Complicity and misplaced compassion

This thing with the Holy Father possibly endorsing gay civil unions is really getting to me, because in some ways I feel like I’ve done or am doing the same kind of thing. (I’m making a big leap here, because who knows what the Pope said, and I realize these are two totally different situations and I’m making a lot of assumptions about if our thinking is similar at all.)

I have several liberal friends. I have friends who are gay, friends who are living with their opposite sex boyfriends, a friend with a transgender son. My husband has lost his faith and is an atheist. I’m wondering if I’m complicit in any of these situations, and how to tell if I’m being complicit. While I’ve never endorsed any of these situations, I’ve never said what they’re doing is wrong and they probably don’t know that’s what I think. Except for my husband, I have shared with him that I think he’s way off and that I’m wounded about his loss of faith.

I guess my approach is basically that unless someone asks for my opinion, it’s the job of the Holy Spirit to convict people of their sin, not mine. Admonishing the sinner is a work of mercy, but I really have no clue how to do it and it seems like if you do it wrong, it’s likely to do more harm than good.

So what does it mean to be complicit? What is misplaced compassion? How do I know if I am sinning and what are my responsibilities in these situations?

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None of these gay people you mention are part of your immediate family, so it’s questionable whether you “admonishing” them would be appropriate. I presume they’re not living with you or staying with you so you aren’t providing a place for them to have illicit relations, and you aren’t fixing them up on dates with same-sex people, or running a gay bar, etc, so it’s not like you’re facilitating their behavior.

Simply being friendly with someone does not constitute an endorsement of their behavior. If they asked you your moral opinion, or were somehow questioning their own behavior in some way, I presume you’d tell them the Church teaching in a nice way.

I have, or have had, some gay, bi, and trans friends and distant family members. All of them were consenting adults and well aware of the Church position on gays before I got to know them. None of them are immediate family or super-close best bosom buddies, and two of them seem to be trying to maintain at least a nodding relationship with the Church. Some of the others have had so much turmoil happening in their lives that the more immediate question is whether they will be able to get through the week without a trip to the psych ward, not whether being trans was a moral issue.

I don’t think I need to be lecturing any of these folks on morals, they get enough of that elsewhere. I confine myself to being friendly, praying for them, and being as inclusive as possible even if that means I’m just an open Catholic who treats them like a person and not as some huge sinner or freak show. That’s how I deal with it. Your mileage may vary.

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No nothing like that, and no one in my family

Yes this is similar to my friends. I feel for them and feel that one of the reasons they’re making some of the choices they are is because they’re just trying to get through life.

So my approach is pretty much the same as yours. Based on what I’ve read here at CAF I really respect your opinion, so that’s a relief.

My opinion is just one of many. It’s nothing special.

However, I do get the impression that there’s a bit of a divide between Catholics who have friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and even family members who are LGBTQ+ and those who don’t and may have never even met such a person in real life (or if they did, the person didn’t let on that they were LGBTQ+). And there’s also a subgroup of Catholics who, like Michael Voris, had some very bad experiences with LGBTQ+ and consider it the root of all evil.

Most of us who deal with LGBTQ+ people on a casual or semi-regular basis don’t feel too strongly about it either way. For me it’s pretty much like dealing with a person who’s living unmarried with a hetero partner or who is on their second divorce and third marriage with no annulment. If it were my mom or my kid or my best friend, I’d be concerned. If it’s just the guy at the next desk, I say a few prayers for him and treat him normally.

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