseph obviously feels comfortable with this recommendation. He does not say – these organsiations believe x & y – but here are others who completely disagree with their beliefs and methods – look at them both and make your own mind up.

    On his blog (put in a search for People Can Change) he states:

    ‘there are therapists and organizations out there who have a balanced view of the issue. I think People Can Change is one of them.’

    The above feels very much to me that he is saying that PCC are credible.

    He goes on to say:

    ‘Their broad-stroke narrative about the genesis of homosexuality still seems true in my case, even though I no longer hold out hope for the kind of change they used to talk about. I still think my love for men has a sizeable chunk of misplaced desire for paternal affection, even if it’s not fashionable to talk that way anymore. And I still don’t have any problem with calling homosexuality fundamentally disordered ‘

    He explains what PCanC offer….

    They, and the healing weekend they run, focus on dealing with what they see as the root causes of SSA: isolation, father-hunger, shame, rejection.
    So, seriously, check them out! I don’t like everything about them, but take a look and see what resonates.’

    So, it is true to say that he perhaps does not like everything about PCanC but he does seem pretty much on board with their general narrative re the ‘genesis’ of homosexuality. From other reading, his reservations about PCanC seem to be about some of the type of activities not their aim.

    He does say:
    ‘I’m profoundly grateful both to Medinger and to People Can Change. I believe that they both blessed and damaged me. But I still think the former has been deeper and more permanent than the latter.’

    When I was doing my research I could not find out precisely what Joseph meant by ‘damage’ but he clearly felt the good outweighed the bad. He also says on his blog that when people were coming forward to comment on the harm that ex-gay therapy had caused them (around the time of Alan Chambers apology ) he certainly did not dismiss what they said but he found it ‘hard to take them seriously.’

    I hope this helps you to understand my perception of Joseph’s views. I’ve obviously looked round his blog a lot. He seems like a nice enough guy. I suspect he would not condone some of Fr. Hollowell’s rhetoric. However, he did agree to take part in the film. Perhaps he was badly advised. However, finding background on Fr. Hollowell is not difficult. I took no great pleasure in checking these facts out. I would have preferred to find nothing – believe me. I do however feel that I have been careful to be truthful. All the best.

  11. Sue McGlone May 24, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

    Hi Gabriel – thanks for your comments. I am sorry if you feel that Joseph has been misrepresented.

    At the end of Joseph’s article that I link to above, he states: ‘If you are looking for a good place to start — for yourself or someone you know, or just because you want to understand the whole thing better — I recommend browsing around People Can Change and Courage.’ Joseph obviously feels comfortable with this recommendation. He does not say – these organsiations believe x & y – but here are others who completely disagree with their beliefs and methods – look at them both and make your own mind up.

    On his blog (put in a search for People Can Change) he states:

    ‘there are therapists and organizations out there who have a balanced view of the issue. I think People Can Change is one of them.’

    The above feels very much to me that he is saying that PCC are credible.

    He goes on to say:

    ‘Their broad-stroke narrative about the genesis of homosexuality still seems true in my case, even though I no longer hold out hope for the kind of change they used to talk about. I still think my love for men has a sizeable chunk of misplaced desire for paternal affection, even if it’s not fashionable to talk that way anymore. And I still don’t have any problem with calling homosexuality fundamentally disordered ‘

    He explains what PCanC offer….

    They, and the healing weekend they run, focus on dealing with what they see as the root causes of SSA: isolation, father-hunger, shame, rejection.
    So, seriously, check them out! I don’t like everything about them, but take a look and see what resonates.’

    So, it is true to say that he perhaps does not like everything about PCanC but he does seem pretty much on board with their general narrative re the ‘genesis’ of homosexuality. From other reading, his reservations about PCanC seem to be about some of the type of activities not their aim.

    He does say:
    ‘I’m profoundly grateful both to Medinger and to People Can Change. I believe that they both blessed and damaged me. But I still think the former has been deeper and more permanent than the latter.’

    When I was doing my research I could not find out precisely what Joseph meant by ‘damage’ but he clearly felt the good outweighed the bad. He also says on his blog that when people were coming forward to comment on the harm that ex-gay therapy had caused them (around the time of Alan Chambers apology ) he certainly did not dismiss what they said but he could ‘not quite take them seriously either.’

    He does offer a link to People Can Change on top of the above.

    I hope this helps you to understand my perception of Joseph’s views. I’ve obviously looked round his blog a lot. He seems like a nice enough guy. I suspect he would not condone some of Fr. Hollowell’s rhetoric. However, he did agree to take part in the film. Perhaps he was badly advised. However, finding background on Fr. Hollowell is not difficult. I took no great pleasure in checking these facts out. I would have preferred to find nothing – believe me. I do however feel that I have been careful to be truthful. All the best.

    • Sue McGlone May 25, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

      Just to be absolutely clear… my last post appeared twice. I had tried to edit it but hit the post button too quickly. So – to be clear about my last quote from Joseph, what he says in his blog entry titled ‘Strange Gate is: …’when more and more people spoke out about how badly they had been hurt by it, I didn’t ignore them, exactly, but I didn’t quite take them seriously, either.’ He is referring to ex-gay therapy.

  12. Nick May 25, 2014 at 11:35 am #

    Dear Sue, thank you very much for your interesting and respectful comments. Personally I must say, I liked the film very much. In my opinion, the problem behind this are two entirely different pont of views on sexuality. In the pont of view of the “sexual Revolution” the main goal of sexuality is often considered of having pleasure. On the contrary in a biological/”darwinistic” but also in a catholic point of view, the main goal of sexuality is giving birth to new life, and secondly to strenghten the love between the parents, so that there may be a good, stable familiy for the children. (What sounds sometimes not very romantic, until you have had your own children 😉 ). So while it is completely possible to experience pleasure as well with a partner of the same as with a partner of the opposite sex on the biological/catholic point of view, homosexual sex will miss it’s greatest goal.
    So this is the catholic teaching, witch has been the same for 2000 years and is not going to change. – No man on earth, not even the pope has the power to change catholic doctrine.
    But this movie could give hope to believing catholics with same sex attraction by showing to them that it is possible to lead a happy life in celibacy too. It pointet out that love and not sex is the goal of live, wich I think is very important. But further it can also help heterosexual catholics to understand, that homosexuals are people with feelings, who can deeply suffer from negative reactions and bullying by other people. As a catholic, you should detest the sin, but love the sinner. This has often been forgotten when it came to homosexuality.
    Concerning Fr. Hollowell and other participants you criticised: please remember, that being catholic or even being e preast does not automatically make you holy, and that even the holiest peolpe make mistakes and commit sins. But even if there have been some bad remarks by these people in “real life”, I think the content of the film fortunately is not affectet by it.
    God bless you! (And please forgive my bad english)

    • tb May 25, 2014 at 2:27 pm #

      The sexual complimentary argument has been frequently used and debunked repeatedly in court. The fact that the Catholic Church has a double standard with the infertile or the elderly getting married proves that this really is not the issue against gay marriage. Would you feel differently if gays could have kids? Because guess what, they do. There are tens of thousands of children being raised in same sex families. With all due respect, this argument does not stand up to the slightest scrutiny.

      • Philip June 1, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

        Hey tb,

        I think you are mistaken when addressing the seeming “double standard” of elderly or infertile couples.

        The Church *does not* teach that to be actually married you need to actually conceive a child.

        Rather two persons must simply be able to take part in the physical act that could lead to procreation. The couple has no direct control over whether or not an egg actually becomes fertilized. The couple does have control of the physical act that could lead to conception. That is why an elderly couple and infertile couple can be validly married, but a same-sex couple could never be validly married simply from the fact that the couple cannot physical take part in the act that could lead to procreation.

        Any way that a same-sex couple would become pregnant, say through technology and such, would only be trying to mimic the act of sexual intercourse and would not a true expression of physical intimacy. In the end, it is very obvious that there is an objective difference between a opposite sex and same-sex couple. The fact is that many are starting to believe that the difference doesn’t really matter.

    • Sue McGlone May 25, 2014 at 7:26 pm #

      Hi Nick – I’m going to answer this in two different posts – so part 2 will be below somewhere.

      Thanks for your thoughts. Your English is great by the way.

      Taking your last point first, I think we may have to agree to disagree. I do feel that the actions / words of some of the participants have compromised the integrity of the film.

      As you say, we are all capable of making mistakes, hurting people etc (or if you prefer, committing sins). However, we all also have the option of trying to take responsibility so that hopefully we can move forward in the hope of doing less harm. Right now, I personally do not believe that many of those involved in the documentary accept that they are harming people. Certainly not Fr. Hollowell, Cohen and Doyle.

      I’ve written enough about the latter two to underline the harm they do year in and out. Having read through and watched a lot (too much to be honest) of Fr. Hollowell’s material, I have come to the conclusion that he is desperate for people to oppose him because it feeds into his persecution complex. The more people he hurts and gets a reaction from, the bigger a medal he can pin to his shirt for being a martyr. He is constantly setting himself up in an adversarial role to try and create imaginary enemies. It gives him a rush. I saw him being interviewed on something called Church Militant TV last night. The whole programme consisted of 3 guys discussing how civilization was falling apart and how the big, bad world was out to get them / Catholics. People like you and I cannot sit down and have rational conversations and work at building understanding when those guys are building their little walls left right & centre. That may sound like a personal attack on Fr. Hollowell – but don’t worry – he can give a lot worse.

      Re doctrine… I am not a theologian so I am going to leave this one alone although I do know that several theologians over the years have put forward arguments for how doctrine can change legitimately without the Church imploding. This does not mean of course that the Church (i.e. the people) would want to re-evaluate what currently exists.

      I’ll add Part 2 of this post below.

    • Sue McGlone May 25, 2014 at 7:43 pm #

      Hi Nick – so here is Part 2

      On to your point about ‘homosexual sex missing its greatest goal’i.e. giving birth to new life…So, you point out that the purpose of sex is to:

      1.lead to the birth of new life and
      2 strengthen the love between the parents, so that there may be a good, stable familiy for the children.

      I understand the argument and Church doctrine. The problem is that I find it difficult to accept it on grounds of logic if nothing else. For example, I have been in a committed, monogamous relationship for 27 years. I have a severe form of a disease (I won’t bore you with the details) which means that I am unable to have children. This illness started, we now think ,when I was aged approximately 13 and worsened over time. As it happens, much later on, we discovered that my partner’s fertility was also compromised. A perfect match ;-)!

      Now, that’s O.K. It’s not great – of course we would have loved children but few of us can have everything we want in life. (I know that Fr. Hollowell et al think that the rest of the world do not understand this concept and think we are all off having completely hedonistic existences! ) However, it does mean that we will never achieve the ‘greatest goal’ as defined by the Church. Someone reading this is now going to shout ‘Adoption!’ You’ll have to take my word for it that this was not possible for good reasons. Both of us have had careers off and on, health permitting, working very hard with/for young people – something we were doing long before we knew for sure that we could not have children. You could argue that our relationship has strengthened us to give the stability you refer to, in some sense, to those young people in wider society. I certainly think we did a better job because of the support we gave each other. However, our jobs did not demand either of us to be heterosexual. I do not see how our relationship ( according to Church logic) is any different from a gay relationship in the sense that we are also biologically incapable of procreating – even if we had split up and found other partners.

      That said, the only possible argument that the Church could have left for differentiating between my relationship and that of a gay couple is that it just ‘personally’ finds the whole idea of two people of the same sex being intimate, well, a bit yucky. But of course an enormous number of people, both gay & straight do not share this view and it is not a very robust argument on its own. We could all point to things around us that we don’t personally understand and say we didn’t want them to happen. I do have many other arguments as to why I do not believe one type of intimacy (gay / straight) is of any less value than the other – but that’s one. Hope that helps you understand my view. Thanks again. Regards.

  13. Greg Reitzel May 31, 2014 at 11:07 pm #

    Hello Sue, You will be in my prayers.

    • Sue McGlone June 1, 2014 at 12:32 pm #

      Hello Greg – well, I’m not sure why you think I qualify in particular for your prayers…. but I never turn a good intention down – so, thanks.

      While you are praying though, might I ask you to spare a prayer for the growing number of teachers and others in Catholic schools across the States, who are currently losing their jobs because of who they are.

      Also, pray for those teachers and staff who are not gay but are resigning after refusing to sign employment contracts that essentially call for them to condemn and reject their friends, colleagues and family members. Good teachers teach with their heart – and like a famous carpenter’s son – by example. These people certainly deserve your prayers and our respect. All the best.

  14. Michelle July 16, 2014 at 12:48 am #

    Hi, Thankyou for this article.
    I’m not Catholic and I have never been Catholic but I came across this video from my fiance father. She and her family have not been speaking for years but recently started to exchange emails, during which she told them she was engaged to a girl. Well anyway her father sent her a link to this movie and encouraged us to watch it with an open mind. Anyway she is really pissed off now and probably back to not speaking to them. I however am just mindblown that this sort of stuff exists. Does this work on people? Anyway I am not usually very articulate and I went looking to see what other people thought of this and I found your article very enlightening. I read all of it and I hope more peopel find and read this, since I think it is important to see behind the scenes of propaganda such as this. Anyway, thanks for posting such a well thought out and interesting response.

    • Sue McGlone August 6, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

      Hi – Thanks for your comment. I really hope that your fiance and her family can reach an understanding. Unfortunately this type of media presentation does work on some people but I genuinely believe that deep down a significant percentage of Catholics (certainly in the UK which is where I am) have a much more positive view of homosexuality. Hopefully people within the Church will become a little more outspoken about presenting this view. I do know Catholics who are extremely frustrated by media presentations like this. So, there is certainly hope that things could change.

  15. Sam July 16, 2014 at 1:50 am #

    Thank you for this review.

    I am a queer person who was raised in a strict Catholic household. Growing up, all I knew about gay people was that we should pray for them and put them on the path to purity, or they would go to hell. I was given books by Jason Evert as a young teenager, and all sorts of literature of a similar nature, stressing chastity. I went to youth groups that hammered in the same message, and had my mom discuss chastity with me on a regular basis once I hit puberty. I was given a purity ring to wear, and was told I should be courted in a relationship by a good Catholic boy, not date. And that was even before I came out to my parents! You can imagine the emotional wreck a teenager is when they feel that both God and their parents are disgusted by them. There were so many expectations for me to fulfill, and so many sacrifices to make to get into Heaven. All I needed to do, every day, for the rest of my life, was be a submissive wife and mother, or a single person who dies a virgin. A pretty dismal set of options.

    I moved out and stopped speaking to my parents as soon as I had the chance. They recently emailed me, and I chose to respond, hoping that we could have a more open diologue. Unfortunately, before I could do much more than tell them that I am now engaged to a woman, they sent me “The Third Way”. I already knew that chastity was an option, and I seriously considered it in the past, and tried it for a while. But it really isn’t an option that leads to peace. It just brings internal torment, self hatred, and regret about what could have been. It upsets me that they are trying to make suppressing your sexuality sound like the perfect cure for the woes in your life. In my experience, it is the opposite.

    Everyone who sees that video needs to know how harmful its message is.

    • Sue McGlone August 6, 2014 at 6:17 pm #

      Hi Sam – Thanks for sharing your story. I think it’s really important for people to hear about the impact that these attitudes and beliefs have on young people growing up – and into their adulthood.

      I’m sorry to hear that things have not, so far, moved forward in a more positive way with your parents. I hope that at some point in the future your relationships can improve. Until then, as you know – all you can do is be who you are. It must be very difficult.

      Congratulations on your engagement! Take care.

  16. Gerte August 5, 2014 at 7:33 pm #

    Excellent detail and analysis–thanks. I wish every movie review went this deep. I’m wondering if you’ve seen another new Catholic gay-themed ‘documentary,’ Desire Under the Everlasting Elms, and what you might think of it.

    • Sue McGlone August 6, 2014 at 6:20 pm #

      Hi Gerte – thanks. No, I have not seen that documentary. I’ll have to check it out.

      • bill t August 6, 2014 at 9:02 pm #

        Small correction, that video is titled Desire of the Everlasting Hills. Yes it is new and Catholic sponsored, and sounds similar. I too would enjoy your take on it.

  17. Shawn March 7, 2015 at 6:39 pm #

    I just discovered your blog. I am really impressed with your writing and I am bookmarking it. I particularly like this very thorough takedown of the weirdly obsessed Fr. Hollowell. However, there is one error in your post concerning life expectancy, that I wanted to bring to your attention, . Even though this post is 10 months old, the error concerns a particularly vile lie that is told over and over by folks like Hollowell, and I think it is important for there to be a minimum of confusion on this.

    There is no legitimate study showing gay life expectancy at 42 or lesbian life expectancy at 45. The study you linked to is a legitimate medical study published in a peer reviewed journal, but it does not say that gay life expectancy is 42 or 45. The study was published in 1997, not the 1980s. It did not cover lesbians. It has no relation to Finland, although an anti-gay group in Finland attempted to use it as a justification for denying gay couples legal recognition.

    The study focused on the life expectancy of gay men in one large city in Canada, Vancouver. Because the study was conducted at the peak of the AIDS epidemic, in a large city (where infection rates are double the national average), and just prior to the approval of effective antiretroviral drugs, mortality was exceedingly high. In these adverse conditions, the study found that gay men in Vancouver could be expected to die 8 to 20 years earlier than heterosexual men. That places their life expectancy at 54-66. Not 42. And again, not for all gay men, only those in this large Canadian city with a high HIV infection. Subsequently, the authors published a letter (which you linked to above), in which they noted that shortly after the publication of their study, antiretroviral drugs were approved and AIDS-related mortality plummeted. Thus, they concluded, life expectancy would have increased substantially. The bottom line: unless you are having a discussion of gay male mortality in large cities in the mid 1990s, it is wrong to cite this study.

    Hollowell most likely got the 42/45 figures from Paul Cameron, a bizarre Christian anti-gay activist who runs the “Family Research Institute” in Colorado, of which he and his son are the sole employees. Cameron has spent much of his adult life churning out bogus “studies” to be used against gay people. His most infamous study dates to the 1980s and involved life expectancy. That where the 42 figure probably came from. The study itself is a joke. He basically looked at obituaries published in The Advocate (a gay magazine with a readership of men in their 30s-50s) and averaged the ages of the deceased, which amazingly matched the demographic of The Advocate’s readership. He performed a similar exercise for lesbians and came up with a similarly ridiculous result. There’s a huge amount of information on the internet on Cameron, on his lack of ethics, on his forced resignation from the APA, and on his bogus “studies.”

    It is worth noting that Cameron himself no longer uses his own concocted figures for gay life expectancy. He now generally refers to gays “dying 20 years earlier” – which is most likely a sort of vague reference to the most extreme end of the life expectancy range set forth in the 1997 Vancouver study. So not only is Fr. Hollowell likely relying on a sham study, but he is doing so long after the author of the sham has abandoned it.

    • Sue McGlone April 28, 2015 at 4:15 am #

      Hi Shawn
      I haven’t visited this page for months – so it’s lucky I spotted your comment today. Well, you are absolutely right – and absolutely right to point this out to me. Grrr, I hate making mistakes – doesn’t happen too often, honestly ;-).

      I just dusted off my notes from last year and it appears that I have made a note of Cameron and the FRI in the margin against the Canadian study but somehow mangled the 2 etc. Not good, but there you are…. I must have had a brain fade when writing that paragraph. I had also noted that Cameron has been listed as an anti LGBT activist by The Southern Poverty Law Center among other things. Nice guy!

      I cannot edit the article here myself but I will mention it to J.Patrick Redmond. However, at this stage I may keep the edit pretty simple whilst just straightening out the main error. Thanks again.

  18. Jeramy May 5, 2015 at 12:41 am #

    Hi Sue,

    I wrote you in May, 2014 and here I am again a year later. John Hollowell is still on his path of lies and has no intention of stopping. In fact, he’s planning a second film about marriage, complete with images of gay pride parades and same sex couples . This time John Hollowell and Blackstone Films are trying to raise a million for this new film called “In Defense of Marriage . Take a look …………….. http://www.blackstonefilms.org/marriage/

    Jeramy

    • Sue McGlone May 8, 2015 at 11:34 am #

      Hi Jeramy,
      Yes, I came across the new fundraising drive a few weeks back. I think that Blackstone Films are taking the main lead on this one – though Fr H is certainly promoting it for them on various forums etc and encouraging people to dig deep. We’ll have to see if the sequel – ‘Return of The Homophobes’ 😉 actually comes off or not. The trailer they are using is all very dramatic isn’t it? They truly believe that the mere existence of people who do not conform to their belief system equates to some sort of persecution or martyrdom on their part. It’s a shame that Blackstone and Fr H aren’t putting the same effort into raising funds for homeless LGBT teenagers – or if they prefer, communities round the world, including, among others, their fellow Christians, who actually are being persecuted and even killed for personal beliefs. Sadly, individuals like Fr H and are too busy sulking at not getting their own way to get to grips with notions of perspective :-). Take care.

      • Jeramy May 11, 2015 at 6:14 pm #

        Sue,

        I think Fr H is much to concerned with “homosexual sex” to care about an insignificant thing like homeless people.

        I just saw that he wrote this on his blog:

        “When homosexual sex is described to people using proper anatomical terms, and when a discussion is had as to the fluids exchanged and so forth, most people are repulsed.”

        “heterosexual sex described does not repulse people on anything like the same level that homosexual sex does.”

        “there are some bodily fluids involved in male homosexual sex that are not involved in heterosexual sex.”

        Unless I’ve been naive and completely uninformed all my life about the behavior one should expect from a Catholic priest , this completely shocked me when I read it. It reeks of homophobic bigotry and is extremely vile. Not to mention , untrue. Without getting too graphic, I believe the sort of sexual behavior he refers to isn’t exclusive to homosexuals. Heterosexuals are also known to have ventured into the same “anatomical” area gay people have. Is it possible he’s not aware of this? 😮

        Questions…questions…

        I’m starting to believe the guy has a secret side to him than we know nothing about. I also question how he can get away with saying things like this and still be a priest? Do his superiors know about this and don’t care?

        …the questions just never end !

        Jeramy

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Queer Catholics and 'The Third Way' | Pride & Equality Post - May 16, 2014

    […] For additional information and research read ‘The Third Way’: A Depressing Study in Catholic, Ex-Gay Therapy […]

  2. A Review of The Third Way | A Queer Calling - June 2, 2014

    […] the film highlights the “emptiness” found in the gay community. We’ve seen many reviewers focus on the apparent disconnect between unconditional love and “We can’t embrace […]

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