Bishop Antônio Carlos Cruz Santos
Bishop Antônio Carlos Cruz Santos

Bishop Antônio Carlos Cruz Santos of Caicó, Brazil has called homosexuality a “gift from God.” He is defending his words by saying his intention was to “save lives” and help “overcome prejudices that kill.” Enter Daniel Mattson, an ex-gay Catholic extremist active in the Courage Ministry. Catch this “logic” courtesy of our friends at LifeSiteNews.

Daniel Mattson
Daniel Mattson

But Daniel Mattson, a same-sex-attracted Catholic and author of the recently released Ignatius Press book “Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay,” says the bishop’s words will do the opposite.

Mattson can call himself chopped liver for all I care. Regardless of the
name, at the end of the day he is homosexual. Personally, whatever I
am, I happen to be gay. My sexual orientation is incidental to my
identity as a person. Sexual orientation does not define us — nor
should it.

Mattson doesn’t call himself gay but he is defined by his homosexuality which is at odds with his deep Catholic faith. Calling himself “same-sex attracted” is just parroting the bigoted homophobia of the Church. It is an effort to misconstrue sexual orientation as something comparable to a drug or alcohol dependency. We can employ the pseudo-science of 12-step programs to treat dependency and this is precisely what the Courage Ministry is. “Same-sex attracted” is a label of convenience which creates a false understanding of sexuality.

“If homosexuality is a gift, and therefore it’s good, then why is it not good to act upon it?” he told LifeSiteNews.

If Mattson thinks that gay sex is evil, then he is probably not doing it right. When was the last time he had sex?

“There’s a logical inconsistency there that’s going to lead to a lot of confusion, especially for young people, which will actually lead to more damage. Because when they live outside God’s plan for human sexuality, that always leads to unhappiness and despair.”

If there is a “logical inconsistency” it is in attempting to live by the words of ancient chronicles of dubious provenance which are augmented, from time to time, by Church prelates who claim to be celibate. There are healthy young gay people and there are neurotic young gay people who will require years of therapy as adults to acquire a positive self-image. Mattson and the Church inflict upon young gay people the idea that they are inferior to heterosexuals.

But don’t let the science get in the way of religious doctrine. According to the science, sexual orientation is a continuum with heterosexual and homosexual at the extreme ends. The gradations between the two are infinite and wherever one finds themselves on the scale they reside in a natural variant of human sexuality. We tend to define ourselves at the ends of the continuum but that is also a social construct.

Calling a young gay boy “same-sex attracted” and then telling him that he must either pretend to be straight or commit himself to a life of lonely celibacy is unlikely to develop the kind of ego-strengths that are necessary for success in life. It creates angry, unfulfilled people.

Perhaps Mattson can explain why his god made him “same-sex attracted” and then frustrates him with an inability to be a healthy gay man. Yeah, I know, the deity makes people miserable to test them or to make them stronger or something else they can parse from the fable of Job. What was that about a “logical inconsistency?”

That bishop is making some sense (for a change):

“If it is not a choice, if it is not a disease, in the perspective of faith it can only be a gift,” the bishop added.

“A gift from God. It’s given by God. But perhaps our prejudices do not get the gift of God.”

Cruz, who was appointed by Pope Francis in 2014 after serving in some of Brazil’s more notorious slums, said when slavery was legal, “they said we black people didn’t have a soul.”

“Just as we were able to leap, in the wisdom of the Gospel, and overcome slavery, is it not the time for us to leap, from a perspective of faith, and overcome prejudices against our brothers who experience same-sex attraction?” the bishop asked.

He is not perfect but his is a hell of a lot saner than Mattson.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.