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Pastoral Care of "Homosexuals" - Printable Version

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Pastoral Care of "Homosexuals" - Mark Fletcher - 22-01-2007 04:50 PM

I've just finished reading H. H. Pope Shenouda III's lecture on Homosexuality. I thought it was superb. As I am someone struggling with homosexual tendencies, I wondered if there were any Coptic or other Orthodox materials available for free download which might be of use to me, to think about or pray with. Are there any Orthodox book titles on this which anyone might know of or recommend?

How refreshing it is to read a Christian Leader "telling it like it is"! If any other members of the Fellowship have any useful tips or suggestions, then don't be shy!

Pope Shenouda mentions three men who were fornicators before becoming saints. They repented and were corrected through the Holy Spirit: Saint Augustine, Saint Moses the Black and Saint Pelagia. He says that there are many others who fall into this category.

Do members of the Fellowship have any suggestions as to a good Patron Saint for someone seeking to repent and overcome homosexual tendencies?


Pastoral care - John Charmley - 22-01-2007 10:14 PM

Dear Mark,

I'm glad you liked Pope Shenouda's book. There is some useful advice at
<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://www.mycopticchurch.com/articles/read.asp?f=lessons/GeorgeBassilios/Chastity_and_Sexual_Purity.html">http://www.mycopticchurch.com/articles/ ... urity.html</a><!-- m -->,

Fr. Thomas Hopko's, Christian Faith & Same Sex Attraction, is also useful. It may be available via Amazon, but can also be found at this site
<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://www.svspress.com/product_info.php?cPath=43_9&products_id=2866">http://www.svspress.com/product_info.ph ... ts_id=2866</a><!-- m -->

One of our priests will, I am sure, have good advice for you in private, but it is good to remember that Orthodox Christianity is not condemning the individual, just the sin, and that it is not just focussing on homosexuality in isolation; fornication, adultery, lustful behaviour, all these too are sinful - but He who died for our sins offers us the road to salvation; and that is the Good News for us all.

We are called to repentence and to newness of life in Christ; we are all sinners - were we not, He would not have died for us; he who says he is without sin fools only himself. What matters is not that we have sinned, but that we can repent and mend our ways. Of course, being what we are, we will fail again and again - but the more we live in Him, the less that will happen.

It is, in the real sense of that over-used word, awesome that He should have died for me - and for you.

In Christ,

John


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Thanks - Mark Fletcher - 06-03-2007 10:59 AM

Many thanks for your book suggestion. I have sent off for this from Dover Library this morning. As it is outside Kent, it may take longer to arrive, but I'm sure that it will be worth the wait, in spite of it being only a slim volume. I also printed off the other item you mentioned in your posting which is really just a one-page diagram.

Thanks again for your kindness and concern. It's much appreciated.


Coptic Orthodox View - Mark Fletcher - 06-03-2007 06:19 PM

The following essay on the Coptic Orthodox View of Homosexuality by Fr. M. Mikhail D. MIN is most interesting:
http://www.coptic.net/articles/OnHomosexuality.txt
I think it rather justifies my belief that there is a real need for sincere repentance rather than just assenting to the correctness of the Coptic Orthodox Church's view and not honestly and fully repenting.


Pope Shenouda III - Mark Fletcher - 06-03-2007 06:40 PM

I also see that His Holiness Pope Shenouda III has written a very fine book entitled The Life of Repentance and Purity which I will try to download or purchase at some stage:
http://www.copticpope.org/books/Repentan.pdf


Care - John Charmley - 09-03-2007 07:55 AM

Dear Mark,

I hope that you find the book and the article of assistance.

It is as well to bear in mind the cultural differences in terms of the way the language is used. Egyptians tend to adopt what we might consider a 'judgemental' tone on these matters; we might, of course, think that is entirely appropriate; but given the different linguistic sensibilities in our society here, we might also find the language a little off-putting. I am glad you have read it in the right sense, as the article (and the book) offer excellent advice.

It is a terrible shame that the media focuses on this issue as though Christianity did not equally condemn adultery, fornication and lust outside of marriage; personally I await the 'Adulterous Church movement'. The whole point is that we are God's children and He advises us what is healthy for us - and the indiscriminate indulgence of our carnal passions is not good for us - or for those round us. Whether those passions direct us towards a member of the same sex or the husband or wife of someone else, or to exploit any other human being for sexual purposes, is surely irrelevant? All are equally wrong.

The homosexual who claims he or she was 'born that way' is no different from the heterosexual male who claims he can't help sleeping with lots of women because 'I'm made that way'; all equally glory in their sin; they both transgress Divine Law; they both do damage to their own souls and those of others.

We are called to repentance and amendment of life; God does not offer 'exeats' because 'you can't help it', or because 'I was born that way.'
God knows our nature, our true nature, and He sent His only-begotten Son into the world so that we might, through His body and His blood. realise our true nature. Through Grace and Works, and through the Sacraments, we have the promise of Salvation - but we have to work at it.

How odd mankind can be. Its members are happy to pay a fortune to train their bodies in a gym, or to be able to pamper them by flying to pleasure resorts in far-flung parts of the world; but ask us to put some work in on our spiritual welfare and we're 'too busy'.

The Church as gymnasium for the soul? Not a bad analogy to accompany my usual one about it as a hospital for the sick at heart.

In Christ,

John


Thanks - Mark Fletcher - 09-03-2007 12:44 PM

Thanks for your posting, John, which contains the usual wisdom and insight. I strongly agree with what you have written.


- Simon - 10-03-2007 11:32 PM

As I can think of nothing to add to John's postings I will content myself with an AMEN


Indeed. - Mark Fletcher - 11-03-2007 06:18 AM

Yes, indeed. Amen and amen. Thanks for that.


Re: Care - mourad - 07-10-2007 04:57 AM

John Charmley Wrote:The homosexual who claims he or she was 'born that way' is no different from the heterosexual male who claims he can't help sleeping with lots of women because 'I'm made that way'; all equally glory in their sin; they both transgress Divine Law; they both do damage to their own souls and those of others.

We are called to repentance and amendment of life; God does not offer 'exeats' because 'you can't help it', or because 'I was born that way.'
God knows our nature, our true nature, and He sent His only-begotten Son into the world so th
John

If I may humbly add to the Mr. Charmley's statement a short one from Fr. John Anthony McGuckin: Speaking of St. Cyril's Christology: how The Incarnate God experiences all other human factors:

Quote: Like the other Fathers, Cyril excludes the the experience of sin from Jesus, something which he sees as not essentially "human" in any case, merely a perversion of true humanity.

I find it cause for much joy and hope that sin was not a part of God's plan for us. In that it is comforting, when sometimes losing hope while pondering over my many sins, to bring back to mind that to which I was called: a humanity refelcting the Image and Likeness of The Godhead, fully alive, and that, in the measure of abundunce which Our Lord provides.