Celtic Christian Church
Document On the Question of Homosexuality and
Biblical Hermeneutics: by Vincent
The position of the Celtic Christian
Church on the issue of homosexuality will necessarily influence the communal
life of its members, both privately and publicly, not the least of which will
come to expression in the sacramental and pastoral practices of the church.
As such, if the church’s position on homosexuality is to bear any merit,
it must be grounded in responsible biblical scholarship, attentive to the
ever-developing tradition of Christian faith, and open to truth wherever it may
be found. It is within this context
that that we begin our consideration of biblical hermeneutics
vis-à-vis the topic of
homosexuality. From the outset, this
document, and the polemical and exegetical arguments made herein, are grounded
in the catholic teaching which rightly accepts both Scripture and Tradition as
comprising one inseparable source of revelation.
Thus, while Tradition is
important and necessary for the formation of our faith and ethical teachings,
this document takes what is clearly a prophetic stand on the issue of
homosexuality, against not “Tradition,” but “traditionalism,” in order to help
lay the ground work for new directions in the future.
Tradition, as the life-breath of the church, is forever changing and
renewing itself, forward-looking, while “traditionalism” is the stagnation that
comes with holding on to old vestiges of past religious customs or teachings,
which no longer have value beyond, perhaps, that of a faint nostalgia. In order
to obtain a better view of the world around us we are to stand upon tradition,
not be buried by it. Thus, taking a
stand on the issue of homosexuality is not just about who we are as a church,
rooted solidly in past Tradition, but moreover, how we are also called to break
with entrenched prejudices and oppressive structures in Christian
“traditionalism,” in order to put an end to an unjust and unsupportable
discrimination, which finds no warrant in Sacred Scripture.
This may entail making novel pronouncements, nonetheless consistent with
the past, in that even the gospels themselves, despite their historical
limitations, demand that we move beyond the cultural and ethical limitations
Currently, a major obstacle to
the development of positive gay Christian theology, is a kind of entrenched
heterosexism, which assumes that gay relationships are to be measured by
heterosexual standards (i.e., biological procreation).
Increasingly, even heterosexual theologies are calling into question
these paradigms; a subject which cannot be dismissed in the context of this
issue. Thus, theological arguments
are mounting in many Christian circles, whereby serious questions are being
raised as to why gay unions should be viewed as less binding, less sacramental,
or in any way less valid than the sacrament of marriage.
Indeed, gay unions are different in many ways from heterosexual unions,
This diverse reality must be recognized, theologized, properly
symbolized, ritualized and celebrated for what it is, distinct from heterosexual
unions. Nevertheless, such unions
clearly share profound similarities with heterosexual marriages.
Thus, if heterosexual and homosexual marriages are not recognized as
equivalent in sanctity, all other attempts at theologizing around this issue
ultimately become inauthentic and vacuous.
It is impossible to separate
an acceptance and validation of an individual homosexual person from an
acceptance and validation of their primary relationships.
Certainly, at its very core, Christianity is first and foremost about
Trinity, God is
pure relationship without multiplicity of
being; a Christian truth which can only imply that we are
fundamentally defined by our relationships.
Thus, insofar as our relationships are not merely an outgrowth of our
individuality, but indispensable to our very personhood, there can be no genuine
celebration of homosexual persons while at the same time denying the fundamental
moral goodness of loving homosexual relationships.
Only from this a priori
affirmation can we speak of a “second moment” in which the implications of
gospel values and spirituality may come to bear on the ethics of a Christian
Throughout history, and even
until today, issues of faith and morals have been argued on the basis of
Scriptural passages which have been used as proof-texts to support polemical
arguments. It should be clear by now
that virtually any theological, social, political, or ethical position can be
argued (legitimately or illegitimately) by proof-texting biblical passages.
The Bible has been used in support of Nazi Germany’s persecution of
homosexuals, Jews and other social “misfits.”
The KKK uses Scriptural faith in support of white supremacy.
On the other hand, examples as can be found in the 7th century
defense of iconography by the Eastern Fathers, the contemporary relevance of
Roman Catholic social teaching, and the Anglican church’s defense of women’s
ordination, have all used the Bible in ways that are constructive and life
What is important, therefore,
is not that we simply isolate the few scant references to homosexuality in the
Bible in an attempt to refute or embrace them, but that we look to the broader
context of the question: “What is the underlying
of the CCC in its use of Scripture to formulate doctrines and ethical
teachings?” This is of paramount
importance because it aims to establish an identifiable and normative Scriptural
approach to matters of faith and morals, which does not isolate the question of
homosexuality as in any way exceptional, but situates it within a particular
hermeneutic from which the CCC position becomes consistent and even predictable.
In other words, the CCC position on homosexuality should not represent an
identifiable break with its interpretation of Scripture and Tradition on other
issues, but should be consequent and in harmony with the church’s overall
To this end, I would propose a
hermeneutical approach defended by Prof. Reimund Bieringer of the Katholieke
Universiteit Leuven, in which he proposes a foundation for understanding the
authority of the Bible for theology in the context of Modern biblical criticism.
Summary of “The Normativity of the
The basic premise underlying
Bieringer’s theory is the simple truth that sound theology is necessarily rooted
in, and flows from a sound exegesis of the Scriptures.
As such, the relationship between the Scriptures and theology is one
which presumes that the biblical canon is
inspired, and thus, revelatory.
This premise leads Bieringer to focus on the basic question regarding
“…in which way the Bible, a text of the past, can be meaningful, relevant, maybe
even normative and authoritative for people who live today and in the future.”
In response to this question, he first turns to the question of
terminology which surrounds the theological concern to articulate the unique
sacred character of the Bible. Noting in particular that the terms “revelation,” “canonicity,” “authority,” “normativity,”
“inerrancy” and “infallibility” each take on different meanings in the various
theological systems which employ them, he attempts to provide as broad a
description as possible for each term, so to clarify the role each plays in
relation to Scripture. We may
summarize his definitions as follows:
Biblical Revelation is the affirmation that in
the Bible, God is communicating something to us and that divine
self-communication is happening in the Bible.
is the affirmation of God’s influence on either the original events, the
process of oral tradition, the writer, the text, the reader, the process
of reading and interpreting the effective history of the text (the
tradition) or a combination of all of them.
Upon this is said to rest the sacred character of the Bible.
is the affirmation that the human authors, in writing the Scriptures,
were incapable of erring of incapable in failing to bring true and
correct judgments to adequate expression.
Infallibility is thus a term which refers to the author and the
content of the Bible.
In addition, Bieringer notes
that the following terms have as their particular focus, the relation of the
content of the Bible:
is the affirmation that the text (not the author) is free from error of
any kind. Recently, some scholars have limited inerrancy to matters
pertaining to salvation.
is the affirmation that the content of the Bible makes a claim on the
is the affirmation of the status of Scripture as a criterion or rule of
faith and life for the reader.
means that in a long and complex process, faith communities have
accepted certain books, which were believed to be inspired and
normative, as having a unique, sacred character.
Despite the widespread
agreement enjoyed by these definitions, Bieringer goes on to observe that
exegetes and theologians remain divided over theories about which stage the
divine influence is most pronounced in the development of the Sacred texts.
Without repeating here the many theories summarized by Bieringer, we will
note his observation that these theories can be categorized more or less by the
notion of whether the intensity of divine inspiration of the Bible is to be
located in an action or person of the past, or secondly, of something that is
believed to happen in the present as one engages the text, or finally, of
something that is expected to be realized in the future.
In summary of these theories, Bieringer notes:
If we try to survey all the positions that were surveyed…we conclude that at one
time or another virtually any moment of the entire process of the communication
has been identified as locus of inspiration:
the actual events, the Jesus of history, the experience of the
eyewitnesses or of the early church, the proclamation of the gospel and its
tradition, the sources as the earliest layers of the written text, the
historical Jesus, the composition by an individual or by a community, the text,
the acceptance of the text into the canon, the effective history (tradition), a
particular translation or the event of reading.
The collective wisdom of all
these positions may well remind us that it is not a matter of ‘either-or’ (as
most of these authors thought themselves), but of ‘both-and.’
If the process of revelation is really supposed to become a reality,
God’s Spirit must be recognized as present in all the stadia.
Thus, despite Bieringer’s
attestation to the value of each of these theories, he cautions that none of
them go far enough in addressing the more fundamental question of the moral
integrity of the Bible as “inspired” literature, in view of post-Enlightenment
theology. In other words, religion, and more specifically, the Bible, are not
exempt from the post-Enlightenment proclivity to question whether past norms and
truths can meaningfully or validly inform the present.
If we are to maintain that the Bible is both inspired and authoritative
for matters of faith and morals, how do we address the fact that by contemporary
Christian standards, the Bible itself is found morally deficient.
Bieringer cites Schneiders as having stated the problem succinctly: “…can
an ancient text speak normatively to a generation which has criticized the
text’s ideology and found it morally wanting? Anti-Semitism, slavery, war, and
apartheid, as well as sexism, can appeal to, and actually appealed to biblical
warrants of legitimation. In other
words, oppression is not accidental to the biblical text but intrinsic to it.”
Given this dilemma, Bieringer is not content to deny these allegations in
order to save the Bible’s normativity for Christian faith, or by contrast, to
accept a guilty verdict, which would effectively deny the Bible its normative
status. He argues instead, for a
third way, which he calls, the normativity of the future.
Bieringer begins by
establishing that revelation does not consist merely in the “imparting of
but is rather the dynamic reciprocal process of God’s self communication and
human response, resulting in an invitation to shared life with God (cf.
Dei Verbum, 6). Revelation is therefore, dialogical and reciprocal.
We observe here that Bieringer is thus framing revelation in the larger
historical context in which it can be demonstrated that the Scriptures grew out
of the community of faith (past), have become authoritative (present), and must
nevertheless continually be interpreted by the Christian community in light of
new situations and experiences (future).
Consequently, he notes,
…the authority assumed by revelation can never be unilateral, coercive and
absolute…[but] is dialogical and relative. Revelation is, therefore, not to be
reduced to an anonymous or vicarious action of the past which is closed because
all the possible content is imparted.
It is rather an ongoing, ever-new process which involves each participant
in the community in a personal way…[thus], while Christians profess Christ as
the ultimate revelation of God, this revelation is by no means closed.
As such, Bieringer affirms
that the biblical text itself, functions as a dynamic symbol, mediating in
visible, tangible form, that which is ultimately ineffable and imperceptible.
In this way, the text remains meaningless unless and until it is engaged,
read and interpreted by individuals and communities who do so with the intent of
encountering the mystery of God symbolized in the Sacred Texts; a process which
is fulfilled only when the texts reach their “transformative potential.”
However, Bieringer cautions that symbols are two-edged swords which
simultaneously reveal and conceal, which bridge us with the Mystery, as well as
establish walls. Dynamic engagement
and interpretation remains the key to distinguishing between the two.
Furthermore, unlike the spoken word, written texts enjoy a ‘surplus of
about which he notes, “Written texts enjoy a relative semantic autonomy.
What authors create can be or become such an intricate network of meaning
that it transcends their original intention.
Written texts do have legitimate meanings which were not intended by
In other words, the meaning of
a biblical text is not unalterably ‘frozen,’ but is, rather, inexhaustible as it
is interpreted by readers in light of new situations and realities.
Restricting texts to their own historical circumstances of composition
(which, unfortunately, has been and often still is the normative approach to
exegesis) presumes the impossibility that a reader or interpreter can be a
neutral (i.e., “a-historical”) observer.
However, since both the author of a biblical text as well as every reader
of the text is historically limited and conditioned, there must be at least a
minimal transcendence of historical conditions by both text and reader, so that
a “fusion of horizons”
becomes possible. Thus, observes
Bieringer, “Even though the biblical text is expressing the experience of the
first Christians, what it is really about (the real referent of the text), the
truth claim of the text, is the world projected by the text.”
Each person enters this projected world of the text in a uniquely
personal way (i.e., historically conditioned), notwithstanding the context of
their tradition and community.
Thus, in the Sacred Scriptures
the projected future world of God’s Kingdom is expressed under the limitations
of their given historical situations.
It is here that the “contingent and therefore necessarily restricted
perspective” of the author come into play, and consequently so too the
“sinfulness of the author and the sinful [i.e., intrinsically oppressive]
structures of his or her world enter the text.”
Paradoxically, these same Scriptures, insofar as their primary referent
is the future world of the Kingdom, embody a truth claim or criterion by which
the very limitations and sinful elements of the text must be corrected.
This correction takes place in the dynamic process of revelation, whereby
text and reader are in dialogical relationship, overcoming the historical
limitations embodied in the text, as well as those limitations impinging upon
the reader. And herein lies the
balance between two unacceptable extremes: blind obedience to the text on one
hand, and lording over it as its final arbiters, on the other.
Rather, he concludes, we must critically discern the
truth claims of the text and allow ourselves to be
transformed according the vision of the world
Thus, the Normativity of the
Future is a forward-looking hermeneutic which places the locus of inspiration
not only in the past, but in the alternative world of the future that the Bible
projects. In this way, the reader
does not re-write the text or too quickly develop a ‘canon within the Canon’ as
a simple solution to dealing with oppressive and destructive elements of the
text. Rather, he insists, “…the
oppressiveness of the text remains both a witness to that from which we have
been saved and as a challenge to action on behalf of justice.
But just as we must not cling to our sins as a paradigmatic definition of
ourselves, just as the Church must not continue to affirm its mistakes as if
they were tradition, so we must not propose the oppressive structures in the
biblical text as the Word of God.”
Thus, the projected future
world of God’s Kingdom becomes normative for discerning what is life-giving and
death-dealing in the text. The
Spirit, then, “is not only to be sought behind the text in the past, but is
always ahead of it, drawing us into a new heavens and a new earth.”
The application of a
historical-critical hermeneutic to specific biblical passages
which are purported to condemn homosexuality
Old Testament Texts
There is an abundance of
literature devoted to the debate about whether or not—or to what extent—the
Bible condemns homosexuality. As
previously mentioned, Scripture can and has been used to support virtually any
polemical argument or ethical position, and the question of homosexuality is no
hermeneutical assumption underlying this document, grounded in the “normativity
of the future,” attempts to circumvent just that kind of myopic proof-texting,
which clearly seems to have proven itself futile.
Certainly, there is little or nothing to be accomplished by proof-texting
if the underlying hermeneutical assumptions directing our interpretations are
not exposed or agreed upon. Thus, to
provide a line by line interpretation of those biblical texts which have often
been interpreted to condemn homosexuality, is somewhat antithetical to the
underlying hermeneutical foundations of this document.
Nevertheless, even the hermeneutic of the Normativity of the Future
begins by noting the inextricable relationship between Scripture and theology (above, 2). Thus,
in order help us distinguish between the historical limitations (i.e.,
oppressive structures) of the text, and the world projected by the text (i.e.,
Kingdom of God), we will briefly demonstrate how the limited biblical references
to “homosexuality” can be interpreted in light of the historical-critical method
of biblical interpretation.
The Sin of
The central importance of this
passage revolves around the text of Gen 19:5, “…and they [the townsmen of Sodom]
called to Lot, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight?
Bring them out to us, so that we may know them.’”
Of the 943 times that the
Hebrew word “to know” (Hb.
hDo√d´n◊w) appears in the OT, the
present context represents one of only ten occasions in which the term carries a
clear sexual implication, meaning “to have intercourse with.”
Although some exegetes want to argue that the Hebrew verb “to know” as it
is used here, means simply that the townsmen wanted to acquaint themselves with
the two strangers and inquire about their reason for being in Sodom, this
interpretation lacks credibility due to the fact that Lot offers his own
daughters to be abused instead of the visitors.
When we situate this narrative in its proper cultural and historical
context, two significant questions immediately present themselves.
First, we must inquire about what precisely is the sin of Sodom?
What did the townsmen of Sodom want to do with Lot’s visitors and what
was their motivation? Secondly, if
Lot is being rescued from the destruction of Sodom because of his righteousness
before God (Gen 19:29), how are we to reconcile that with the fact the he was
willing to offer up his own two daughters to the townsmen (Gen 19:8)?
Had these women been raped and survived the brutality, they would have
forever remained social outcasts and unmarriageable for having lost their
virginity beforehand. How then is
Lot’s behavior excusable, much less exemplary?
Contemporary Christian ethics could hardly condone his willingness to
hand over his daughters to such a fate.
A historical-critical reading
of the text will afford some answers.
To the first question we simply note that the story of Sodom is not about
sexual ethics, (as Lot’s willingness to give up his daughters makes clear), but
is rather about inhospitality to strangers, intensified by a most grotesque form
of sexually abusive behavior: gang rape.
The motivation for wanting to “sodomize” the visitors was to humiliate
them by treating them like women, whose social status was limited to that of
being merely the “property” of men. In marriage, a woman was “redeemed” (literally, “purchased”) by her husband
whose property she now became.
In view of this pervasive cultural perception, ancient Israelite society
maintained a covenantal code of “sacred hospitality” that was extended to
strangers, widows and orphans because of the fact that these three classes of
people were the most vulnerable to poverty, abuse and harm.
This is the reason that in the narrative presently under consideration,
Lot is regarded as righteous; he honors the sacred covenantal code of
hospitality with the strangers whom he encounters, unaware that he was
entertaining angels (cf. Heb 13:2).
This interpretation is further
confirmed within the context of the Scriptures themselves, by Isaiah’s direct
condemnation of the rulers of Sodom and Gomorrah for not having upheld this code
of hospitality, “Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom! Listen to the
teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah!
Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings
from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue
the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow” (Is. 1:10-11, 16-17).
Employing a hermeneutic in which the normativity of the future becomes
our guiding principle, it cannot escape us that even the current Christian
conviction regarding that which constitutes ethical behavior is at once rooted
in Scripture, and yet must clearly transcend that which is contained in the
biblical texts themselves. If this
were not so, we would still regard Lot’s willingness to offer his daughters to
the mob as ethically acceptable. As
this is clearly not the case, the Genesis 19 narrative represents a case in
point, in which the biblical canon as a whole transcends the limitations of its
own historical trappings, so to move the contemporary reader to a higher ethical
standard than the biblical characters themselves possess.
In conclusion, Gen 19:1-11, taken in its
proper historical context, cannot be cited legitimately as a sanction against
homosexuality. It is, rather, a
clear and unequivocal condemnation of abusive and denigrating behavior toward
another human person, which in this case takes the form of attempted gang rape.
As such, the Genesis 19 narrative condemns what amounts to a grave breach
of the sacred covenantal code in which Israel came to understand its
relationship with God and humanity.
Leviticus 18:22; 20:13:
The Holiness Code
These two texts, found in close proximity to one another, read as follows:
Lev 18:22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an
Lev 20:13 If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them
have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon
Among all of the OT citations
which apparently condemn homogenital acts, it may be argued that these two texts
are the least ambiguous. While there
is little doubt that we have here a clear prohibition of male homogenital
activity, there is nevertheless, a conspicuous absence of any condemnation of
lesbian sexual activity.
More telling, perhaps, is the fact that in both prohibitions, the
reference to male-male sexual activity makes the comparison of one man lying
with another to that of lying “with a woman,” or more literally, in the case of
Lev 20:13, “With a male you shall not lie the lyings of a woman.”
Once again, therefore, the text betrays the idea that that for a man to
engage in homosexual activity, he is being denigrated to the socially inferior
status of a woman (above,
Again, the entrenched patriarchalism found within much of our biblical
literature must be recognized here, and contextualized historically-critically.
In doing so, we are better able to clarify that a hermeneutic which
embraces the “normativity of the future,” relies on the very ethical demand of
the Scriptures to call us beyond the social-historical limitations which they,
We begin then, by noting that
these prohibitions are found in a section of Leviticus that has, by scholarly
consensus, been labeled, “The Holiness Code,”
extending from Lev 17-26. Generally
considered to be an originally independent legal document dating to the end of
the Israelite monarchal period (c. 6th Century
BCE), it was later edited by the
Priestly [P] tradition of the Torah and incorporated into the larger corpus of
what we now know as Leviticus. As
has been noted by A. Klostermann, the prophetic literature of Ezekiel (also a
product of the same era), emphasizes “holiness” as one of God’s quintessential
and thus, seems to have significantly influenced “The Holiness Code,” which
betrays the same theological presuppositions.
Under the Priestly [P]
influence, this “Holiness Code” was eventually related to the concept of ritual
purity, and as such transformed gradually into the realm of ethical purity:
Because holiness is thought of in relation to worship, it is connected with the
idea of ritual purity: the ‘law of holiness’ is also the ‘law of purity.’
But the God of Israel makes moral demands and under this influence the
primitive notion of holiness undergoes a transformation: avoidance of what was
ritually impure becomes abstention from sin; ritual purity develops into purity
The establishment of this link
between ritual purity and purity of conscience is an important element in
attempting to historically-critically situate the texts in question.
Both citations, Lev 18:22 and 20:13, clearly condemn male same-sex
relations as an “abomination,” and the latter verse goes even farther as to
evoke the death penalty on those who are found guilty.
When contextualizing this penalty within the “Holiness Code,” the
severity of the punishment is tempered by the fact that in the midst of these
two injunctions we find the same penalty prescribed for a child, guilty only of
cursing his parents!
Cleary, the severity of this penalty betrays the fact that cursing one’s
parents in ancient Israelite society had radically different connotations in
that culture than in our own. In
short, the patriarchal societal order of ancient Israel was dependent on a clear
line of expected obedience within the family hierarchy.
To threaten that chain of command, was to threaten the larger social
order itself. Similarly, homogenital
acts between two men, carrying the same severe penalty of death, also had
different implications in the world of ancient Israel than it does in our world
“The Holiness Code,” as such,
was concerned with just that, the holiness of God, and subsequently that of the
People of God. The etymological
origins of the Hebrew root for the word “holy” (Hb.
literally, “to cut;” that is, something which is separated, set apart,
consecrated to God; a concept which still manifests itself in the near
universally recognized distinction between the so-called “sacred” and the
“profane.” In the “Holiness Code,”
therefore, Israel is being instructed to set itself apart from the surrounding
nations, to be pure and holy before God.
This means that Israel was to refrain from ritual behaviors and social
practices that would be tantamount to an observance of the statues of alien gods
and their people:
LORD spoke to Moses, saying:
to the people of Israel and say to them: I am the LORD your God.
You shall not do as they do
in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the
land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not follow
their statutes. My ordinances you
shall observe and my statutes you shall keep, following them: I am
the LORD your God.
You shall keep my statutes and my
ordinances; by doing so one shall live: I am the LORD (Lev
Of particular relevance to our
subject matter, then, is that the injunctions of Lev 18:22 and 20:13 were not
sexual prohibitions as such, but were ritual prohibitions leveled against sexual
activity which would seem to involve the religious rites of foreign nations and
the worship of their gods. As
Helminiak aptly summarizes, “The argument in Leviticus is religious, not ethical
or moral. That is to say, no thought
is given to whether the
sex in itself
is right or wrong. All concern is
for keeping Jewish identity strong.”
He goes on to cite a contemporary example of the moral reprehensibility
of a satanic ritual involving sexual acts—even between a husband and wife.
Modern Christians would not object to their sexual relations as such, but
to the fact that in this context, their sexual act was tantamount to worship of
the devil. It is in this context
that we must interpret the Levitical prohibitions of homogenital activity.
In close connection with the
concept of “separateness,” we note, finally, that both injunctions refer to the
act of male sexual activity as an “abomination.”
Abomination, in this context suggests that which is “unclean,” as is made
clear in the following passage:
You shall therefore make a distinction
between the clean animal and the unclean, and between the unclean bird and the
clean; you shall not bring abomination on yourselves by animal or by bird or by
anything with which the ground teems, which I have set apart for you to hold
unclean. You shall be holy to me; for I the LORD am holy, and I have separated
you from the other peoples to be mine (Lev 20:25-26).
Understanding the texts in question, in
light of this passage, it becomes evident that the prohibitions against male,
same-sex relations are not moral or ethical in nature, but rather religious and
cultural. The reference to them as
“abominations,” then, have nothing to do with the sexual act in itself, but with
the their specific religious context within ancient Israelite culture, as acts
of ritual impurity.
New Testament Texts
It is particularly notable
that among the sacred literature of the NT, our most central documents—the
gospels—are silent on the issue of homosexuality.
There are no allusions to OT citations on the subject,
nor are their any novel teachings either for or against homoerotic love in any
of the four gospels. We begin our
examination of relevant NT texts, then, with the acknowledgement that the
documents which most readily put us in touch with the traditions of Jesus’
teachings seem to convey no particular concern over the issue of homosexuality.
However, this should come as no surprise to us, for as our review of the
OT texts have shown, Leviticus forbade homogenital acts only for reasons of
ritual purity, not because such acts were necessarily wrong in and of
themselves. As it is, the gospels
portray Jesus as one who is very much unconcerned about ritual purity:
“Listen and understand: it is not
what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the
mouth that defiles…Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the
stomach, and goes out into the sewer?
But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what
defiles. For out of the heart come
evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander.
These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not
defile” (Mt 15:11, 17-20).
Thus, having rejected the
reason for which homogenital acts were condemned in the OT Holiness Code (i.e.,
ritual purity), it stands to reason that if the issue of homosexuality were of
particular concern to Jesus or the primitive church, we should expect to find in
the gospels either an alternative reason for condemning homosexuality, or an
attempt to demonstrate why these acts are wrong in themselves.
Neither is the case.
are however, NT texts outside of the gospels which must be addressed and
contextualized historically-critically if they are to be properly understood and
interpreted for the contemporary church.
It is to these texts that we now turn our attention.
Romans 1:26-27: The Meaning
The most extensive biblical
text in either the OT or NT which refers to same-sex relations is found in Rom
1:26-27, and is the only place in the NT where there is an entire sentence given
over to the subject at all. In
English translation, the text reads as follows:
26For this reason
God gave them up to degrading passions.
Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural (Gk.
para/ fu/sin)27 and in the same way also the men, giving up natural
intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another.
Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons
the due penalty for their error.
When read in the larger
context of Rom 1:18-32, it becomes evident that the subject of the pericope is
not homosexuality, but grammatically speaking, is “God” (vs 26, “For this reason
God…”). Paul argues that God “gave
up” the gentiles to “unnatural” passions for failing to recognize God in
Creation, wherein he has always been revealed (vs 20-22).
The implications of this statement are rooted in several beliefs about
homosexuality commonly presupposed in ancient Greco-Roman culture.
We may summarize these as follows:
Anyone who engaged in homosexual activity was intentionally overriding their
natural sexual desire for persons of the opposite sex.
The contemporary category of “sexual orientation” (coined only in the
had not been in any way conceived in Paul’s time.
Nor was there any conception that biology, psychology or sociology
played a role in shaping and determining one’s sexual orientation.
Paul’s own language in Rom 1:26, wherein he maintains that “women
exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural…,” and men
were said to be “giving up
natural intercourse with women…” betrays this very conceptual
Since homosexual acts were thought to be a willful denial of one’s natural
sexual desires, they were also commonly presumed to be intrinsically
Homosexual activity was presumed to require one of the partners to exchange
their natural role as dominant/active (in the case of men) or
submissive/passive (in the case of women), thereby “giving up” their natural
role as men or women. As was noted
earlier, this was the very reason, victorious soldiers would sometimes rape
their enemy soldiers: in order to force them into the submissive sexual role
of women, thereby denigrating them as weak, effeminate, womanly (above, 8)
Finally, it was widely believed that homosexuality was a potential
temptation for all people and that to engage in such activity would render
its participants sterile. Thus, there
was an ongoing fear that unbridled homosexuality could lead to the
extinction of the human race!
Looking at this broader social
and cultural context concerning beliefs about homosexuality, it becomes evident
that Paul’s statements are neither unique nor particular to Christianity.
Rather, he is merely reiterating the presumed truths of his contemporary
culture; presumptions which, on virtually all levels of human advancement, have
since been rendered inadequate, untenable, and completely erroneous.
Simply stated: on the question of the ethical implications of homosexual
relationships in the contemporary church, Paul’s statements in Rom 1:26-27 are
inconclusive because the cultural assumptions upon which he bases them have been
proven false. Like so many other
instances where cultural trappings and historical limitations have been weaved
into our Sacred Scriptures, proper exegesis of any given text demands that we
critically discern that which is divinely inspired and therefore, universally
true, as opposed to that which is a product of human shortsightedness, and
therefore subject to “the law of diminishing relevancy.”
Of particular relevance to our
interpretation of Rom 1:26-27, then, is the term often rendered “contrary to
nature” or “unnatural” (para/
fu/sin) in vs 26, and which is
reflective of the first cultural presupposition enumerated above.
There is much debate as to what Paul meant here by the term “nature” (fu/sin).
Did he intend the Stoic sense of the term, common in his day, which
carried the abstract meaning of “Nature and the Laws of Nature”?
Or did he have in mind a more concrete meaning, likely to have stemmed
from his own Jewish background, in which something’s “nature” referred to its
essential character and identity?
We know from other Pauline literary contexts that the latter meaning is
Thus, it would seem that if this is the meaning Paul had in mind, he was
not making an ethical statement about homosexual activity, as much as arguing
that it was “uncharacteristic,” or atypical for heterosexuals to act in a
homosexual manner. To act
“unnaturally,” according to this view, is to act in a such a way that is
inconsistent with that which was expected.
God, himself, is said to act contrary to the divine nature in Rom 11:24,
in grafting the gentiles into the Olive tree that is Israel.
Thus, Helminiak correctly concludes, “If to act [contrary to nature] is
immoral, then God must be immoral—and that is patently absurd.”
Furthermore, if it is to be argued with
some degree of conviction that Paul was indeed adopting the Stoic, abstract
usage of the term “nature,” we must still contend with the ancient Greco-Roman
cultural assumption that homosexuals were “naturally” heterosexual, who
chose to give themselves over to homosexual relations (above, 11). The
recognition of the nature of “sexual orientation,” arrived at through modern
sciences, confirms the falsity of these ancient cultural presumptions hinted at
within this passage, and conversely, suggests a surprising affirmation for the
homosexual community. Namely, that
homosexuals are ethically bound
not to act
contrary to their nature as homosexuals.
Or, to state this more positively, the ethics of homosexuality begins
with an honest recognition, admission and integration of one’s God-given
homosexual orientation, and results in a life lived in gratitude for, and loving
expression of one’s sexuality. Thus, homosexuals should not be coerced,
pressured, or otherwise encouraged to establish sexual relations with members of
the opposite sex. To do so, would be
to encourage behavior that is contrary to their nature; the ethical implications
of which, include most significantly a rejection of one’s self and of God’s gift
1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10, Interpreting
Building upon this
understanding of the contemporary notion of “homosexual orientation,” we turn,
finally, to two passages in the NT which will be taken together because both
raise the question of how best to interpret the Greek terms
The passages in question read in English translation as follows:
Do you not know that wrongdoers will
not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters,
male prostitutes (ou¡te
10thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers—none of these
will inherit the kingdom of God (1Cor 6:9-10).
This means understanding that the law
is laid down not for the innocent but for the lawless and disobedient, for the
godless and sinful, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their father
or mother, for murderers,
sodomites (a˙rsenokoi÷tai), slave traders,
liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching
11that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he
entrusted to me (1Tim 1:9-11).
These Greek terms
(arsenokoitai), here translated as “male
prostitutes” and “sodomites” respectively, have undergone many and various
translations in English Bibles; a fact which, itself, lays bear the reality that
each of these terms presents a
crux interpretum that cannot be
easily settled upon. Among these
interpretations we can locate renderings such as, “adulterers and homosexuals”
(RSV, 1952); and “sexual perverts” (combining both words into one description,
RSV, 1977). Furthermore, Helminiak,
malakoi÷ in other English translations
has been variously translated as “catamites,” “the effeminate,” “boy
prostitutes,” “masturbators,” and even “sissies.”
a˙rsenokoi÷tai, on the other hand, has seen
translations including, “homosexuals,” “sodomites,” “child molesters,”
“perverts,” and “people of infamous habits,” to name a few.
In view of this ambiguity, we can conclude at least this much: that any
attempt to interpret these texts as expressive of a contemporary understanding
of “homosexual orientation” cannot be substantiated and is ultimately without
warrant. The best that can be
determined here is that sexual activity which involves exploitation, inequality,
or abuse, is ethically reprehensible, regardless of the gender of its
participants. However, these texts,
once again, are simply incapable of speaking to any contemporary understanding
of sexual orientation, and its ethical implications for same-sex relations.
Conclusion and Implications for the CCC
teaching on homosexuality and same-sex relationships
By way of conclusion then, we
note several points, implied by the exegetical analysis in this document:
Homosexuality as a perceived “orientation” is only recently understood and
is, thus part of the historical limitations of the world behind the biblical
It is essential to stress that the Bible offers no condemnation of
homosexuality expressed within loving, committed unions.
We need not look very far into Scripture to find affirmations of
love, faithfulness, and community which all speak to the reality toward
which Christian same-sex couples attempt to strive.
It is part of the historical limitations of the world behind the
biblical text that is responsible for the lack of understanding of a sexual
“orientation,” and thus, sexual condemnation in the Bible never involves two
people expressing a mutual bond of love.
However, we do find condemnation of rape, sexual abuse and
exploitation, idolatry, hypocrisy, and oppression; all of which are clearly
contrary to the Christian gospel and none of which have any relation to
loving, committed relationships. We
must, therefore, never allow any Church teaching to reduce gay relationships
to matters of
apart from the context of
It is not sex, but love that most
centrally defines the Christian homosexual union.
To continue to ignore advances in human sciences regarding human sexuality
inevitably results in an inadequate interpretation of references to
homosexuality in the Bible, which in view of modern science can only be seen
as two-dimensional, inadequate and ultimately oppressive.
In many areas of faith and morals the world projected by the Bible (i.e.,
The Kingdom of God), demands that we surpass its own historical limitations
in working toward the Kingdom of God.
This is not unique to the question of homosexuality, but rather places this
issue in line with a host of others that have already been recognized (i.e.,
patriarchy, sexism, anti-Semitism, slavery, etc).
ALEXANDER, Marilyn Bennett and
James Preston. We Were
Baptized Too: Claiming God's Grace for Lesbians and Gays. Louisville:
Westminster John Knox Press, 1996.
Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Issues: Fact Sheet.
Stealing Jesus: How fundamentalism Betrays
Christianity. New York: Crown Publishers,1997.
BIERINGER, Reimund. “The Normativity of the Future: The Authority of the Bible
for Theology,” Bulletin
Ephemeredes Theologicae Lovanienses 8
Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe From the
Beginning of the Christian Era to the 14th Century. Chicago:
University Press, 1981.
Unions in Premodern Europe. New York: Villiard Books, 1994.
BOULDREY, Brian, ed.
Wrestling With the Angel: Faith and Religion in the Lives of Gay Men.
New York: Riverhead Books, 1995.
BOYD, Malcolm and Nancy
Stories of Lesbian and Gay Faith. Freedom: The Crossing
Take Off the
Masks. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1993.
BRAWLEY, Robert l., ed.
Biblical Ethics and Homosexuality: Listening to Scripture.
Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1996.
Love Between Women: Early Christian Responses to Female Homoeroticism.
Chicago: University Press, 1998.
COMSTOCK, Gary D.
Gay Theology Without Apology. Cleveland:
Pilgrim Press, 1993.
COUNTRYMAN, L. William.
Dirt, Greed, and Sex: Sexual Ethics in the New Testament and Their
Implications for Today. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1988.
COUNTRYMAN, L. William.
The Good News of Jesus: Reintroducing the Gospel.
Boston: Cowley Publications, 1993.
COUNTRYMAN, L. William.
Biblical Authority or Biblical Tyranny?: Scripture
and the Christian Pilgrimage. Valley Forge: Trinity Press
CROMEY, Rev. Robert Warren.
In God's Image:
Christian Witness to the Need for Gay/Lesbian Equality in the Eyes of the
Church. San Francisco: Alamo Square Press, 1991.
FREEDMAN, David. N., Gen. ed.
New York: Doubleday, 1992.
FRONTAIN, Raymond-Jean, ed.
Reclaiming the Sacred: The Bible in Gay and Lesbian Culture.
New York: Harrington Park Press, 1997.
and Unseen: A Year Lived in Faith. New York: Alfred
A. Knopf, 1998.
Calling: A Gay Christian's Struggle
to Serve the Church. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1996.
HELMINIAK, Daniel A.
What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality. San
Francisco: Alamo Square Press, 1994.
Our Passion for Justice: Images of Power, Sexuality
and Liberation. Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 1984.
JENNINGS, Theodore W.
The Man Jesus Loved: Homoerotic Narratives from the New Testament.
Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 2003.
KLOSTERMANN, A. “Ezechiel und das Heilgkeitsgesetzes” in
Beiträge zu seinem Verständnis und seiner Entsehungsgeschichte. Leipzig, 1893.
McNEILL, John J.
The Church and the Homosexual. Boston:
Beacon Press, 1988.
McNEILL, John J.
Chance on God: Liberating Theology for Gays, Lesbians, and Their Lovers,
Families, and Friends. Boston: Beacon Press, 1988.
McNEILL, John J.
Glorious Freedom: the Spiritual Journey to the Fullness of Life for Gays,
Lesbians, and Everybody Else. Boston: Beacon Press, 1995.
NELSON, James B.
An Approach to Sexuality and Christian Theology. Minneapolis:
Augsburg Publishing, 1978.
NELSON, James B.
Gardens: Reflections on Sexuality and Religious Experience. New York:
Pilgrim Press, 1983.
NELSON, James B.
Connection: Male Sexuality and Masculine Spirituality. Philadelphia:
Westminster Press, 1988.
in the Biblical World. Augsberg Fortress Publications, 1998.
Within: Stages of Spiritual Awakening for Lesbians and Gay Men. San
Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1992.
From Text to Action: Essays in Hermeneutics, II.
RIGHTER, Walter C.
Way. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998.
ROGERS, Eugene F.
the Christian Body. Malden: Blackwell, 1999.
SCANZONI, Letha and Virginia
Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?: A Positive Christian
Response. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1994.
SCHNEIDERS, S.M., Sandra. “Feminist Ideology Criticism and Biblical
BTB 19 (1989).
SCHNEIIDERS, S.M., Sandra.
The Revelatory Text: Interpreting the New
Testament as Sacred Scriptures. New York, 1991,
SIKER, Jeffrey S., ed.,
Homosexuality in the Church: Both Sides of
the Debate. Louisville: John Knox, 1994.
the Gate: To be Gay and Christian in America. New York: Simon &
WILSON, Rev. Nancy.
Our Tribe: Queer Folks, God, Jesus, and the Bible. San
Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1995.
for the Gay
and Lesbian Community
Over and above the need to defend the biblical text from misguided
interpretations about the ethics of homosexuality and same-sex relations, is the
task of noting some of the various texts that offer a positive and
life-affirming view on same-sex love and the beauty and uniqueness of each human
person. As an appendix to this
document, therefore, we include a sampling of these texts for reference and
1 Sam. 18:1-4
When David had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was
bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2Saul
took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. 3Then
Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. 4Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that he was wearing, and gave it to
David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.
As soon as the boy had gone, David rose from beside the stone heap and
prostrated himself with his face to the ground. He bowed three times, and they
kissed each other, and wept with each other; David wept the more. 42Then
Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, since both of us have sworn in the name of
the LORD, saying, ‘The LORD shall be between me and you, and between my
descendants and your descendants, forever.’” He got up and left; and Jonathan
went into the city.
But Ruth said [to Naomi],
press me to leave you
or to turn back from following you!
go, I will go;
Where you lodge, I will lodge;
shall be my people,
and your God my God.
17Where you die, I will die—
there will I be buried.
May the LORD
do thus and so to me,
and more as well,
death parts me from you!”
2 Sam. 1:23-26
Saul and Jonathan, beloved and lovely!
In life and in death they were not divided;
swifter than eagles,
they were stronger than lions.
26O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul,
who clothed you with crimson, in luxury,
who put ornaments of gold on your apparel.
25How the mighty have fallen
in the midst of the battle!
lies slain upon your high places.
26I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan;
beloved were you to me;
your love to me was wonderful,
passing the love of women.
For you love
all things that exist,
none of the things that you have made,
would not have made anything if you had hated it.
25How would anything have endured if you had not willed it?
Or how would
anything not called forth by you have been preserved?
26You spare all things, for they are yours, O Lord, you who love the
For your immortal spirit is in
American Psychiatric Association
Lesbian and Bisexual Issues
 Reimund BIERINGER, “The
Normativity of the Future: The Authority of the Bible for Theology,”
Ephemeredes Theologicae Lovanienses 8 (1997): 52-67.
Professor Bieringer agreed to establish a hyperlink between the
CCC website with his personal web page whereby his entire article will
be made available to those who wish to consult it.
cf. Sandra SCHNEIIDERS, S.M.,
Revelatory Text: Interpreting the New Testament as Sacred Scriptures,
(New York, 1991), 53
 BIERINGER, 61, cf. Sandra
SCHNEIDERS, “Feminist Ideology Criticism and Biblical Hermeneutics” in
19 (1989): 4.
Cf., P. RICOEUR,
From Text to Action: Essays in Hermeneutics, II,
(Evanston, 1991), 148.
 Sandra SCHNEIDERS, S.M.,
“Feminist Ideology Criticism and Biblical Hermeneutics,” in
19 (1989): 6. Cf. H.-G.
Truth and Method, (New York, 1993), 277-307.
 BIERINGER, 65. This future
world is somewhat synonymous with what we may traditionally call, the
“Reign” or “Kingdom” of God.
 See, Daniel HELMINIAK,
What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality, (San
Francisco: Alamo Square Press, 1994) to whose scholarship and concise
presentation of material on this subject, this document is greatly
 All biblical citations in
this document are taken from the NRSV, unless otherwise noted.
 We know, for example, that in
the ancient world, defeated soldiers were often raped by their victors,
not merely to denigrate them but also to demonstrate that they were now
the “property” of their aggressors; reduced to the subservient social
status of a woman.
 Cf. Ez 16:48-48; Wis 19:13;
Jer 23:14; Zeph 2:8-11; Mt 10:5-15 which all reference Sodom and
Gomorrah as having been guilty of oppression, injustice, partiality,
encouraging evil, adultery, but never identify homosexual activity as
the “sin” of which they were guilty.
 One cannot help but note,
almost ironically, that the Bible’s undeniable patriarchal perspective
has all but spared lesbians of condemnation for same-sex relations (but
see, Rom 1:26-27, discussed
Indeed, the male bias is so prevalent in most biblical texts,
that women are by and large forced to infer from the condemnation of
male homogenital activity, that they are to be included in this
condemnation as well.
 See, Daniel HELMINIAK,
What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality, (San
Francisco: Alamo Square Press, 1994), 43.
 Such was the name given by,
A. KLOSTERMANN, “Ezechiel und das Heilgkeitsgesetzes” in
Pentateuch: Beiträge zu seinem Verständnis und seiner
Entsehungsgeschichte (Leipzig, 1893), 368-418, esp. 385.
Ezek. 20:41; 28:22, 25; 36:23; 38:16; 38:23;
 Cf. Lev 19:2, “…You shall be
holy, for I, YHWH your God am holy” (NJB).
Also, 20:7, 26; 21:8; 22:32, etc.
 Henry WANSBROUGH, Gen. Ed.,
The New Jerusalem Bible, (New York: Doubleday, 1985), 157, n.
 Lev. 20:9, “All who curse
father or mother shall be put to death; having cursed father or mother,
their blood is upon them.”
 Cf. HELMINIAK, 48.
See also, David WENHAM, “Abomination of Desolation,” in David. N.
FREEDMAN, Gen. ed., The Anchor
Bible Dictionary, vol. 1, (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 30,
who notes that in the book of Daniel, the word “abomination” also plays
a significant role (see: Dan 11:31; 12:11; cf. 9:27) in which the
meaning in all three cases is clear: foreign invaders of Jerusalem will
forcibly end the ritual worship of the temple.
Again, the notion of abomination is associated with the loss of
 References to Sodom found in
Mt 10:12-15; and parallel Lk 10:10-12; Mt 11:23-24 do not specify the
nature of the city’s sin. Cf. Victor P. FURNISH, “The Bible and Homosexuality: Reading the Texts
in Context, “ in Jeffrey S. SIKER, ed.,
Homosexuality in the Church: Both Sides of the
Debate, (Louisville: John Knox, 1994), 23.
 An even broader
contextualization of this passage through a comparison with Acts
17:22-34 betrays the fact that early Christian tradition appropriated
this condemnation by Paul in a far gentler light.
For further information on the category of “homosexual orientation” as
presented by the American Psychological Association, see
of this document for a complete copy of the APA fact sheet on “Gay,
Lesbian and Bisexual Issues.”
The law of diminishing relevancy is discussed in FURNISH, 32, in the
following manner: “The
more specifically applicable an instruction is to the
situation for which it was originally formulated, the
specifically applicable it is to every other situation.”
Thus, while we cannot fault Paul for being a product of a his
geographical, historical and temporal limitations, we have an ethical
responsibility to interpret his own texts in such a way as to unmoor
them from Paul’s own human limitations in order to discern that which is
universally true, relevant and divinely inspired.
Clearly then, authorial intent cannot be the final arbiter in
discerning the meaning of a sacred text.
Rather, insofar as the Bible interacts in an ongoing and dynamic
relationship with the Christian community who is entrusted with the
sacred task of its interpretation, the meaning of the text can and must
transcend its author’s own intended meaning, so that the Bible may
continue to be for the church, the living Word of God in their midst.
Like the “weeds and the wheat” of which Christ, himself, spoke, left to
grow side by side until the
Parousia, so too do we find the
weeds and wheat of the sacred writers side by side in the Scriptures
(cf., Mt 13:24-30). This,
inseparability is an unavoidable outcome of the incommensurability
between the Infinite nature of God and the finite nature of humanity.
 For further analysis on this
distinction and its implications for our subject, see, HELMINIAK, 63-83.
 See, for example, Rom 2:27
where Paul refers to those who are Gentile by “nature;” Gal 2:15 where
he refers to those who are Jews by “nature;” Gal 4:8 where Paul refers
entities “that by nature are not gods;” and finally in 1 Cor 11:14 he
asks, “Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair,
it is degrading to him…?”
 HELMINIAK, 86, tellingly
observes that a recent Roman Catholic publication of the
a˙rsenokoi÷tai as “practicing
homosexuals,” apparently in order to confirm to the Church’s twentieth
Century teaching that while being homosexual is not sinful in itself,
practice of homosexual behavior is morally wrong.
“How amazing!” notes Helminiak, that “a first-century text would
now seem to teach exactly what Roman Catholicism began teaching only in
Rev. Vincent Pizzuto, Ph.D. is
Assistant Professor in the Department of Theology and
Religious Studies at the
University of San Francisco. He has a Masters of Education in
Religious Education from Boston
College (1995), as well as a Masters (STL) and Doctorate
(STD) in New Testament exegesis
from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Louvain) in
Belgium. Currently in
publication is his first book entitled,
A Cosmic Leap of Faith: An
Authorial, Structural, and
Theological Investigation of the Cosmic Christology in Col 1:15-20,
as well as a recent article entitled, “Religious Terror and the
Prophetic Voice of
Reason: Unmasking Our Myths of
Righteousness,” BTB 37 (June 2007). His primary
theological interests lie in New
Testament theology and historical-critical methodology;
theology; the Christian mystical tradition; and Celtic Christian
spirituality. In addition to his
teaching, Prof. Pizzuto lectures in local parishes on areas of
prayer and spirituality with
particular outreach to the gay and lesbian community.
Vincent was ordained to the
priesthood in July 2006, by the Most Rev. Joseph Grenier,
Ph.D., presiding bishop of the
Celtic Christian Church (CCC). He presides over a small
contemplative faith community
called “New Skellig.” To find out more about New Skellig,
the CCC and independent catholic
churches, please visit our website at