Excerpts from the article by Fr. Marty Kurylowicz, which first appeared in the church bulletin on Palm Sunday, March 23, 1997, at Holy Family Parish, Sparta, Michigan, where he was pastor for 12 years. This was the beginning process of his "coming out" as a gay priest to his parishioners.
Sunday, March 23, 1997
the beginning of Holy Week
From the Pastor…
A personal journey with Jesus through
Palm Sunday – All hail Jesus as He enters Jerusalem. It is a festive occasion with people laying palms in the path of Christ as He enters Jerusalem. The contrast between this day and the upcoming Good Friday is great. What happened? One minute He could do no wrong and the next minute they are all shouting, “Crucify him, crucify him!” How could the crowd of people change their temperament so quickly? What was Jesus all about that stirred up such a violent emotion in these people? Jesus was about truth and love. Real truth and pure love which comes from God can be extremely frightening in a world where very few people have ever experienced it. Why have they never experienced it?
In a world where people are being hurt, people don’t feel safe to become who they truly are. So, they become someone they think others will love. In order to do this, there is a denial and cover-up of their true feelings and personal responsibility to become all that God created them to be. Once denial begins it can be played out for a long time by a person where the false truly seems real. There is pain and hurt that comes from abandonment…Since the true source of this anger and hatred is hidden by us, we look for another source for its cause. The new false source needs to be one that is obscure, non-threatening and have very few, if any, known accurate details of its existence. Because now we will fill in the blanks of this new source with our reasons for the cause of our misplaced anger and hatred. IGNORANCE about this new source is primary. Any true knowledge about the new source will stop the anger and hatred from being its target…
We become very good at ignoring and denying our personal problems and the work that needs to be done. We run away in our minds so quickly from pain and hurt that we do not want to feel. But we know this process of running is not productive. What we do not know is that we have ingenious, automatic, and convincing ways of running from pain and hurt that we are not even aware we are running. In short, we start becoming a person who may be socially acceptable in the eyes of others, but not the authentic person God made us to be.
Denial is not only played out on a personal level, but also, in a group, such as a family and even society. In families when there is a problem or some addiction going on, often it will not be addressed or defined. It remains hidden and all members play the game. A new scapegoat is found within the group and all the pent-up anger is targeted at this new source. This sickness can go on indefinitely until someone sobers up and names the problems and declares the system isn’t working. That person is likely to be crucified. Because when we are playing the game of denial, “truth” is the end of the game. This is horrifying, because everyone will have to face his or her own personal problems. But if the denial is so severe in a group, a new source for anger must be found and together the group will find it, or otherwise risk being authentic.
In society, denial runs rampant and is fueled by mob hysteria. Mop hysteria is not based on any facts or truth, but it kills the innocent. We have seen the mob hysteria in professional sport games and rock concerts where people were crushed and killed by the momentum of a hysterical crowd. When a society is in denial, they look together for a scapegoat for their anger and hatred regardless of facts. In fact, ignorance of the scapegoat is essential…Let us think about how Russia was hated for a number of years, and then what happened in our nation once the Berlin wall was taken down. Society’s anger from denial begins prowling like a roaring lion looking for another group to devour. And find it, they did. We had the re-emergence of the KKK, which is filled with an assortment of anger and hate targets. The Neo Nazi groups started up, pointing their anger at their usual targets. Church burnings were on the rise…There was the re-emergence of many prejudices once again – focusing on race, color, culture, creed, gender and sexual orientation.
I recently attended [March 7-9, 1997] a national conference on Lesbian/Gay Issues and Catholicism, especially designed for Catholic Church leaders and ministers and sponsored by the New Ways Ministry in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The topic of homosexuality is extremely frightening and taboo for so many people. The incantations spoken by so many people are that it is evil, the work of the devil, unnatural, a sin…this is a group about which hardly anyone speaks openly and intelligently about, and of which very little accurate information is available. I can’t help but laugh to think how this group, humiliatingly and falsely pictured as “fictional fairies”, terrifies so many people as being the downfall and reason for all the world’s problems. This has got to be denial in its most vivid form…What causes people to be so terrified by this subject???
Often…people use the Bible to say that homosexuality is condemned. I had believed this also for a number of years until I started questioning and looking for more concrete answers. Where in the Bible does it say it is condemned? …[the] Bible…[is]…misquoted lacking the insight from scripture scholars. A clear and distinct statement that homosexuality is a sin is not found in the Bible…However, [the] people who try so very hard to find [homosexuality] is a sin in the Bible never hear Jesus’ words condemning self-righteousness many times so clearly stated throughout the Gospels. The way the homosexuals are harassed, belittle, condemned, and at times, severely beaten or even killed, has all the ear markings of some of Pharisee-like people [church leaders-like people] hard at work in their denial and hurting an innocent group [particularly children] they know so very little about.
Biologically the data tells us that homosexuality is not a choice…information from this national conference [New Ways Ministry] was presented by Dr. Richard Isay, a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Cornell Medical College and a faculty member of the Columbia University for Psychoanalytic Training and Research...scientists agree that sexual orientation is set very early in life, [either before birth or very soon after] by age of four and five. The most difficult part to hear was that these children realize that they are different and begin to believe that they were made wrongly which is indirectly inferred by society [antigay social norms]…Why is it when we hear that a child’s life is at risk we take notice? …It was at the time of Desert Storm  that I traveled through the United States landing in major airports and witnessing our youth kissing their families good-bye as they go off to war. I just was so devastated. We simply must come up with better ways to stop our children from being hurt or killed by our adult denial.
About a month ago, I was asked to speak at a group called P-FLAG, which is a support group for parents and friend of lesbians and gays. Before I gave my talk the group was divided into small groups sharing sessions. It is in the sharing [stories] of parents that you hear the pain and suffering of these families. Parents blame themselves as the cause for their children’s homosexual orientation. They are willing to do anything to help but they are weighted down by the [antigay] norms of society. These [antigay social and religious]…norms on sexual orientation is what drives many…children to look for love in all the wrong places, when they have absolutely no reason to…
How long can we remain silent and allow this cruelty…to continue out of ignorance and fear? The people who most emphatically denounce homosexuals are not basing their arguments on true facts, only on facts from hearsay. They are responsible for their words that they use and [the children]…they hurt. They equally need to hear what Jesus clearly stated about hurting children and about a millstone that should be placed around the neck of such people and thrown into the sea.
Biologically, the sexuality of heterosexuals and homosexuals studied together will help us more in understanding the total picture of human sexuality and its difficulties. It is by each person facing their own problems and looking for productive ways of resolving them that will bring us more understanding and love for each other. [If not] we will simply continue to destroy each other…
We say we would have never shouted to Jesus on Good Friday, “Crucify him, crucify him!”...We must forever be vigilant about what is truth and what is love and never think that we know it all. God’s love and truth is enormous…So when we think we have the inside scoop on God’s love and truth, think again, because it is denial. The innocent will suffer because of our denial and blurred beliefs of God. We must forever be vigilant of God’s truths and allow them to expand…us, not us creating our own image of God.
…what was the one sin Jesus so forcefully identified continuously throughout the Gospels? It was the self-righteousness of people who denied their own problems, uncertainties, and who were always accusing everyone else of not living rightly. Self-righteousness is a cover-up…We distract attention from ourselves by focusing on what seems to be flaws in others. In psychological teems this behavior s called projection.
Jesus said…before trying to take the speck out of someone else’s eye, take the plank out of your own first; you wait in the dark to connive and plot to hurt the innocent; you lay impossible burdens on others and do not lift a finger to help them; you look good on the outside, but on the inside you are filled with dead men’s bones. This list…Jesus said publically to the Pharisees [church leaders]. Jesus was always redirecting people back to their personal problems, telling people not to run do not be afraid and know that I am with you always. Jesus came to heal the broken hearted, the suffering, etc., but not the self-righteous. Jesus was ever so kind to the person who came with courage to face him or herself and not run away. Never once did Jesus condemn the sinner who was honest, but raised the person’s self-esteem to begin the work again to finish the beauty that is already created in every individual.
Palm Sunday may be the time we praise Jesus, but Good Friday we must all see how we run from Jesus when we do not stay to face our own problems. Why is this week is called Holy week and why is it so important? Because it is our chance for rebirth by trusting that Jesus is with us as we work to face and resolve our problems. We are uniquely made by God. Do not expect to look like another person or try to be someone else as each script or role is different. Trust that Jesus will never leave us and believe that His truth and love will continue creating His wonder in us.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Martin S. Kurylowicz, Pastor
Sunday, March 23, 1997
News reports: Read more
Surge in anti-gay hate crime cases MercuryNews.com
Prosecuting the Gay Teen Murder TIME
Secret gay 'killed and burned three boys' The Independent News
Gays...threats, rape, murder...CNN.com/world
Life for gay killing...BBC NEWS
Gay...slaying sparks outcry...msnbc
Two gay teenagers were publicly executed...ILGA
Groundbreaking Research on Family Rejection of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Adolescents Establishes Predictive Link to Negative Health Outcomes
Sexual Conversion Therapies, Jack Drescher MD
“Pray Away the Gay” “Groups that proclaim to ‘cure’ gay people of their sexual orientation lack any legitimate medical backing, cause harm ..."