GAY BASHING & HIV-AIDS
(A Personal Letter)
Recently my Metropolitan Archbishop and Vladyka (Spiritual Father), +Joseph Thaddeus, posted an article about Gay Bashing... then he began receiving replies to his posting which were both critical with an upbraiding about the stand of Orthodox Catholic Christian Churches world wide concerning his writing. He corrected his writing with an honest explanation which tells the story of what is happening in my own life as the HIV/AIDS disease advances further in this body of mine... The majority of replies were not so critical but praising him for his posting. However, Vladyka +Thaddeus is not one to bow to praises and posted a PART II (See the below link) which is in agreement with the upbraiding he received. The question that may linger in many of your minds is why?
It is my personal belief that not a one of us who are in the fight against HIV/AIDS, especially those who suffer from it, can be put aside or left alone as they struggle in this fight to survive.
I urged my friend, companion and Vladyka to not give up the fight against HIV/AIDS nor to give up on helping those of the GLBT community across the nation or around the world. As some of you already know, he was in the fight against HIV/AIDS long before it became known as "HIV/AIDS" and with me he was able to establish a 40 bed facility in Northern California in the mid to late 1980's before he went on a seven and half year sabbatical (for lack of unkind words or phrases) to deal with his need to Protect not only the Seals of the Confessional, but to protect many who were involved in unsavory actions as well as those who were a family that had been at the forefront of the cause for his taking that Sabbatical.
The way of approach for various jurisdictions vary from clergyman to clergyman concerning how to provide help and assistance to those of the GLBT community and those suffering from HIV/AIDS for many there are in these times who are predominantly heterosexual who suffer from the disease too. Yet, many a mainline clergyman suffer from a bit too much arrogant attitudes themselves and believe it is one thing for a homosexual to just say "No" and fail to understand the difficulties involved in providing help to the homosexual to overcome or place Jesus Christ first and foremost in his or her life which is the basis for complete CELIBACY in spirit and in truth. I have yet to see any clergyman of a mainline Orthodox Jurisdiction take a stand to aide and assist anyone of an alternative lifestyle for if they do, having little to no experience themselves, they make suggestions without experience and fail in bringing new sheep to the fold. We cannot, must not and will not bow to Ethnicity as a stand in America to bring someone to Orthodox Catholic Christianity!
While the predominant "mainline" jurisdictions of Orthodoxy take the stand that "...it does not matter how much same-sex couples may "love" each other or how much they remain faithful, they are STILL living in sin, even if they are living a "celibate" life with each other, because they are placing themselves in a situation where the occasion of sin is present, thus, any true Orthodox Catholic priest should not be administering the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist to those who refuse to repent and who insist on remaining in their sinful state. As priests, shepherds of Jesus Christ, we have a right and a duty to speak out against the sin of homosexuality just as we have the right and duty to speak out against ALL sins, those of a sexual nature as well as all other sins. If we are too intimidated due to political correctness, which says that we must refrain from offending others, then we have no right to be in the priesthood and we most certainly have no right to call ourselves Orthodox." Lest one forgets, living life itself is placing one's self in harm's way, that is to say they are placing themselves in a situation where the occasion of sin is very much present no matter where they are or who they be... Thus the struggle has to be a sincere struggle and one that will be a painful struggle for Jesus Christ! Even those who come to Orthodoxy who had been married also share a similar struggle because in the doing, they are tempted by the opposite sex even more so... Thus the argument is not one of Sexuality but of Responsibility that is an every day occurrence for all men and all women as well.
Based on the personal experience of Vladyka +Thaddeus and myself; we have found it is very much possible to live a fully and completely true CELIBATE state without falling into the sins of sexual improprieties... but only with sincere and true desire to reach the Prize of Great Price... which is not very easy... for one does, and will, fall many times over... yet, we believe we have accomplished that feat and that only by the Grace of God and true, sincere struggle. Why? Not only because I have not that long to live, for I've already been told by my previous doctor that I should have been dead several years ago and they cannot fathom the cause or reason for my longevity as it is now... But because as someone who has not had that much of a "religious" upbringing in a family of 4 brothers and adopted sister... where no one was pushed into going to "church" as we understood it in the 1950's. It was not until Valdyka +Thaddeus and me had met that I began the path to understanding "Religion" as being an every day action of not only thoughts and words, but true action in this material world and in my own spirit. It has not been easy and to be honest, there were times I was almost ready to give up and walk away... Vladyka +Thaddeus says of himself that he too was on a path of continual learning and growing in spite of his own mistakes, faults and frailties which are many for any individual. I stuck with him and he with me for he has often said to some like myself, "I will walk to the ends of the earth with you if you are sincere, true and honest with me, or until I am taken from this life, even if you do wrong I shall not give up on you whatsoever." He has been, for me, very faithful to that promise as though it were a vow to not only me but to God. And he's said it many times to others as well but their own weaknesses and material attachments caused for them to walk away for other unholy pastures of self deceptions. It is because, I believe, of our shared struggle out of pain of heart for the faith that my life, and that only by the Grace of God, has been extended in spite of all the odds against me as man-made science has declared! I was diagnosed in 1990 with HIV/AIDS and here it is June 14, 2008... That is a good long time to have that disease for anyone that I know of... And as said, by the Grace of God I continue in this fight for there are many things I believe I can do and say to help others in their own fight even if they be gay or straight... for HIV/AIDS is not a gay disease or a straight disease... it is a disease of all human beings who are or have been sexually active at one time in their life, even if it be only one time! For it is only one time that it takes to contract the disease... because of stupidity...
As some of you already know there are those in society who have continually declared and kept repeating the mistaken belief that HIV/AIDS is a Gay disease. How wrong they are. They SUFFER from both "sexual and HIV/AIDS Dyslexia" (a phrase I coined for those who wish to learn but are caught up in the trap of error.
Yet, there are many more who are not so ignorant but suffer from the complaints of people who know them for what they are... Prejudiced, bigoted people; many of them being so opinionated that they cannot get their heads out of their asses because their bigotry is no different than those who suffer from being racists such as the organization known and called the Minutemen, Aryians, Skinheads, some bikers (not all) and many others. It is because of the likes of most of those kind of people that gay bashing goes on in this country and world wide. They are no different than the fundamentalist Muslim (Islam) who blow up others while hiding behind and using children to do the dirty work. That is not to say that the Minutemen, Aryians, Skinheads, some bikers do those things, but their attitude and arrogant elitism of philosophy and belief is but little to no different.
Vladyka +Thaddeus and my unworthy self have been in the fight against HIV/AIDS for so long now (more than 24 years) as well as bringing members of various GLBT communities to the Light of Christ whereby some have taken on the yoke of Christ and become celibate (as said... a very hard path and therefore a very hard and difficult struggle out of pain of heart for the faith) in their own locations, that we find those areas of special importance. Remember, the Church after all, IS A SPIRITUAL HOSPITAL FOR SICK SOULS - SINNERS WHO COME TO KNOW AND RECOGNIZE THEIR POOR SINFUL STATE....
How do we do it? We do not and will not "hound" any individual in their walk and talk - that is to say their lifestyle. We let them ask questions after they have first found our unworthy selves to be true as friends first. Then they begin their guarded questioning because they still hold to a reserved-ness or reservation of approach towards us knowing that we are truly Orthodox Catholic Clergymen, monks at most. And this knowledge more often than not set people on edge and guarded. Even given the openness of Vladyka +Thaddeus in his often open verbalization of his thoughts, which rather often is a bit shocking to those who do not know him, eventually recognize that he is breaking barriers without the long drawn out approach of humble formalities... He somehow gauges the character and charisma of a person and makes his approach accordingly. You see, we do not "Go It Alone" for in all things we or someone else goes in two by two's so that no one can say ought against any one of us. We find this is necessary in the area we reside which has developed a way that is not only productive but valuable in other terms where far too many are of the heretical cultic groups of Protestantism.
As for Gay Bashing and HIV/AIDS... the same articles apply even more so.... BE SURE TO HIT YOUR BACK BUTTON TO RETURN HERE....
Father Jeffery Matthias, SSJt.
Bishop - Southwest Diocese New Mexico
(Columbus, New Mexico, U.S.A.) -
E-mail me at: email@example.com
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