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Gay advocates slam New Zealand bishop’s plan to use ‘The Third Way’ film as a teaching tool

“We are giving oxygen to the idea that there are different ways of looking [at] things. There just aren’t. And I find the existence of it pretty unpleasant," said one activist.
By Michelle Kaufman

By Michelle Kaufman

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, May 22, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com)  The desire of a New Zealand bishop to use the new documentary about homosexuality and the Catholic Church, “The Third Way”, as a teaching tool in his diocese has come under fire by gay advocates.

Bishop Patrick Dunn of Auckland said the film is “thought-provoking for all of us” and suggested that interested people should “view it and make their own decision about it.”

In a statement, he wrote, “Jesus holds up for us the ideal of a faithful, loving relationship between a man and a woman in marriage.  Sexual activity, be it heterosexual or homosexual, that is not within this marriage relationship falls far short of this ideal.”

The secular media have seized Bishop Dunn’s support as an opportunity to further the gay agenda in New Zealand.  Headlines such as “Catholics tell gays to ditch sex,” “Anti-gay ‘documentary’ slammed,” and “Catholic documentary labelled ‘hate speech’, ‘propaganda,’” have sent a biased and inaccurate message to the public about the film, and Catholic teaching on sexuality.

The 38 minute film discusses homosexuality from the perspective of Catholic men and women who have struggled with same-sex attraction. Ultimately they have found hope, love, and acceptance as they have embraced the Church’s teaching that all people are called to chastity.

Personal stories are punctuated with commentary on the call to chastity from well-known Catholic speakers such as Jason Evert, Chris Stefanik, and Christopher West.

The film also challenges the wider Catholic community to treat people who experience same-sex attraction with compassion, dignity and respect. 

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Melinda, who features in the film, notes that “for people who have chosen to live chastity one of the biggest obstacles is isolation and loneliness.”  She explains that “the Church has to function as family and as community, and it has to do so in a way that is more powerful and more real than the family and community that people find in the gay scene.  At the moment we’re not anywhere near that.”

But Trevor Easton, manager of OUTLine NZ, a “GLBT” counselling helpline, says that he saw the film “as making people feel uncomfortable, unloved, not able to be themselves.” 

Easton maintained that the film “is portraying gay and lesbian people in a very negative, isolated way.”

One journalist, Duncan Greive, commented on a 3 News show that he was “dumbfounded” that the Catholic Church was allowed to produce The Third Way because it “would be regarded … as hate speech from any private citizen.”  He continued: “We are giving oxygen to the idea that there are different ways of looking [at] things.  There just aren’t.  And I find the existence of it pretty unpleasant.”

On the same show, media commentator Janet Wilson labelled the film “patronising propaganda.”

But at least one Catholic organization is grateful to Bishop Dunn for having the courage to promote the film. 

“It takes great courage and conviction to speak the truth in a society that now recognises in law ‘marriage’ between same-sex couples,” said Dame Colleen Bayer, national director of Family Life International NZ. “Thank you Bishop Dunn for encouraging people to view this film.  Thank you for loving our brothers and sisters who experience same sex attraction enough to encourage them to embrace chastity, which of course is the narrow path.”

The film “The Third Way” can be viewed here.


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