"Rebuke Them Sharply"

May 2003

We received a letter from Robert Clark of Wilmington, Delaware. It is brief, but raises an interesting issue, namely, the maxim "Hate the sin but love the sinner." Appealing to the maxim, Mr. Clark questions our use of the word "fag." We have used that word only once (Jul.-Aug. 2002, p. 14) in our over 26-year history. In our November 2002 issue, we printed two letters of complaint, which we answered. And in our January 2003 issue, we printed two more letters of complaint, which we answered.

Now comes Mr. Clark's letter. Here it is:

Hate the sin but love the sinner. Catholics are taught this true but not obvious rule and are required to live by it -- however difficult it may be for them. "Name-calling" invariably violates this rule because an emotionally loaded name doesn't clearly distinguish between the sin and the sinner. Calling a homosexual a "fag" has the effect of indiscriminately condemning both the sin and the sinner -- and any attempt to re-define the word to refer only to the sin is not likely to succeed.

The editors of the NOR would do well to continue to teach homosexuals that they have freely chosen to violate God's law and are thereby living in a state of mortal sin. If they do not repent and reform, then they will surely spend their eternity in Hell. This is a stronger and more constructive message than calling them "fags." Bad names will only make homosexuals angry and defiant. The offer of God's forgiveness and love may encourage at least some of them to mend their ways.

The editors should make it very clear that they hate homosexual acts because they violate God's law, but that they love homosexuals as God's fellow creatures -- as their Catholic faith requires.

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New Oxford Notes: May 2003

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