“Coming Out” To Rick Santorum

I am constantly amazed at the mercy of God, and how He answers prayers in totally unexpected ways. Earlier this week I learned that Rick Santorum, who as many of you know is running for President of the United States, was going to be making a pre-Caucus stop today in Minnesota (MN).  He also made one last week. In both cases, Santorum fan that I am, I was a bit frustrated as they were each on two opposite ends of my fine state, and would have required a 6-8 hour round trip drive, with no guarantee of even shaking his hand once I arrived.

But I have had a message for him that I wished to deliver, and have several times prayed for some way to share it, whether by email, voice mail, or in person.  I wanted him to know that  he was not alone in his support for traditional marriage values, and also that there were some if not many of us from SSA (same-sex attraction) backgrounds who had come to agree with his stands.  Incidentally in the interest of full disclosure, I did not always do so, even after returning to the Church.  I hurt very much for my actively LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) friends and family who simply want to be left alone and to live and love as they choose.  And many within that community feel exactly that, sincerely wondering why the Church is making such a fuss over it. As a result, a message such as Rick brings can at times appear to be harsh and unyielding, and therefore many stop then and there, listening no further to him or others with his views, no matter how kindly they are expressed.  I do get that.

But I also get the fact that the unraveling of marriage, not just in the same-gender realm but also within opposite-gender couples who cohabitate (or, as is the newer trend, continue to maintain their own residences while carrying on with semi-permanent relationships that supply none or at least very little of the full committment and stability marriage is meant to bring) is utterly and progressively destructive to our already fragile society. The looming crisis is larger and more insidious than we realize.

Same-sex “marriage” is, in practical terms, just another step in that redefinition process which has gone on for years now, pretty much since the sexual revolution of the 1960s, and we have now more than an entire generation who has grown up without  fully realizing the import and need for a father and mother within each home.  For these and many other reasons, not the least of which is my commitment to the Lord through the Roman Catholic Church and her core beliefs on the family and marriage, I have come to strongly support the concept of “one man and one woman.” Rather than prejudice enshrined in law as some think, it is meant as a protection for those who choose the narrower path. And Senator Rick and others who promote this view have made it clear that they do not wish to eliminate the basic rights of any couple, married or not.  But they want “pride of place” reserved for traditional marriages. It is not unreasonable in reality.

Back to Rick–I found out yesterday, thanks at least indirectly to my good friend Michael Blissenbach, a young 20-something Catholic warrior from the Twin Cities who blogs at http://bbachsbeat.com/author/mpblissenbach/ and is tirelessly fighting for both marriage and Santorum as well, that an extra stop was going to be made before our Minnesota Caucus this week, and that it would be only 30 minutes from my home. Earlier in the week he had told me about the stop today in Bemidji, MN, and I realized that somehow I was not “in the loop” as I had not heard about it. So, due to this chat with Michael, I had emailed and joined “Team Santorum” and found out via their email about this additional surprise event only yesterday. So again thanks Michael and also to Team Santorum MN!

Thus this morning I was privileged to briefly speak with Senator Santorum, and to shake his hand. I want to word-paint the scene a bit so you will know why it was so much a “God event” in my view.  First of all I woke up late.  The church service he was attending, which was held at Grace Church in Eden Prairie, MN, was to be at 9:30 AM.  My goal was to arrive an hour early and hopefully get a seat at least. Instead I woke up at 8:30 as I had not been feeling good due to some new diabetic meds I am taking. Plus (and this is no doubt the SSA side of me speaking now) my hair looked really, really bad!!!  All of the reasons not to go were looming, and besides I didn’t have a ghost of a chance to actually meet him, right?

Not exactly…and I will just say this next point to us all, me included.  When that many things go wrong or seem to be obstacles, it means one of two things:  you should either “can the plan” or go for it anyway with full trust that the God of the impossible is right there with you.  And the discernment of which to do can be difficult when both sets of voices are looming readily. And they certainly were to my sleep-weary head this morning. In any case I smashed down my hair as best it would smash, put on my best “Santorum looking” sweater, and was out of my apartment in 15 short minutes. That in itself would probably qualify as a miracle of sorts, but that was only the beginning. When I arrived at Grace, with 10 minutes to spare in fact, and no speeding I might add, I found a seat in the 9th row of the middle section of the huge sanctuary, which I am guessing holds 1500 people or close at least. “Not bad,” I thought. “At least I will see him clearly.”  By now I was getting excited. Would I somehow, someway, actually meet the man? He was scheduled to speak early, and then had to fly out quickly to his next stop in Bemidji MN where the Santorum sweater vests are being made proudly in the USA and our lovely state. So I expected him to be quickly escorted out after his talk and then that would be that. Still at least I was there, and getting pumped.

I had an aisle seat, and when he entered from the side he was placed in the front row of the same section I was in. Good sign. When he was done, numerous people got up to leave, going out through the same entrance he came in from, assuming no doubt that it would be the best way to perhaps catch him when he made his final mad dash.

Now I have been to enough large events to know that he was not likely to leave by the same door where he had entered, especially if his time was limited and it was to the extreme. So I hung tight and kept my eyes open.  His entourage seemingly left, but he quietly remained seated. And it was offering time so only the ushers were moving.  After hesitating for at least 1.5 seconds my course was clear. I simply got up, walked those 9 rows to that stage area, and suddenly I was standing, bad hair and all, in front of our humble and heroic Presidential candidate.

Santorum Drops By Iowa State Fair
Image by Talk Radio News Service via Flickr

What happened next was the most important moment, and the reason I believe I was there today.  I looked at him, he shook my hand (with a vice-grip grasp), and I said “I just want you to know that I am SAME-SEX ATTRACTED (and yes I nearly yelled it, as the music in Grace is not overly quiet even during the Offertory) and that I am living for God through the Church.  I support you all the way.” That was all I said or needed to say. The hand grip never ceased, in fact it may have been a bit tighter, and he simply looked at me intently and softly said “thank you.”  Maybe it was the light or perhaps just the look on his face, but I knew that my words were somehow needed and meant to be said at that exact moment  as a personal encouragement to him. If he was not “tearing up” he seemed very close to it. I pretty much doubt he gets 10 people a week from my background who personally tell him that they are standing squarely on his side. And he definitely hears constantly from those who do not, or who even hate him for it.

But God in His Mercy allowed me to impact, just a little, the good and honorable Senator from Pennsylvania who loves God and all people very obviously.  And I doubt he will remember my bad hair. I doubt too that I will ever forget this Super Bowl Sunday, regardless of who wins, or this coming election either for that matter. And lastly, I plan to stump for him at the MN Caucus this Tuesday.  I hope, if you are reading this and from MN, you will join me, whoever you are supporting. We need to be involved during this crucial time in our history.

Blessed Sunday to you all!

LATE BREAKING ADDED TREAT!!!  HERE IS THE VIDEO IN ITS ENTIRETY FROM THIS MORNING’S SERVICE AT GRACE CHURCH.  THEY DID IT IN THE STYLE OF AN INTERVIEW, AND KEPT IT SUFFICIENTLY NON-PARTISAN SO THAT IT IN NO WAY WOULD VIOLATE ANY CHURCH ENDORSEMENT REGULATIONS OR LAWS.   AT THE END WE ALL PRAYED FOR HIM TOGETHER AS WELL. THE WHOLE VIDEO IS AROUND 8 MINUTES, AND WORTH EACH OF THOSE TO WATCH.  ENJOY!

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46 Replies to ““Coming Out” To Rick Santorum”

  1. Only religion could make someone so hate themselves that they believe that they are a lower class of citizen and should not have the same rights and benefits as everyone else. I find the fact that a same sex attracted (to use your wording) man, would find Santorum’s message of hate and bigotry towards that man and those like him appealing very sad.

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    1. ProginMn thanks for your comment, rather one-dimensional as it was, as well as for your feigned “sadness” for me. I honestly am not hurting though so save your pity for someone who actually is. I responded to you in another comment so will not repeat it all here, but just to say I get the rhetoric but do not buy into it anymore. Blessings and share anytime.

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    2. I. Do. Not. Hate. Myself. Let me put it as ‘simply’ as you did. If it is Monday and you have a chance to go out next Saturday with the woman of your dreams and have promised her an expensive restaurant and Broadway show she wants to see but then spend every penny you have on phone sex between Monday and Saturday you have not foregone an immediate pleasure for a greater and richer pleasure (long term relationship etc.). St. Thomas Aquinas was quite aware that we human beings are so created that we give up a good only for a greater good. The problem is very simple…you do not see the ‘greater good’ that I HAVE now daily in my life. I do. I USED to hate myself. Also, another issue, I use the term Same Sex Attracted because I felt I wasn’t ‘man enough’ and felt inadequate and this desire coalesced around an attraction to other men. You cannot apply that experience to heterosexuals (except maybe Ed Wood).

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      1. Digigby we are not all that far from the same place here, at least I do not think we are. Sorry for my original answer–I guess I was moving too fast and my brain was not keeping up! God bless and I apologize. I have removed the first response I had made to you since for the record it made no sense whatsoever.

        Now I DO hate myself–not because of SSA but because of my obvious lack of reading and writing skills lol…so glad God still loves me anyway!!! Okay I am over it…

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      2. I’d like to explain where I am coming from when I said “hate themselves”. What I see when I look at someone in catholicboyrichard’s situation is a homosexual man, willingly associating with a group, and supporting a candidate, that believe that he is unworthy of the same rights afforded to everyone else, and is demonized, discriminated against and put down by that organization and candidate at every turn. And that the love he might feel towards another man is somehow lesser than a man would feel towards his spouse. To me, this is a similar situation to an African American 150 or so years ago looking at the Constitution and saying “Yeah, 3/5 sounds about right, and I enjoy slavery.” From this perspective, I think it is reasonable to assume that self-hatred might play a role in their continued association with that group/candidate.

        digdigby, you mention a greater and richer pleasure to be had through this association. What your analogy fails to account for is that while there may be a woman who wants me to spend all my money on phone sex before the big night, there is also another woman out there (quite a few other women in fact) that won’t ask that of me. There are dozens if not hundreds of other religions out there that offer the same reward at the end, without all of the bigotry, hatred and persecution in between. I do see the ‘greater good’ you have now in your life, I also see other ways of obtaining that same good. Those that would treat you much better than how I feel you are currently being treated.

        catholicboyrichard, the sadness I mention is anything but feigned. It truly pains me when I see someone who I feel is being mistreated by others.

        stacy, you are right, I probably shouldn’t have used the word “only”. But in my experience, that kind of thing is found most frequently with religion. I am probably going to take a lot of flak for suggesting converting to another religion in my statements above. It is religion’s power to cause people to believe that the way of their religion, is the only way to receive that benefit is why I believe religions is in a nearly unique position where people would willingly associate themselves with an organization that in many ways mistreats them.

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    3. ProgInMN, It is not true that “Only religion could make someone so hate themselves that they believe that they are a lower class of citizen and should not have the same rights and benefits as everyone else.” I know a lot of non-Christians who do that everyday to others.

      Richard, my husband and I know what you are talking about when you say that if it seems as though forces are against you doing what you had planned…that happens to him whenever he is preparing for a mission trip.

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      1. Stacey thanks I think you are right that very often we have issues that arise, and discerning God’s will becomes paramount but difficult at those times. I struggled for instance with not being familiar with the Precinct Caucus process, and being in a frankly very rowdy group who was almost exclusively for Paul. But now, having heard Santorum’s wonderful speech and renewed momentum, and seeing the vote count on CNN, knowing that one of those votes was MINE, I know it was worthwhile. Whatever happens in this election, I know that my vote counted for something and that I stood with my conscience. And everyone who attended our Precinct knows I was one of those who stood with the winner. They were not.

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      2. Stacey, I commented a little about your post above, but I wanted to add something specific. You are right that there are people of all faiths, and no faiths who tell others that they are a lower class of citizen and should not have the same rights and benefits as everyone else. But I can’t think of a single example where the person being discriminated against was associating with the people/organization doing the discrimination willingly.

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      3. ProginMn–I appreciate your comments and I believe you that you were not deliberately being condescending regarding my supposed misery that you for whatever reason think I have. I am a long ways from self-hatred. I believe that there are many ways to bring rights to LGBT persons, and that redefinition of marriage is not needed to give basic rights to all people. To me that is a far cry from the type of relgious abuse you imply is occurring to me. I will only say that I have more peace within me at this time in my life, as a celibate person in the Catholic Church, than I ever did either as a married person or an LGBT activist.

        I realize you do not accept this and I respect your views. I think you are missing one salient point regarding religion however. Those of us who do believe do not just “pick a church” that fit how we happen to feel good about. We, or I will at least speak for myself, have at least attempted to find truth, and I believe for many reasons that the great Tradition of the Roman Catholic Church is the fullest expression of Christianity. That is why I am Catholic–not just because I tried to find a nice religion that fits my views, but one that I believe it to be objectively true. I also for the record do not believe that love between same-gender people is less somehow. It is just different. The real question is how is it meant to be expressed, and I believe that to be platonically. I do not judge those who believe otherwise, and would ask you not to assume that I carry some self-hate that I simply do not have. What an odd thing to be defending to a stranger…that I love myself. But I do.

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      4. catholicboyrichard – I can appreciate the soul searching and hard work your search for truth must have required. I think at this point we have both fairly well explained our sides and have found a mutual respect, and perhaps understanding. I can accept your stance as it applies to the religious ceremony of marriage. I may not agree with it, but you and the church absolutely have a right to your views and practices. What I cannot accept is the idea that all Americans, even those who do not believe as you do, have to live their lives by those same rules.

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      5. I realized I didn’t finish my thought above. I do not understand why your (I’m using the collective your, I don’t mean this to sound like a personal attack against you) beliefs should apply to the legal definition of marriage. Why homosexual couples who don’t believe as you do should be denied the 1138 (yes, that’s the correct number: http://people.howstuffworks.com/marriage1.htm) federal rights, responsibilities and benefits that come along with marriage.

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      6. I appreciate your comments as well, and I do think there is some mutual respect going here which is always a good start. As to your concerns about why the Church in general (not me specifically but the Church as a whole) I will leave that question and see if others choose to respond. I have written fairly extensively on this and I think you probably know all of the arguments I would make–in fact I just posted in more detail on it tonight but have a number of links at the bottom of that post to other articles I have written, so feel free to peruse them.

        In any case, this is the kind of dialogue we need with one another. I for one appreciate it. We are one family.

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  2. YOUR POST WAS A PLEASURE TO READ, RICHARD.
    TO CHANGE THE SUBJECT A LITTLE…….SOMETHING I’VE WONDERED ABOUT. WHY IS IT THAT SAME SEX ACTIVISTS ALMOST ALWAYS ARE DEFENDANTS OF ABORTION RIGHTS? I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT ONE HAS TO DO WITH THE OTHER.

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    1. Chris that is a mystery…I was solidly pro-life the entire 15 years I was “out” in the LGBT community, so I have no clue very honestly. Maybe one of the readers has a better handle on that question than I do, and I would welcome some thoughts on it. God bless and thanks for your good encouragement. Comment anytime.

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  3. I lived with a man 7 years and a woman for fifteen. I live alone now and I am celibate, Catholic and not at all ‘tortured’. My ‘love life’ consists of my prison pen-pal. Someone asked me what I miss most- to be perfectly honest, the cigarette afterwards. It is well worth us SSA’s studying the lost art of ‘spiritual friendship’ as taught and practiced by priests and religious of long ago. It was a crucial part, along with asceticism of the celibate life. The sublime Newman perfected it. The main point is that I am a small minority of society and shrug up prejudice and intolerance of my mind but know that Santorum’s passionate defense of the family is a defense of my world and all that I hold dear as well.

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    1. Digdigby our paths have paralleled in several ways…and I always find it somewhere between humorous and deeply frustrating when people somehow “pity” me for choosing to be celibate. It is as if a gun was somehow put to my head and it wasn’t. And while I sleep alone, my world is far wider than it was during the very busy gay clubbing years, although I do miss the loud music at times…but it seems that once we face ourselves we can also face ourselves alone if need be. We do not need to be completed by others, but primarily by Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. That is the path I walk. And it is not a bad one. At least I can have “bad hair days” without worrying that I might meet “the one” and he will reject me because I do not look perfect by his standards. In short life is better to me now than in my actively LGBT years. Case closed.

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    1. Theophilus the real issue is we can disagree on who to support, but we are one family and whatever happens, our nation needs to turn back to God in so, so many ways. Thank you for your kind words. Comment anytime.

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  4. Wow!! That was such a great story! I am so happy for you, Rick Santorum has been our candidate from the beginning and so glad to hear you not only got to meet him but give him words of encouragement that he as a candidate needed. Thank you for sharing this with us!

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    1. Ella thanks so much I am soon on my way to the Caucus, a new experience for this middle ager…thanks for reading and sharing.

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  5. As a conservative, chaste, Catholic who is also homosexual (I find the same-sex attracted talk to be pointless. We do not call heterosexuals “opposite-gender attracted”. As my orthodox confessor says “One can compare it to being right handed, but that analogy fails after a point, because sexuality affects the entirety of our being.”) I cannot fathom how you support Rick Santorum. He IS a homophobe. Plain and simple. The push for gay marriage is not like the 9/11 attacks. His take on couples who are in a romantic relationship and comparing them to his love of his grandmother is demeaning. Yes, it is disordered attraction, but there is something significantly different about it than compared to the love of an elderly family member.

    It is fine to stand with the Church. I proudly do it. She is my mother, even though it is hard sometimes. That being said, she calls on us to stand against homophobia. Having read some of your blogposts I honestly think you are not comfortable with your sexuality and trying to compensate for it by supporting extremist Catholic positions against homosexuality/gay marriage that ARE NOT in line with Church teaching.

    You do no service to those of us who want to live a normal life within the confines of the Church with the self-hating rhetoric.

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    1. I thank you Tom Veers and also ProginMN for your sharing and thoughts, and since both posts are similar I would like to tackle them together if I may. I know that the term “SSA” does carry some negative political connotations to it, which is why some object to it. Ironically so does LGBT, which is why others object to it. We could argue about this side point endlessly but I think I would just prefer to summarize your accusations, which is what they are, that I take some unusual and “extreme” position on homosexuality and same-gender marriage, as utter nonsense.

      The clear teaching of the Catechism and every single Vatican document or writing of the USCCB would bear out that I am taking the official Roman Catholic Church stance on this issue–no more and no less. As to my discomfort with my own sexuality, I must smile a bit because I have indeed struggled very hard and wrestled with the Church position every bit as much as you or any of us from our backgrounds do, and have found that this kind of wrestling causes a person to face themselves pretty squarely in many ways–some of which are indeed uncomfortable. Change always is. Ironicially a few weeks back I was somewhat attacked for being too “accepting” of my sexuality, and it was ironically in regards to this very same posting! Ironic how different people can read the same article and come to vastly different opinions.

      I would just ask you both to remember that words on a page do not always clearly show the nuances one has, and we all have them, on our understandings of what Catholic teaching really is. But extreme I am not. I have always clearly stated that I support basic rights of actively LGBT couples, but that it does not need to be done in a way that promotes or redefines marriage. I have further said that I am not particularly a fan of “ex-gay” or reparative therapy and have shared some of that in my posts as well. I accept myself as a person who has SSA, but I do not allow my sexuality to define who I am as a person. I think your professor is mistaken if that is indeed what he or she is teaching.

      I am a child of the living God. And a Catholic Christian. If that makes me an “extremist” so be it. You might re-read some of my posts and note that I have done precious little compensating or attempting to cover some hidden self-hatred you both think I carry. Possibly you are projecting some of your own discomfort on to me? I do not know and would not presume to say. And I would ask for that same respect from both of you.

      Anyway that is not at heart the issue. My hang-ups or yours mean precious little in the grand scheme of things on this teaching or any other Church “hot button issues” here. What the issue does boil down to is, what DOES the Church actually teach, and can I believe and fully accept it? If not I need to find another place of worship. If I call myself a Catholic Christian I need to accept Magisterial authority. I would suggest you might ask yourselves some of those very difficult questions if you have not done so already. If you are a Catholic, and I pray you stay within the Church if so, I would challenge you to follow the Church fully.

      Finally I would never pretend or mislead you or any other person from a homosexual background into thinking that the goal of celibacy or chastity is some cake-walk. It isn’t. But living outside of your own understanding of God’s moral code is far harder in the long run, and much more stressful. Again I appreciate where you both are coming from, but for now we will need to agree to see this issue differently. Peace.

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      1. I accept everything the Church teaches to be true. My confessor is not saying that we should define ourselves by our sexuality, but that sexuality, straight or gay, does affect the entirety of our being. Bl. John Paul II says this in Theology of the Body. We should not define ourselves as gay or straight, but to say that it is the same as another trait such as being right handed or having blue eyes is naive. We are by our very nature sexual creatures. You don’t seem to acknowledge this or the fact that homosexuals who do accept the Magisterium of the Church are often discriminated against by so-called “orthodox” Catholics, unless they take positions that are utterly at odds with the Church’s call for compassion.

        Back to my other point though, which you never answered. How can you support Rick Santorum, a man who thinks that supporting gay rights is equivalent to the 9/11 attacks and has compared homosexual relationships to wanting to marry your grandmother, a proposition that is demeaning. If he was any other candidate that opposed the ridiculous idea that two men could marry I would have no problem. The man has indicated, however, by his public statements on this matter that he is a bigot.

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      2. Tom I would just suggest you do as I did, having had similar concerns about Santorum in the past. Dig into what he actually did say, and the context of it. You will find he did not make the statements you suggest, at least not in the ways you suggest he did. I find him to be surprisingly (and pleasantly so) compassionate and not the monster that Dan Savage and some other LGBT activists have made him out to be. I get your concerns, I truly do. I would just say to do some further research before assuming the worst about him. And if you choose not to support him that is fine obviously but at least do a bit more homework on it before slandering him needlessly.

        As to this right or left hand thing, I do not know where you are coming from. I never suggested sexuality was a simple matter of such a thing. Of course it is a very in-depth part of our lives and of who we are as people. I never once suggested otherwise. And I have even written about the fact that the Church has a long ways to go in the compassion department. One thing that I find very hurtful are people who “admire” me and my story, and then subtly reject my offer of platonic friendship with them. And it has happened more than once. If you really have studied my writings on this topic you would find I have written on this very thing, on this very blog in fact. And I agree with you that it is painful indeed. But I am not going to reject Church teaching on gay marriage or compromise my beliefs even if they do by their unloving attitudes. That is on them, not me.

        And believe me, I know it is easier said than done, and I am the first to acknowledge I do it far from perfectly. But you in fact seem very intent on rejecting me as well, as some radical person who does not understand Church teaching and I do not believe that to be the case. If so, please tell me what particular official Church teaching I am incorrect on so that I can correct it. I will gladly do so.

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  6. Just found your blog. Thank you for making explicit such a positive message about Catholicism: that condemning homosexual activity isn’t the same as condemning those with same sex attraction. All of us struggle with lust in many different ways. Being clear about the nature of sin has nothing to do with hatred for those who struggle or who fail -which is all of us at some time or other!

    Wish we had a Santorum in Scotand!

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    1. Thanks to my blood brother (I have some Scottish in me too!) although Welsh and English…but mostly Irish! No wonder I have been both Catholic and Protestant in my life lol. In any case I appreciate your comments. It is true that it is not “hate” to disagree. That is what we must be allowed to do on both sides. That is the only way true dialogue exists. God bless and thank you for reading! Come back often.

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      1. Thanks for sharing that Tito! The biggest thing is that our family as Catholic Christians is worldwide indeed. Again great to have Lazarus with us.

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    1. Michael I just added the talk from YouTube (it was more of an interview), and it was kept non-partisan enough so the church cannot in any way be accused of political endorsememts. Then we all prayed together for him at the end which is on the video as well.The whole video is around 8 minutes and wotrh every minute. Watch and enjoy, brother! You may not have been there but you were surely part of it! God bless and talk to you soon.

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    1. Teresa amazing is exactly the word–I am still flying high. But all I can say is it is a very “Catholic” example of God’s utter Grace but our need to say “fiat.” I almost didn’t.

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    1. Thank you so much Tito! Your 4 links this week have brought some amazing results too. I planned to write about that today but will do so later in the week in fact. I had more responses on the other post on SSA and supporting Santorum than any post I have done so far. Hopefully this one will be sort of a “part B” to it. God bless you so much in your help to so many of us.

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    1. And thank you, Michael, I look forward to Tuesday night. I doubt I would be going to the Caucuses if not for you…I will however try to cut my hair before then lol. God bless!

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