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since June 19, 2001


Dale's Web Pages



February 5, 2003


  1. No, you haven't missed any issues of Heartbeat News, and you have not been dropped from the distribution list.

  2. Canticle, the Magazine for Today’s Catholic Woman is holding its third conference in Irving, Texas, March 21 and 22.

  3. The coloring book - The Art of Raphael is now available

  4. Homosexuality and Hope from the Catholic Medical Association is available — Translators required.



By Dale O’Leary


P.O. Box 41294, Providence, RI 02904


  1. To those of you, who have written concerned that you might have been dropped from this email list, thank you for your interest. Not to worry you haven’t missed anything. No Heartbeat News has been put out since April.

  2. Canticle, the Magazine for Today’s Catholic Woman is holding its third conference in Irving, Texas, March 21 and 22. Speakers include: Johnnette Benkovic, Dale O'Leary, Prof. Janet E. Smith, Dr. Ronda D. Chervin, Suzanne Baars, M.A Genevieve Kineke, and Marie Bellet.  For full details, including cost, travel information, and registration, visit Canticle’s website at www.canticlemagazine.com; for brochures and questions, write to Canticle2003@aol.com

  3. A number of years ago I designed a coloring book - The Art of Raphael. It finally found a publisher. A sample picture will be sent in a separate email because some people have set up their system to reject jpeg files. The book is available from Heartbeat News for $4.95, plus $1.25 shipping and handling in U.S. and $1.75 overseas.
                    Why a coloring book on Raphael? Because we are fighting a Culture War and how can we win a Culture War if our only weapons are arguments. We need to restore the culture. If we want a real cultural renaissance, perhaps going back and studying previous renaissances, will help us understand the part that literature and art play in forming a culture. And we need to start with the children. So a coloring book seemed a place to start.

  4.                 Homosexuality and Hope from the Catholic Medical Association is available at www.cathmed.org. The Spanish version is also available. There have been requests for translations into other languages, particularly Portuguese. Anyone who has made or would be willing to make a translation should contact heartbeatnews1@cox.net.


                    For the last six months I have been struggling to find a way to explain what is wrong with same-sex marriage and why homosexual men cannot be ordained Catholic priests in a way which will reach the hearts of ordinary men and women? To the readers of Heartbeat News these may be self-evident truths, but the problem with self-evident truths is that they are often very hard to explain to the people to whom they are not self-evident. Our opposition has convinced many that all arguments based on natural law and divine revelation are mere opinions or worse evidence of a mean-spirited bigotry.


                If marriage is such a good thing, why are we so opposed to allowing those who have suffered so much to enjoy its benefits? It is not enough to show that same-sex marriage will hurt society, we must show that no matter how much persons with same-sex attraction (SSA) want to “marry”, we are not denying them a good, but preventing them doing something not in their own best interests.


  1. Marriage and Complementarity

                Marriage in its essence involves complementarity.  Sexual complementarity allows the two to join as one flesh and to bring forth new life from that union. A man is designed to enter and impregnate a woman and a woman is designed to be entered and to become pregnant. A woman cannot with her own body enter and impregnate another woman, whatever she does to another woman is artificial. When two men engage in genital activity together, one allows himself to be entered. This is contrary to natural male sexuality.

                Complementarity is not merely physical. A man and a woman are also emotionally and psychologically complementary. In marriage the man can be fully male and a woman to be fully female. The radical feminists laid the foundation for the homosexual onslaught by claiming that men and women essentially the same and that the obvious differences are the result of unjust gender socialization which should be eliminated so that the differences between men and women will disappear. Those interested in understanding more about radical feminism can read my book The Gender Agenda: Redefining Equality. (Available from Heartbeat News, for $12.00, P.O. Box 41294, Providence, RI 02940)

                Having won acceptance among the liberals in academia and in the media for their claim that the differences between the sexes were the result of oppressive heterosexist socialization, the radical feminists and pro-homosexual activists then were able to argue that restriction of marriage to a male/female couple was part of the same unjust oppressive system.

                I have been working with other women for over ten years to develop an understanding of how men and women can be different and equal and how true complementarity of the sexes works. Canticle Magazine was founded to forward this effort. Once the true complementarity of the sexes is properly understand, one can easily understand why same-sex relationships lack complementarity. To compensate for this, same-sex couple must make accommodations; one partner must deny some part of his or her true identity.

  1.                 One way is through a pseudo marriage in which one person imitates the role of the other sex. An effeminate male may think that he is like a woman, but as a woman I find the behavior of most effeminate men a rather poor imitation of true feminine behavior. They imitate the form but don’t understand the content. Underneath they are still men, but men who feel inferior to other men. They don't really understand what it means to be a woman.
                    In the same-way masculine appearing women in same-sex relationships aren't real men; they are only imitating men. I saw this clearly during a special in which Ellen DeGeneres gave a televised tour of her home. Inside her closet there were no feminine clothes, but her closet did not resemble the closet of well-dressed preppy man. Instead of a wide variety of shirts, pants, there was one style of each item in different colors – shirts, jackets, pants, and shoes. It was as though she were stuck in a stereotype of masculinity. The program included a fitting for a gown in which Ms. DeGeneres would attend an awards ceremony. The dress was lovely but Ellen appeared to be on the verge of having a panic attack. It struck me that at the height of her success Ms. DeGeneres was tragically unfree – unable to be comfortable as a woman and caught in a narrow stereotype of masculinity.
  1.                 While the general public may view most same-sex couples as pseudo marriages, another form of accommodation may be as prevalent: couples whose relationships resemble that of a parent and child. Since SSA is frequently related to failure to bond with the same-sex parent, the younger, dependent partner may be trying to repair this failure by seeking a union with a replacement for the parent of the same sex.
                    In marriage both partners should want what is best for the other. In a pseudo parent/child relationship, the older partner does not want what is best for the younger – namely that younger become fully adult and independent. For the relationship to continue, younger remain dependent and immature.

  2.                 A less common type of same-sex couple is those who see their partner as a mirror image of themselves. Like girls in elementary school the couple may dress identically and share all activities. This type of relationship is threatened if either partner wishes to be a free individual.

  3.                 In some same-sex couples, the partners are so wounded, so lonely, so lost that each sees the other as the only person who has ever cared. Their loneliness becomes sexualized. They are afraid to let go.

                None of these relationships forwards the good of both partners – namely to live as a mature and fully complete person according to one’s true sexual identity. Each is based on an unspoken promise to remain unhealed – to never be the full man or woman they were created to be. Legalizing a same-sex marriage would be approving a covenant to remain in psychological bondage.

                It is true that in some marriages complementary does not lead to true equality between the husband and wife. The differences is that in a dysfunctional marriage healing can improve the marriage, while with a same-sex couple, healing will doom the relationship.


  1. Marriage and Parenthood

                The desire to be a parent is normal and healthy. Persons with SSA almost always have had problematic relationships with one or both of their parents. If they want children, they hope that they will be better parents than their parents.

                There are several ways in which persons with SSA can acquire children. In the past persons with same-sex attraction frequently tried to solve their problem by marrying. Many had children and when marriage failed to resolve their same-sex attraction, divorced, and sought custody or visitation with their children. Today persons with SSA are less likely to marry or conceive children in a sexual relationship with a person of the opposite sex and more likely to acquire children through adoption, foster care, artificial insemination (for women) and surrogate parenting (for men). Once they have children, they will love them and they want what is best for their children. They certainly don’t want their children to suffer, but by creating a creating a child who is permanently and purposefully fatherless or motherless through artificial insemination or surrogate parenting, they are the direct agent of suffering.

                Every child has a right to know and to be raised by his or her biological father and mother. Anything less is rightly perceived by the child as a tragedy. If a tragedy occurs, adults can respond heroically to diminish the effects of the tragedy. Single parents, deserted mothers, parents who adopt, and foster parents try to cushion the blow.

                The creation of a child who is conceived to be permanently and purposefully fatherless or motherless is not unexpected tragedy to which a family heroically responds, but a calculated injury. It is a tragedy engineered by the child’s parent and partner. Although the same-sex partners who have created the child may claim that the child is suffering because society doesn’t accept same-sex parenting, in fact the child is suffering because he or she has been denied something essential – either a father or a mother. Two mothers is not a substitute for a mother and father and children know this, no matter how many times they are told differently.

                Not only do these children begin life with a calculated, planned loss of one parent, the chances are extremely high that these children will experiences subsequent losses.  Same-sex relationships both male and female are extremely unstable. When the relationship breaks up, the biological parent will demand custody, and the non-biological parent will try to sustain the relationship. This has already led to a number of messy custodial battles. Children conceived into these unstable families will probably cling to whatever security they can, grow up feeling guilty, and afraid to express legitimate anger. Their parents and the gay community will undoubtedly encourage these children to turn their anger on an unaccepting society, but would society’s acceptance make it better for the children?  Or would it just be another betrayal? Would these children think to themselves, “If everyone else says it’s all right so why does it feel so wrong? Why am I so ungrateful as to want a daddy and mommy when everyone says that two mommies are just as good?”

                The children created for same-sex couples will suffer and same sex couples rather than admit that their actions are the cause of their children’s pain will have to deny the pain or blame someone else. They are already demanding that the world be restructured so that their children aren’t exposed to “heterosexist” images of families. A large number of studies have been done on children of lesbian couples. According to the studies, the children in spite of traumatic divorces and other stresses have no problems. This absence of problems is in itself problematic. Could it be that the researchers, the couples, and the children themselves are afraid to admit problems that do exist?

                The denial of the children’s pain and fundamental human right to be conceived in an act of love between a man and a woman who married and committed to the child for life constitutes the gravest evil. Children are not objects, created to satisfy their parents’ needs. At present the law cannot prevent same-sex couples from creating fatherless or motherless children, but making same-sex marriage legal would encourage these couples to acquire children. Same-sex marriage would constitute a legal encouragement of a particularly terrible form of child abuse.

  1. Marriage and Fidelity

                SSA is a psychological disorder in which, for many, sexual addiction is a significant factor. Pro-gay writers readily admit that expecting two men in a sexual relationship to remain faithful is an unrealistic goal. It is expected that over time at least one of the partners will engage in sexual acts with others. Fidelity in these relationships is redefined to mean that the extent and nature of other relationships is negotiated between the partners. To legalize marriages in which infidelity is expected changes the very meaning of marriage.

            Persons with SSA who seek to “marry” undoubtedly hope to escape from the cycle of raised expectations and dashed hopes. They may sincerely believe that “marriage” will solve their problem, but marriage doesn’t resolve psychological problems. The psychological disorders associated with SSA (see Sandfort et al, Archives of General Psychiatry, 2001) make healthy, stable same-sex relationships difficult to achieve.

            Persons with SSA want acceptance, as children they felt rejected, different, unaccepted. For them, the legalization of same-sex marriage would finally force the world to accept them. They are willing to pay the price for that acceptance – the surrender of their true masculine or feminine identity. They want us to agree to the lie that governs their inner life – to say that all they are or can ever be is homosexual – and we must love them enough to say, “No, you are real men and women.”


            The Catholic Church has recently confirmed its long-standing prohibition against the ordination of homosexual men to the priesthood. This has provoked criticism from pro-homosexual activists. It appears that in the recent past dispensations from the rule have been granted that the results have not been positive. A man with untreated Same-Sex Attraction (SSA) should not be ordained a priest because, until he receives some form of healing he is not free – psychologically, emotionally or spiritually to marry or to become a priest who is the sign of Christ, the bridegroom of the Church. According to Catholic teaching:

  • Priesthood is not a job opportunity or even a career. A priest is a man called by God; he has a divine vocation.
  • A priest is called to a sign of God’s fatherhood
  • A priest is called to image Christ, the bridegroom whose loves the Church his bride with spousal love which is the pattern for married love.
  • A priest is called to participate in the brotherhood of priests in unity with the bishops and the Pope.
  • A priest is called to holiness, which must be built on psychological wholeness.
  • A priest is called to live heroic virtue.
  • A priest is called to chastity. In the Roman rite all priests take a vow of celibacy.
  • A priest is called to obedience.
  • A priest is called to serve the truth.
  • A priest is called to love – not erotic love (eros in Greek) but self-giving love (agape love) – the love which makes a man ready to lay down his life for his friends.

                While men with SSA may genuinely desire to be good priests, the very nature of the problem from which they suffer makes it difficult for them to be all that a priest is called to be. SSA is a developmental disorder. Men with SSA are real men, who as boys felt “different” from other males. From the spiritual point of view, SSA can be viewed as the internalization of a lie about the self. Since this process occurs when the child is very young, the child is not morally responsible and cannot be said to have chosen SSA. As the child matures, same-sex sexual desires emerge. Again the adolescent does not choose to have same-sex attractions. However, the lie can become so engrained, so tangled in net of psychological defense mechanisms, that the man truly believes that he was born “gay” and may even insist that God make him that way. It takes time and hard work for a man who has lived for years inside this lie to find his way out, but it is not impossible.

Called to be an image of Christ the bridegroom

                A priest must be a man of truth. He must know the truth about himself – namely that he was made by God to be fully and completely male. He must understand the nuptial meaning of his own body. A priest surrenders his right to take a wife and become a biological father, and accepts God’s call to become a father for all and take the Church as his bride. How can a man who finds spousal love alien be a sign of that love for all?
                The love between two men cannot be a sign of spousal love. The fraternal love between two men is the basis for the brotherhood of priests, and fraternal love is in its essence non-sexual. A man with SSA cannot surrender his right to an intimate, permanent, loving relationship with another man, because he has no right to such a relationship. A sexual relationship between two men whether a one-night encounter or a permanent committed relationship is always objectively sinful.

Called to obedience

                A man with SSA who has convinced himself that he was “born gay”, that “gay” is good, and that change is impossible necessarily rejects the authority of scripture and the unchangeable moral law presented therein. This rejection is rarely confined to that single point of theology. Men who self-identify as “gay” routinely reject the Christian teaching on sexuality in other areas.
                SSA often begins with a boy’s inability to see his father as a model; therefore it is common for men with SSAD to have problems with father figures and with authority.

Called to the brotherhood of priests

                Brothers don’t have sex with brothers. Healthy men have a natural negative reaction to effeminacy in other men and to the very idea of genital acts between men. Most men don’t like being viewed as a sex object by another man. The close bonding within a group of men which creates a healthy solidarity is predicated on the unspoken agreement that the relationship will be totally and absolutely non-sexual.

Called to live heroic virtue

                A priest is called to live heroic virtue. Some have argued that since men with SSAD have suffered rejection and oppression and are sensitive persons, they are uniquely qualified to be priests. However, if they are unhealed – and not only unhealed but unwilling to do the hard work required to be healed – then they are clearly unqualified to examples of the power of the gospel to set men free. SSA is associated with depression, self-pity, envy, and other problems which directly affect a person’s spiritual life. Men with SSA often seek escape through self-comforting behaviors, including substance abuse, sexual fantasy, pornography, acting out alone or with others.
                Christians have too often failed persons with SSA, failed to pray for them and failed to help them find healing. Like the priest and the Pharisee in the parable of the Good Samaritan, Christians have passed by on the other side. Now in a misguided attempt to remedy that past failure some are suggesting that these deeply wounded men should be ordained priests. Such thinking is born out of ignorance concerning the causes and effects of SSA.
                It is important to recognize that SSA is a problem to be healed, not the true identity of the person. Nor is it an either/or proposition. Many men have same-sex temptations or same-sex sexual experiences in their youth and grow up to be free of such problems – although embarrassed and ashamed. SSA is best viewed as a symptom of an underlying problem. The younger a man is when the problem is addressed, the greater the possibility of complete freedom. Careful discernment by spiritual directors and absolute honesty from applicants to the seminary are essential.

What about men with SSAD who have already been ordained as priests?

                Their bishops have a duty to see that therapy and spiritual direction aimed at healing the underlying conflicts is available in every diocese for every priest. Spiritual directors and lay men who provide such therapy and/or spiritual direction must be men of good character who accept without reservations Christian sexual morality and also understand of the causes of SSA and most effective methods of treatment.

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Posted: 2003 02 08