Some time ago, a friend recommended I check out the video below as a possible tool for reaching out to Catholics who have a hard time understanding, accepting, or living the Church’s teachings on same-sex attraction. I am embarrassed to say it has been many months, but it was again brought to my attention this week. The film, entitled The Third Way: Homosexuality and the Catholic Church, is a little less than 40 minutes long and includes personal testimonies of Catholics who have struggled with same-sex attraction, both outside of the Church and its teachings and now, answering the call of chastity from within the Church — as well as several of the Church’s most popular “New Evangelizers.” It is, in my opinion, definitely worth viewing and sharing.
In a few places I wish the speakers had been more precise in their language, but on balance, I think this is a great example of what the New Evangelization, done well, can yield: a well produced and powerful articulation of the Church’s actual teachings on one of the more divisive topics of our current time that calls all of us to a charity and chastity, and to expect more from ourselves. I think this video could be a great conversation starter with those who struggle with same-sex-attraction, with those who misunderstand or misapply the Church’s teachings, and for anyone who wants to progress in holiness by loving as God loves.
Of course, it doesn’t take Google more than a second or two to return plenty of criticism of the video and its message. Not everyone agrees that we are created in God’s image, or that sexuality has a God-given purpose and beauty. Not everyone agrees that chastity or celibacy are achievable (or even how these terms are defined). But most striking to me in the criticism I read was the insulting and patronizing language toward those who have left the “gay lifestyle” to live chastely — using terms like “self-loathing” and “spiritual blackmail,” as though no one in their right and healthy mind could reach the same conclusions.
There are people this message won’t reach — including both practicing homosexuals and heterosexuals who have no problem speaking out against homosexuality, but use contraception, or indulge in pornography, or any number of other disordered acts. And a video like this won’t change minds or win souls by itself. But it could be a start, at least, as the woman who opens the video says later in her interview, for those who want the Truth and won’t be satisfied with “nice lies.” What do you think?