GROSS: I should mention, this is maybe a good place to talk about it, that your brother is gay, and he got married in Canada. And I read that your family left the Catholic Church when your brother came out because the Catholic Church is so, like, anti-homosexual.I feel sorry for Hathaway and her family. It is quite obvious that she has no clue what the Catholic Church teaches about same-sex attraction and therefore hasn't given the Catholic Church a fair shake. She hasn't so much left the Catholic Church as left a false impression of the Catholic Church.
So was it a hard decision or just like a no-brainer to leave the church when your brother came out?
And gosh, was it difficult? You know, when it's family and someone is excluding your family, and someone is not accepting of your family, it does become a bit of a no-brainer, doesnt it?
GROSS: So was it hard for you to leave the church? Was the church important to you before?
Ms. HATHAWAY: Faith is important to me. You know, being raised with one faith and having to go out into the unknown and try to cobble together another, that was hard. But I wasn't really leaving something because I realized I couldn't have faith in this religion that would exclude anyone, particularly my brother, for the way he's born and for loving someone. I mean, how do you exclude someone for love? That seems to be the antithesis of what religion's about.
And by the way, you know, I mean to Catholic Church-bash. I do understand that for a lot of people, the religion provides a lot of peace and direction. But I don't know, if they could be accepting of women and of gays, I think that the religion gets a lot of things right.
But for me, I couldn't lose myself in it. I couldn't look to it for guidance because it's like I said, I don't believe in this aspect.
Also, notice that she admits she will have to "cobble" something together - in other words, she will be making up her own religion. But, this is what she was already doing by not allowing herself to be formed by what the Catholic Church really teaches. This is not to say we should uncritically believe whatever the Church tells us. Rather, we need to examine it (in humility and truth) and do ourselves the service of finding what she really teaches.
These kind of interviews make me sad. To see so many poorly-formed Catholics who reject what they think the Catholic Church teaches makes me want to scream to the nations - "THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS NOT WHAT YOU THINK IT IS!!!"
First of all, the Church does not define the dignity of a person, as Hathaway and so many other do, by a person's actions. Rather, it comes from our shared humanity - being made in the image and likeness of God. Therefore, the Catholic Church does not reject people because it calls a particular act sinful. But, this false understanding of the Church is ingrained in the way modern people think. We identify each other by actions, not by who we truly are in too many ways.
Second, all of us are sinners. If we rejected people because of what they do, then none of us is worthy of being members of the Catholic Church.
Third, if we believe something is spiritually dangerous, then we MUST call it out for what it is - or we fail to love another person.
So, what can we do about it? We can change our lives and proclaim the truth as best we can. Don't pass up opportunities to correct lies about the Church. Don't let someone who is ignorant live in their ignorance. Instruct, invite, witness to the truth, and most importantly - live it out.
Here is a great passage from Light of the World, the new book-length interview of Benedict XVI, where the Pope explains the Catholic position on same-sex attraction:
It is one thing to say that they are human beings with their problems and their joys, that as human beings they deserve respect, even though they have this inclination, and must not be discriminated against because of it. Respect for man is absolutely fundamental and decisive.Pray for fallen-away Catholics.
At the same time, though, sexuality has an intrinsic meaning and direction, which is not homosexual. We could say, if we wanted to put it like this, that evolution has brought forth sexuality for the purpose of reproducing the species. The same thing is true from a theological point of view as well. The meaning and direction of sexuality is to bring about the union of man and woman and, in this way, to give humanity posterity, children, a future. This is the determination internal to the essence of sexuality. Everything else is against sexuality's intrinsic meaning and direction. This is a point we need to hold firm, even if it is not pleasing to our age.
The issue at stake here is the intrinsic truth of sexuality's significance in the constitution of man's being. If someone has a deep-seated homosexual inclinations - and it is still an open question whether these inclinations are really innate or whether they arise in early childhood - if, in any case, they have power over him, this is a great trial for him, just as other trials can afflict other people as well. But this does not mean that homosexuality thereby becomes morally right. Rather, it remains contrary to the essence of what God originally willed.
Evangelize them as well.