It has been interesting to read and view the comments made in the secular media earlier this week about the new film “The Third Way”, and Bishop Dunn’s desire for it to be used as a teaching tool in the Auckland Diocese.
It was exciting to hear that Bishop Dunn found The Third Way thought-provoking, as this is such an important issue.
If you’re a little lost The Third Way is a 38 minute film which discusses homosexuality from the perspective of Catholic men and women who have struggled with same sex attraction. Ultimately they have found hope, love and acceptance as they have embraced the Church’s teaching that all people are called to chastity.
Personal stories are punctuated with commentary on the call to chastity for all from well-known Catholic speakers such as Jason Evert, Chris Stefanik and Christopher West. In these sound bites, it is clear that the Church’s teaching on chastity is for all – whether, heterosexual or homosexual, married or single.
The film challenges the wider Catholic community to treat people who experience same sex attraction with compassion, dignity and respect.
Melinda, who features in the film, notes that “for people who have chosen to live chastity one of the biggest obstacles is isolation and loneliness.” She explains that “the Church has to function as family and as community, and it has to do so in a way that is more powerful and more real than the family and community that people find in the gay scene. At the moment we’re not anywhere near that.”
Still, gay advocates came away not happy and wanting more from the Church.
Trevor Easton, who is the manager of OUTLine NZ (a GLBT telphone helpline) and was very vocal about the film, saw it “as making people feel uncomfortable, unloved, not able to be themselves.”
Critical of the people featured in the film, Easton maintained that it “is portraying gay and lesbian people in a very negative, isolated way.”
These are real people in the film. It is their stories. Their lives. And Easton and the other critics brush them aside as if they do not matter because they are not towing the accepted gay party line.
They are heroic, not only for speaking out, but for living an authentic life of truth and love. Their stories have power to change lives.
It seems very clear that gay advocates will not settle for anything less than the Church changing her doctrines to justify the choices they make.
Just as some of those who are divorced and remarried want the Church to change her doctrines to justify the choices they have made.
Just like those married couples who use artificial methods of birth control to prevent the birth of a child, or IVF to make a child want to justify the choices they make.
But the truth can never change to suit social mores. The truth is constant, never changing. We might find new ways to present that truth, but the truth itself never changes. It is we who must change so that our lives more fully reflect the truth.