Editor’s note: This open letter was originally an email sent by the author to Cardinal Gregory, and subsequently posted online. It is reprinted here with permission from the author.
(LifeSiteNews) –– Your Eminence, my name is Anna Katherine Howell, but most people call me Anna-Kate.
I am 31 years old and a graduate student seeking a Master of Arts in Theology. I am a convert to the Faith and one who takes very seriously the call to live by the teachings of Holy Mother Church, who accepted me, a wretched sinner, as her adopted daughter.
I also happen to have same-sex attraction. I have had it for as long as I can remember; whether I was born with it or acquired it when I was too young to remember, I cannot say.
From my teen years up until my conversion, I lived a horribly sinful life, including a great deal of promiscuity, an addiction to pornography, and a same-sex “marriage” at age 26.
I am not proud of any of this, nor do I celebrate it. What I celebrate is my repentance, conversion, and sincere amendment of life through the grace of Our Lord, which never fails, even when I do.
By that very grace, I am living a chaste and holy life as the Church very clearly identifies (see CCC 2359) as my calling. I understand that, when the Church involves itself in such things as Pride events, the intention is good. After all, the paragraph in the catechism which directly precedes the one I cited just a moment ago calls Catholics to treat persons such as me with “respect, compassion, and sensitivity.” I believe this is truly the intent of most Catholics.
However, when the Church is visibly present at or even sponsors such events, the effect on faithful same-sex attracted Catholics is just the opposite. We are not “LGBTQ.”
Our attraction is a thing we experience, not an identity we are defined by. The majority of faithful Catholics with same-sex attraction I have talked to prefer to say that we have or we experience same-sex attraction, rather than that we are gays, lesbians, or bisexuals. It is the father of lies, the accuser, who insists on calling us by our sins.
Our loving Father in heaven calls us by our names. We do not want to be identified by our disordered impulses or celebrate our past sins. This is what pride does.
Nor do we want others outside the Church to believe that we celebrate those impulses or sins in others. When the Church is involved in “Pride,” scandal is unavoidable. People will be confused or misled about what we teach and believe in a time when it has never been more important to be clear about what we teach and believe.
Perhaps some within the Church even intend to create and weaponize this ambiguity. We cannot allow that. You may say, “But participation in Pride doesn’t mean that we agree with every person, every float, or every message we are marching alongside.”
True, but I could say the same thing about a Catholic who gives large sums of money to Planned Parenthood: perhaps he or she does not agree with every procedure they perform. That is no less ridiculous than making the same excuse for a visible Catholic presence at a Pride event, let alone holding one on Church grounds.
Your Eminence, it is my desire as a Catholic to assume the best of every person I encounter. In that spirit of charity, I choose to believe that you are not someone who wishes to create confusion, scandalize believers and nonbelievers alike, or harm the witness of the Church to persons with same-sex attraction.
I believe that it is your desire to accompany persons like me with respect and sensitivity, never forgetting that we are human beings imbued by almighty God with dignity that transcends any disordered dispositions from which we might suffer. It is because I believe these things to be true of you that I am asking you with all my heart as your sister in Christ to please put a stop to the Pride Mass that is scheduled for 5:30 PM this coming Wednesday (the 14th) at Holy Trinity Church in DC.
It will do no good and a great deal of harm for this event to occur. Thank you so much for your time.
May God bless you and your ministry richly. In Christ, Anna-Kate Howell