Homosexuality and the Church in Africa (Guest: Dr. Janet Smith)

June 14, 2024 00:59:52
Homosexuality and the Church in Africa (Guest: Dr. Janet Smith)
Crisis Point
Homosexuality and the Church in Africa (Guest: Dr. Janet Smith)

Jun 14 2024 | 00:59:52

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Hosted By

Eric Sammons

Show Notes

There's been strong resistance in the African Church to the growing acceptance of homosexuality in the worldwide Catholic Church. We'll talk today with someone who went to Africa to discuss this important issue with Church officials there.
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Episode Transcript

[00:00:11] Speaker A: There's been strong resistance in the african church to the growing acceptance of homosexuality in the worldwide Catholic Church. We'll talk today with someone who went to Africa to discuss this important issue with church officials and seminarians there. Hello, I'm Eric Sanders, your host editor in chief of Crisis magazine. Before we get started, just want to encourage people to like this podcast, to subscribe to our podcast to let other people know about it. Also, you can subscribe to our email newsletter. Just go to crisismagazine.com putting your email address, and we will send our articles to you each day. Also, I just wanted to announce that we now allow commenting, commenting again on the website for donors. So if you've donated to crisis, uh, you can now comment. If you're not sure how to do that, you can just contact us and we'll let you know. But we're excited about that. We literally just turned that on. I think I literally got the first comment today on the website. So. So it's exciting. Hopefully, it'll be a good addition to the website. Okay, so we have Jan Smith with us. I think most people know who she is, but I'm going to still introduce you. Yes. She has recently retired from the father McGivney chair of life ethics at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan. She's the author of Humane Vitae a generation later and a right to privacy. Her volume, entitled Self Gift, contains her previously published essays on humane Vitae and the thought of John Paul II. And I think I said this the last time we were on the podcast, but I very strongly remember that in the 1990s, just becoming Catholic, knowing that contraception wrong, having no idea really why, but just like, okay, I guess so. And then hearing, I think it was your tape, cassette tape on humanity, I was like, okay, now I get it. Now I understand completely why. And so it just did marvelous work. You've done a lot more work than that, too. But that's always in my head. I associate you with that very much, like firming up in my head. My newly catholic have exactly why you're against contraception. So welcome to the program, Janet. [00:02:09] Speaker B: Thank you. Thank you for having me. [00:02:11] Speaker A: So the reason you're on is because you're right. Right now we're in the midst of publishing four part series from you about your trip, your recent trip to Uganda. And so it's a, I'm going to link to the series on the show notes, let people, I encourage people very much to read it. It's fascinating, frankly, to read about what happened there. I think you were there back in February, March or something like that. So why don't you just first start off with, like, how did this all come about? Like, why did you. How did you end up in Uganda? [00:02:41] Speaker B: That's a great question. Too many of my things I do in this world are traced either to just crazy impulsivity or maybe the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference. But I have a friend who for years has been close to a really beautiful priest, a Father Alex Mugulassi from Uganda. And he was here in Ann arbor visiting. And we were chatting, and my friend had told him the sorts of things I do. And he said, would you ever come to Uganda again with deep prayerful discernment? I said, in a minute. In a flash, I got. And so he went back and he talked to the bishops and we tried to come up. I'd love to come, I said, addressing seminarians. I was invited to speak to the five major seminaries in Uganda. Each one of them has 250 students. Seminarians. It just blows one's mind. And so I thought, how could anybody pass that up as an opportunity to shape the church of the future? And as I put before them, all sorts of different possible topics, much to my surprise, they chose homosexuality. And it's a surprise for many reasons. One is that Ugandans hardly believe it exists. Right? They think it's as frequent, they possibly think cannibalism is. Is more frequent than homosexuality. It's just something that is so repugnant to them on the basis, honestly of natural law that they don't think they know any. It's just for them. One rector told me that as a student in seminary maybe 20 years ago, he said, when it came up in their sexual ethics class, he said, what are they talking about? Why do we spend any time on this? And then he said, the first, when he went to Rome, right after he was ordained, the first thing that happened was a man came up to him and asked for his blessing. And he said, is there something specific? And he said, yes, I'm a homosexual. He said, and I don't want to be. And so, of course, he gave him his blessing. But he said, that's when I realized it was real. So question is, why would they want me to speak on a topic that they don't think is real? And part of it is because it's becoming real, and it's becoming real because of western influence, very, very pernicious western influence. Not just the media and the entertainment world, but Uganda has very strong laws against homosexuality in 2023. Very recently, in December, they passed laws which were confirmed laws that were already in existence and possibly made them even a little tighter, was that homosexual predation on youth or the vulnerable is subject to capital punishment and simply homosexual predation, supposed activity with fellow homosexuals, and advocacy of homosexuality is punishable by life imprisonment. Now, I understand the laws are very rarely enforced, but obviously, it sends a really strong message. And part of the reason for the strength of this condemnation is that because of the AIDS crisis, there were so many homosexuals who weren't finding other homosexuals willing to have sex with them because they could transmit the HIV. They decided they were going after boys and the vulnerable. So it was to protect the vulnerables that they have such strong laws. But as a consequence, as you know, and I hope most of your readers know, that western worlds cease giving aid for food and development and all sorts of things unless these impoverished countries adopt the LGBTQ agenda. So there's an enormous pressure being put on Uganda to get rid of these laws and to embrace LGBTQ rights, so called. And even worse. Even worse is I was told this several times when I would talk to priests about what's going on here, they would say, well, it's starting to become a thing here, because activists with these UN LGBTQ groups, they come. Advocacy groups, they come in, and some of the members of those groups are LGBTQ, and they pay the school tuition for young boys if the boys will have sex with them. [00:07:28] Speaker A: Oh, my God. [00:07:29] Speaker B: Was to bring another boy with them to increase the numbers. And this seemed to be what was, again, how this reality was becoming in front of them, was, first, because of HIV, people dying all over the place, and because of homosexual predation, and then secondly, because of the. The real active physical promotion of homosexuality by LGBTQ advocates. [00:07:58] Speaker A: And I think one thing that people never want to talk about, and we know there's lots of various factors that lead somebody to have same sex attraction, but there's unquestionably one of the factors for men particularly, is abuse, sexual abuse as a child, as a young person. And so this is lit. I mean, you're literally creating homosexuals, to put it kind of crudely, by this practice of having these activists come and, like, you know, basically, you know, rape these boys and take care and do that. And so that. That's horrific. I mean, I just. I can't believe that that's. That. I mean, I guess I can believe it's happening these days. But is there, like. So as far as the influence of the west, you know, we're seeing, obviously, there's explicit pushing of it, but how much is, like, is the media over there? Like. Like, do they. Do they watch american shows like Hollywood and stuff like that? Because I know that's. That was a major way in our country, in America, to foster acceptance of homosexuality. Is you had shows like Will and grace back in the day, and then more and more. Are those being. Are those popular over there? And is that kind of weakening the resistance to homosexuality? [00:09:13] Speaker B: Well, you know, I didn't actually discuss that directly, but one remark that was made to me suggests that, oh, boy, do they. Because they said to me, giggling, you know, at one point, do you know that we all think all Americans are gay? So they said. And I'm thinking, well, why would they think that? And I think, well, honestly, I mean, I almost never watch tv, but when I get a chance, when I'm in someone's home and it's on and I'm watching. I'm stunned at how many of the commercials involve promoting LGBTQ relationships, even if it's just, you know, two women or two men in a romantic relationship promoting a certain project. And it looks like it's absolutely the norm. And that's what they've come to believe in Africa, that homosexuality is the norm. So what I used it for was a kind of used it in this way that I said, I'm not here to sort of bring wisdom from the west to the, you know, the underdeveloped, unenlightened people in Africa. I said, I'm trying to ask you to remain strong in your beliefs. Very strong. And to tell you that the west has become almost entirely corrupt, and any values that we're promoting are no longer healthy, strong christian values. They are now corrupt values. And I showed them all these pictures of homosexual men being blessed by Father James Martin. They are appalled. I mean, they laugh, and they almost have a visceral, though response. Is that it? Can that really be? And then I'll show them a picture of two, a married gay couple who have adopted three children, and they can't believe their eyes. And I said, you know where those children come from? They come from surrogacy. These children had been made to be the possession, if you will, of this same sex couple. And I said, who cares about those kids? They're just the satisfying some desire of the couple. And again, they can't believe it. They have no concept of two men buying children, basically through surrogacy. Then I show them pictures of biological males, very obviously so, who claim to be transgendered females receiving a medal for some athletic event. Again, they have a visceral kind of disbelief and also just objection to it. This can't be be. So this is why they think we're all homosexual, is that these kinds of things float into their awareness and they say, what kind of people would accept that kind of reality? Guess how? They're gays. We must all be gay. It was oddly helpful that I was able to show all these things and say, do not go our way. They said, well, they won't give us money and they won't give us. And I said, well, there's some sacrifices worth being made and you have to trust in the Lord that he'll find another way to bring you out of poverty rather than by donations from western nations. I mean, Uganda is a gorgeous country. It's absolutely lush with vegetation and good natural fruits. And, you know, you probably won't starve in Uganda if you're anywhere near wildlife, which is everywhere, coming. You know, the most delicious mangoes I've ever had in my life. Delicious pineapples. Unbelievable. So it could be a very wealthy nation were it not for tyranny. And that's the problem more than anything else. It's not too many children. It's a tyrant who takes everything for himself. [00:13:15] Speaker A: And that's the leader of Uganda is a tyrant. Okay, now, okay, so you were a seminary professor for a long time here in the state before you retired, and now you're. So you were teaching some seminarians. They were giving some lessons to them. How would you, like, contrast them like, now, you were at a good seminary. Let's be clear for everybody who's listening. So my guess is the seminarians there were of a pretty decent caliber. But how does it contrast with what you saw, like, your typical seminarian in America, their attitude towards homosexuality coming in versus the typical ugandan seminary and their attitude towards homosexuality? [00:13:55] Speaker B: Yeah, to some extent. It was hard to get a read because they sort of protected me from them. There are so many of them. And it is the habit of Africans that a minute they get any kind of contact with an american, they want help of some kind. And you just got. I am getting bombarded from emails from a few of the young men who have managed to find me as a contact. I was getting contacts from Africans for decades who, you know, want me to help their wife with infertility or, you know, anything, because they just find your name and they think you must be incredibly wealthy and please help us. So I'm trying to help in various ways. And we will get to that. But as far as making an impression, it was extraordinary. They seem, in Africans in general, at least, Ugandans. Ugandans in general seem to me to have an enormous amount of dignity. I mean, they always were. I mean, you could tell in a minute, you might say, between the typical American and the typical Ugandan. The typical American is wearing a t shirt and jeans. The typical Ugandan is wearing a very nice set of khaki pants and a shirt pressed shirt. All their clothes were clean. All their clothes were pressed, and they were very attractive, fit. Well, they just looked good. [00:15:20] Speaker A: They're not slobs like Americans. [00:15:22] Speaker B: You do not, obviously, if you pass by one of the really poor places, obviously people are wearing rag clothes and are dirty. But as far as anybody that had a job or was off the job on the street, whatever, really impressive in appearance. And the seminarians have that. They have this. There's no such thing as obesity. You have slim, trim young men who are filled with a kind of buoyancy. And what impressed me, I said, where you might get the biggest impression of what education they're getting was in the question and answer periods to my talks. Now, put this in the context is they have no textbooks. They do not have money for textbooks. Their libraries are basically empty. They're non existent. Very few of them have any real contact. They may not even know really how to find stuff on the Internet as far as academic stuff is concerned. I took a bunch of kindles. I don't know what good they'll do. That was one of my little offerings for trying to help them. But their questions were beautifully phrased, and they would stand up in a very poised fashion and not in the least bit nervous or embarrassed. Like, I'm happy talking in front of 250 people like that. And their professors, the professors were all there. And so there's a nervousness in american seminaries about asking questions that might rock the boat. And so you're always being judged, and so the seminarians are always being careful. I did not get that sense of being careful. And, I mean, some of their questions were a little bit off the wall, or it might get you in some trouble with the faculty. And it was just like, I'm going to ask this, and they would ask it, and I had no sense that there would be trouble. I mean, the faculty, you know, I'd sort of. It's my custom. People. People have told me that as a professor, I would always make them feel very careful, like they could ask any question they wanted to. And then when they asked a stupid question, I'd squash them like a bug, is what they said. So unfortunately, I did squash one or two seminarians like a bug when they would ask a question that was really boneheaded. And the other seminarians, of course, love it. I mean, it's just this, you know, raucous laughter after one kid was saying, well, I don't see why homosexuals should ever be forgiven for what they've done. It's just an abomination. It's one of those sins that you should just be sent to hell for. And I said, well. And knowing, you know, that the sexual habits of ugandan seminarians are not considered to be of the absolute purest. And, you know, I said, though they look pure, I don't know. I mean, I don't know. I don't know the extent of the problem. But, you know, I say, well, I think even though it's an abomination, I said, as far as harm that is done to the sinner and the sinners and the consequences, I think fornication is much worse. I said, you get a child that doesn't have a father in his life, you get a woman who's a single mother. I said, the damage of that is enormous. I said, so if that can be forgiven, I don't see why homosexuality shouldn't be forgiven. Of course, Christ forgives all sins when there's true repentance. But it was very funny. It was like those bad sinners over there again, those homosexuals, they're the bad guys. And I said, well, all sexual sin is, of course, very serious. And I think fornication is tremendously serious. In fact, I tried to show them. I said, you know, I know it's not a current problem in your culture, the sense that there's a lot of homosexuals, but there's a ferocious attempt to introduce it. I said, the real problem, it seems to me, again, I'm not an expert in your culture. I just looked stuff up on the Internet. I said, in our culture, huge problem is fatherlessness. 23% of children under 18 in the United States are living in a single parent household. And that's the highest. That's the highest in the western world. I said, in Uganda, it's 10%. I said, it's more than half of. Less than half of ours. I said, but don't let it. Do everything you can in your priesthood to make certain that men take their responsibilities sexually. And that means they should be married and stay married and take care of their children. And I mean, another topic I definitely would have taken up is. Would. Would have been respecting the dignity of women. But, and I sort of snuck that in just a little bit here, there and elsewhere. But. So I'm saying, I'm not saying homosexuality is the biggest problem or the worst thing that can happen. It's just that when it does, look what it's done to us, if it does get to be the same kind of problem in Uganda as it is in the United States. Say goodbye to traditional values. Say goodbye. [00:20:32] Speaker A: I think one of the struggles of kind of understanding the situation in Africa and Uganda for Catholics, particularly as it pertains to homosexuality, is we almost literally have to turn our entire thought process around, because here in America, faithful Catholics were constantly bombarded, constantly attacked, constantly. We're in the month of June right now. You cannot turn sideways without being hit by a rainbow flag. And it's. And it's shoved on our kids all. And so, like, I think our natural reaction as faithful Catholics is, well, first of all, anger, just. And a rejection. And just like, okay, this is evil. We know it's evil. And those are all fine reactions. But it sounds like, reading your articles, what you're saying is it's almost the opposite over there. And so kind of how did you tailor your message to them? Because it sounds like what you talked to them about was nothing like how you would have talked if you went to an american seminary. And so how did you tailor it to them? [00:21:34] Speaker B: Well, it's a difficult thing. As I said when I told them, I said, when I speak on homosexuality in the United States, even to a catholic audience, I have to convince them that it's against God's will. And I talked to them about natural law. Most people don't understand natural law. I mean, simple things that you could say in the past, you know, that the parts don't fit. How is sexual intercourse really achieved in these relationships? I mean, nobody wants to get those images in their mind, but it's kind of important to realize that I make the claim that if homosexuality is natural, God designed their bodies really foolishly. And it's a relationship, especially among males, that leads to enormous amount of dysfunctionality of bodily parts and disease. I said, why would God have designed a relationship that's meant to be physical between two males who are supposedly naturally homosexuals that leads to so much damage physically, even just physically, for the individuals, and has clearly no natural purpose. It's the end of the transmission of human life as far as it goes. But they don't need any convincing. Two men with two men physically. Oh, my gosh. Again, for them, it's like, I don't want to think about it. And scripture, they absolutely understand that scripture is opposed to homosexuality. And, you know, I'm telling you, modern theology in the western world is trying to explain everything away. They don't buy that at the moment. And, I mean, I was a bit, you know, concerned that just as everywhere, they want to send their best off to Rome to study. I said, I don't know. I'm not sure at all. I don't know what they're going to come back teaching. So. But it was quick work to review why homosexuality is against God's plan for sexuality. The second part was, again, convincing them that such individuals need a lot of compassion. They just want to hate them. As I said, damn them to hell. It's an abomination. And you do find that, as you mentioned, among some trads in the United States, it's the same thing. And people do accuse me of being too sympathetic or compassionate or something. There may be some truth in that. I have a real heart for individuals who suffer. I have several. I've been greatly blessed to know quite intimately, good friends, let's put it that way, with several men who are leading chaste lives, but have not in the past. They're very devout Catholics, but the struggle that they've been through, I've gotten to know very, very well, through conversations with them, the hurt that what they walk with in life, most people have no idea, because what they know, they know. The active, in your face, pride parade, predator, homosexuality. That is truly a horrible person. But how did he get there? How did he get there? I'm quite convinced that almost no one chose to be a homosexual. They're not born that way, but they didn't choose it. They didn't one day say, oh, I could have. I could be married and have children, and I could have a normal life, but I'd rather be a gay person having sex in public parks and going to gay bars and getting drunk with other people whose biggest love in life is some sexual encounter. That's what I want. I don't believe it. And from the men I know, they don't believe it. As you. You said, most of them have either been physically abused or abandoned by their fathers. They have, for various reasons, they have very profound issues with their masculine identity. They don't think women will be interested in them since they've been preyed upon as boys. They think the best way to get the attention that they want is from male, which is from males because they didn't get it from their father or they're being sexually abused, ignites within them a homosexual appetite at a very young age. That's how they were introduced to sexuality, and that's not who they think they are. Women don't find me attractive. Masculine men don't want to be friends with me. Homosexual men really love me. They pay me a lot of attention. I have to engage in this act with them, but they embrace me and want me in their company. And then I. I mean, these are from conversations, and I read many biographies of men who have been in the homosexual lifestyle, have discovered Christ, and have embraced chastity. But that journey is a really, really difficult journey. It's much more. I mean, if you know anybody who's been, say, a promiscuous, it's very hard to stop. It's hard to control in watching porn, it's very hard to stop all these parts of your being get ignited, and it's hard to turn them off. It's even harder when it's an unnatural desire by its very nature. Unnatural. The heterosexual who's been out of control sexually, he can get something in his sights, which is, I want to be married and I want to have children. And if I'm going to do that, I have to change my behavior. And the married man who might be tempted, he said, I don't want to lose this. I don't want to lose my wife. I don't want to lose my children. I'm going to stay on the straight and narrow. The homosexual doesn't have that. The homosexual says, if I become chaste, what does that mean? It means I'm going to be lonely. It means I'm going to be lonely. I'm not going to have a family. Heterosexual men are not that interested in me. Heterosexual women just kind of think I'm a cute, sweet, charming little man, but don't see me as a manly man they'd like to marry. So they're lost, all right? And so far as I can tell, the only way that a person, a gay man and there's women are more complicated. But a gay man, for him to embrace chastity means that he has to completely turn his life over to Christ. Now, that makes it, in an odd way, kind of a good thing, because all of us need to radically turn our lives over to Christ. That's we all should do. They need to do it for mere survival, in a certain sense, for mere survival. And that means they have to. Daily mass, daily rosary, spiritual reading, spiritual direction. Staying out of the occasion of sin. Staying out of the occasion of sin, which is not easy, because the occasion in our culture is everywhere. And in their culture, if a kid were to come home, they couldn't even think of this. It wasn't even in their mind, you know? But I said, if a young boy came home and said, or an older child came home and said, mom and dad, I'm homosexual. I said, what do you think would happen? They can't even think. I said, well, my guess is they'd never see their family again. That'd be it. They're gone. It's too shameful to have this under your roof. I said, and do you know what that means? That means you're shoving them right into the homosexual community. That's what it is. So we have to find some way to try to dissuade. Not so much dissuading them from doing this, but persuading them. I mean, they think God hates them. Homosexual men think God hates them because he never would have let them become gay if he loved them, right? So clearly, he abandoned me. I'm not one of his loved ones. If I were a loved one, he never would have let this happen to me. The abuse, the abandonment, whatever. If they figure out that's where it came from. Secondly, he can't love me because I've been engaged in such depraved activity. How could God love dirt? A worm like me? All right? And then they kind of. They hate themselves. They say, I don't want to be this way, but I don't have the inner resources to not be this way. Those are the ones that abandon themselves to the homosexual lifestyle. It's just like, might as well embrace it. I can't fight it. I can't change it. Might as well just. If I'm going to hell, might as well go to hell by indulging myself instead of trying not to indulge myself and failing and hating myself for it and that pattern over and over again. So, you know, I'm certainly not saying. Absolutely not saying. We say, you're okay, I'm okay. God made you this way. It's okay to be gay. Not at all. But I really think that people have to understand the genesis and the catechism basically says this. It says that they. It says they almost be treated with, what is it? Compassion. [00:30:16] Speaker A: Respect and respect. [00:30:20] Speaker B: Compassion. A justice or something. And I want to say, it doesn't say that about adulterers. It doesn't say that about fornicators. And it does say that for most who experience same sexual attraction, this poses for them a trial. It's a trial that was written back in 92. I think that's incredible insight that the church had, that it's a different kind of sin. All right. It's a sin that flows from a. I don't want to say an orientation. I want to say a condition that you've acquired, not that you were born with, that you've acquired largely because of something that has happened to you. And because of something that happened to you. You've made a series of really bad choices because you didn't think you had the interior strength to fight it. And to some extent, I'm not sure you did. The only way you can get that interior strength is from Jesus. You have to throw yourself on God's grace and make your whole life a dependency upon God's grace. Because these are unnatural desires we are given by our nature. The ability to fight natural desires depending upon God's grace makes it, oh, so much easier. But still, by nature, we are able to fight our natural tendencies to sin. But unnatural desires, Satan loves those, and Satan will just latch himself onto those, and we aren't naturally made to fight those. [00:31:57] Speaker A: Yeah, I think one of the things that really opened my eyes was years ago when I helped out with the courage apostle and met a number of men. And just for anybody who first of all, encourage people to check out courage, it does wonderful job. But you, when you get to know some men particularly, and women who struggle with this, you do see that. That reality, what you said, they're not born with it, but they didn't choose it either. And like the best, in my mind, the best movie of all is the desire of everlasting hills, which is that I think you're familiar with it. It focused on three different two men and a woman who have struggled with it. I've gotten to know one of them a little bit. And it just. I honestly think that those who struggle with same sex attract attraction but are living chaste lies through Jesus Christ. I mean, there's some of the most saintly people around, in my opinion, because, like you said, they have nowhere else to go. And there's a certain. There's almost a certain beauty that. Certain freedom to. That when you have nowhere else to go but God. It's like how sometimes poor people are so much more in tune with God than we rich people are. And by rich, I literally mean everybody in America almost, because they have nowhere else to go. We have our western riches to fall back on. And even those of us, like you said, who have, who don't struggle with this condition. We have other places we can kind of find at least contentment on some level, but they have nowhere else but God. And so that makes them kind of desperately cling to him, which is really what we all should be doing. But we tend to find ways to not do that. So I do think that's something, and that's. That's such a contrast from the activists that we see on the televisions we see, you know, at the parade stuff who are screaming and. And doing horrific things and grooming children and all that stuff. Those are people. I mean, they're people who, Jesus loves them, too. We need to realize that. But they are kind of enemies of the church right now, and they need to be treated as such in a certain way. So I do think that's an important thing. So in Uganda, though, are you basically trying to tell them, like, how does that balance happen, though? Because you don't want to weaken their resolve against the sin of homosexuality, obviously. So how do you like bringing that compassion without weakening their good, natural kind of law instinct against homosexuality? [00:34:23] Speaker B: You know, I'm sorry to say I don't have solutions, but I said I had confidence that the ugandan people could come up with solutions. I said, you don't have to look to us. It's your culture. I don't know your culture well enough to know what the solutions would be. But I take, I mean, these are young men and they don't remember when sort of HIV flared up and people were dying by the millions because of AIDS. And the one country, the one single country in the world that made progress in fighting the transmission of HIV was Uganda. All right? In over, like a 1520 year period, it reduced the transmission rate by 88%. And it did. So it had this program called the ABC program. It was abstinence first. Abstain from sex until you're married. All right? So don't have sex unless you're married. Number two was be faithful if you're married. No sex outside of marriage. And the third one was condom use. If you have to have sex, use a condom. But I said, nobody knows about this. I said, nobody knows about this. I was following it closely. I follow all these things, but it's not on the national news. It's not even something that Ugandans know. And one of the reasons that it doesn't get out is because the pharmaceutical companies, of course, lost millions of dollars if people aren't getting HIV and then paying for antivirals and aren't buying tons of condoms and dropping them air dropping them on a country and say, we're not having any of that. Our people can abstain. Our people can practice sexual morality. And they did. I mean, one of the things that delighted me, they were. So I stayed at a priest, residents for priests that it's sort of a study center, but it's mostly priests live there who work for the diocese in various capacities. So they don't have. Have rectories. And then it's a retreat center and it's an educational center, all sorts of things. So I'd have breakfast every morning with a group of ugandan priests who were, again, the loveliest people. I mean, I know this is a trivial thing, but it mattered to me for some reason. They'd have on three nice shirts during the course of a day, all right, because you probably get sweaty or something. So they had three perfectly ironed shirts and they do their own laundry, hand laundry, all right? So every day they'd come to breakfast, lunch and dinner with a different. It made it difficult for me to identify them because I thought at least I could depend upon the same shirt from breakfast, lunch and dinner. So if I met him at breakfast, I thought, I'll certainly recognize him at dinner. But it was difficult. But anyway, these beautiful priests. Where was I? Do you remember where I was? [00:37:15] Speaker A: You were staying at this place. And I think you had a funny story about the fact that you. Where you were staying. [00:37:20] Speaker B: Hmm. [00:37:22] Speaker A: But I don't know where else you're going with that. [00:37:25] Speaker B: We talked about before that. [00:37:27] Speaker A: Well, just the balance between making sure they were. Maintain their, their rejection of homosexual, homosexual acts without, while still letting them recognize how to, how to minister, how to pastor people in that condition. [00:37:42] Speaker B: Well, they certainly did. They certainly asked me about that. They would ask me about how do we minister to such men? And some of them had degrees in psychology, so thank you for reminding me. I said I would put them in touch with some Americans who could help them on that. But again, cultural things are so different. It just doesn't. I didn't think I could really tell them how to do it, but I thought the most, again, they don't talk about sex, not just homosexuality. They don't talk about sex. They have a kind of a proper modesty. But again, just like our culture, you get forced to do that once the corruption enters in. And I was trying to convince them about the necessity of them, again, preaching responsibility to males and not just because of homosexuality. You have to warn young boys if you have this problem of homosexuality coming in through the LGBTQ activists. You have to let them know, let their parents know, have their parents have an eye out for this. And again, it's going to be hard for them to do because they don't talk about these things. So how do you bring it up? Where do you bring it up? But I said it's got. But they knew enough. And again, because they're priests and they hear these things in the confessional and people can find things in them. But I'm not certain it was a widespread piece of knowledge. It did come up. I did read some of the filings for the promoting the law, the advocacy for the law against homosexuality. And it did come up that school teachers go invite in LGBTQ activists because they're been affected by the modern world and they want to be liberal, so they're permitting this and looking the other way. So they know, at least it was that well known that it came into these, the court case, not the legislative efforts. Let's put it that way. [00:39:42] Speaker A: Now, a lot of, like we've talked about, a lot of the kind of introduction and pushing of and promotion of homosexuality has come western media, also from western governments. But did you at all address, did it all come up, the fact that it's also, in its own way, being promoted from the Vatican itself? And how do they, how do they deal with that? Because obviously their bishops in Africa stood up very strongly against fiduciary supplicants. The DDF document that, to bless same sex couples. But, like, how do you, I mean, how you address that throwing issue where you're telling seminarians of the catholic church, you also probably shouldn't listen to the Vatican on this either. [00:40:23] Speaker B: Yeah, I got that question at least once, maybe several times from the young men, like, what do we do when the church doesn't seem to be teaching? What has been the church teaching? And I said, well, I must have been so impressed with at least two of the african bishops, archbishops, Archbishop Ambongo, I think was his name. They didn't know this story. I mean, it goes to show you a certain sense how even though media is available to them, you know, it's spotty. And when, you know, I said, well, do you know that this archbishop, M. Bongo, got on a plane and went to Rome and called up the Holy Father on a Tuesday and said, I need to talk to you. We in Africa are not accepting this fiduccio suplicans. And the Holy Father said, come on over and we'll talk. And he said, the mbango. He said, go talk to. Is it tucho? Is that how we call him that? As a. I hope that's not disrespectful. [00:41:25] Speaker A: People call him Ducci, but just Fernandez, Cardinal Fernandez. [00:41:28] Speaker B: Fernandez. And, you know, talk with him and work it out. And then there were phone calls back and forth between that dicastery and of the congregation of the Faith. And the dicastery, is it. What? Is it dicastery of faith? [00:41:41] Speaker A: Or is it doctrine of faith? [00:41:44] Speaker B: There you go. Sorry. The dicastry of the doctrine of the faith and an exception was made for Africa, you know, and a mongol told the Holy Father, I was here last week for the synod. You could have talked to me then, but you didn't consult with us. I said, there's no other bishop or cardinal in the world that did this. So far as I know, at least it wasn't reported. I said, that's a phenomenal thing and we need african leadership. You need to be true to the values that you have embraced that are yours. Yes. This is what I wanted to say earlier, that every priest I talked to and everyone I talked to told me that in the place that I lived state that 100% of Ugandans believe in God, 100%. And I said, stay that way. Hold on to that. If you understand there's always a higher authority than our own desires and our own passions, you're going to be all right. And so again, just like the Mbango and others seem to think it's that Africa may be impervious to this, I don't think they are. There was another bishop who gave a couple homilies, two homilies before Christmas. I forget his name right now, but I did talk about him and they knew about this one, which was interesting to me, where he said, I made my oath of obedience was ultimately to Jesus, and I can't do or teach anything that's contrary to what Jesus taught. And so whatever comes out of Rome, if it doesn't line up with what Jesus taught, I can't do it now, because there's all sorts of interesting theological tensions there that we understand that the Holy Father and the church properly interpret scripture, etcetera, etcetera. But some things are so obvious, you know, it is like the emperor's new clothes. You just have to say, I don't care how sophisticated you get in all of this, it's very clear that homosexuality is against homosexual behavior, is against God's will. And I don't. I just fear that they'll somehow become so sophisticated that they will get confused on this issue. Years ago, when I was on the Anglican Roman Catholic International commission number three, that brings ten Anglicans and ten Catholics, Roman Catholics, together to try to find some way to overcome our differences and unite again. A bishop from Africa was telling us that Africans are unenlightened about an anglican bishop, are unenlightened about homosexuality. And I took offense, and I just said, why do you think that? Why do you think maybe they are the ones that are staying close to reality and we have become so over educated and quote unquote, sophisticated. Everything is too complicated. You know, the sky is blue and the grass is green. Male does not belong with male. Female does not belong with female. You. Why is that complicated? You know, as you know, I mean, it's become a cliche, but we're in a culture that can't say what a woman is. I want to say, if a culture can't tell you what a woman is, what questions can it answer? And why do we want to export our insane confusion? [00:45:14] Speaker A: That's crazy. Now, in the articles, you mentioned a fundraiser that's going on right now to help out. So could you talk a little bit about that? We'll link to it on this on the podcast, but I'm also linked to it on the articles. But I think this is important, and so I want you to tell us about what's happening here. [00:45:35] Speaker B: Yes, thank you for giving me an opportunity to mention this. The priest that invited me, extraordinary man, spent all our waking hours for three weeks together. And unfortunately, many of my unfortunate characteristics become manifest when I'm tired and hungry and all of that. This guy, I'm telling you simple things like, it's over 72 degrees, I need air conditioning. You know, they're wearing winter coats at 71 degrees. It's so cold for them. So we're in this car, and the whole time we're in the car, he keeps the temperature as I want. It never gives an indication that he might be suffering because for him it's cold. And I never think that maybe, gee, maybe I should yield to him. But anyway, I got to know him well in those three weeks, and he is in charge of the spiritual direction of all the spiritual, of all the seminarians through their spiritual directors, etcetera. And the bishops in Uganda have very, through a long period of discernment and discussion, have decided to establish. We have these in many us seminaries as well, a propedutic year, which means a year of just profound spiritual emotions, immersion before you enter into your theological studies, before they do, in the United States. It's so necessary because we're so worldly and being able to just not look at our phone or social media and spend hours in front of the blessed sacrament. They all have an hour of eucharist adoration every morning in the seminaries that I was in, it was beautiful. I show up, you know, three minutes before seven for Mass, and this full room of, you know, really beautiful young men all praying gorgeously before I even managed to stumble out of bed. And anyway, they're concerned with some justice, with more than a lot of justice, that a lot of these young men are coming into the priesthood because they want to escape poverty and they. They want to have a ready path to, you know, having three meals a day. They work extremely hard. It's hard for me to understand how someone who doesn't genuinely have a vocation can work as hard as they all do. The discipline is very strong. Their days are extremely structured. But they. I talked to Father Alex. I said, what do you do about the young men that come in that you think are there not for a true vocation? And he said, well, first. He said, first of all, they all believe. They're all believers. They're not pretending. They believe in God and Jesus and the church. They do believe in that. Whether they're really ready to embrace celibacy, obedience, etcetera, except for sort of utilitarian motives, that's not so clear. He said, it's my job. He says it's my job to turn them from sort of non genuine, non authentic vocations into authentic vocations. And I want to say, if there's one man that can do it, I'd say it's just by his personal example, I'm telling you. And he's known that way. I mean, everybody that. When everybody mentions Father Alex, it's always like, oh, yeah, Father Alex, we all know he's. I mean, this was. This was one of the most. This was in the first. Less than 24 hours of my being there. He invites me to attend a mass that he's a first time mass that he's saying for some high school teachers, there's maybe 40, 45, I don't know. They're high school teachers, 45 teachers outside in a really dismal kind of outside the residence of these teachers, which are very dismal, subpar, for sure. And again, they're all immaculately dressed. They're more professionally dressed than any american teachers that you see. And at mass, they sing with just the greatest gusto, and everything is done with great reverence. He's on a very. To the altar's a very wobbly table and. But everything is beautiful. Comes time for communion. I'm the only one that went to communion. I'm thinking, what is this about the devotion I heard about in Africa, what's going on here? And he's shocked. And after mass, he steps forward and he said. He said, I can't tell you. Beautiful man, but very fatherly, very sweetly. So I can't tell you how disappointed I am. He said that none of you received communion. He said, I know what that means. You're in a state of mortal sin. He said, I have a pretty good idea what that mortal sin is. You're having sex with your boyfriend or girlfriend. And to these people's credit, I mean, you know what would happen in the US? People would just sit there and say, like, who are you to comment upon my sexual choices? Instead, they're all deeply shamed. You know, heads are down. You know, they're looking at the floor. They're deeply ashamed. And, and, you know, he says, we really need to get this straight. We really need to have, you understand why you need to prefer the Eucharist over any physical pleasure that you might be having. Then after the mass, a young man stood up after father. His father spoke after the mass. And after he spoke, a young man stood up who was the teacher representative of some kind. And he went on and on and on. Now, this is my first day there, so I was not much acclimated to the accent, but I'm sort of picking up some stuff. And afterwards, father, what did he say? He said he had basically agreed with me. And he said during the homily, he had said, we all have a black dog and a white dog in it. And this was right at the beginning of Lent. And he said, the black dog wants to lead us to sin. The white dog wants to lead us to what is good. And in Lent, we starve the black dog and we feed the white dog. That's what this is all about. And so this young man kept repeating that story and said, yep, we're feeding that black dog. He said, we got. It's not going to be easy. I don't know how we're going to do it. But father's right. We need to starve that black dog. And I thought, okay, this is what, this is what, you know, you want to think that embracing the faith means that everybody's going to be holy and going to communion. Well, sometimes embracing the faith means I'm a terrible sinner. And I know I'm not, and I know I can't receive communion, because I'm not. And so I. But his willingness to embrace this. Are you going to announce that you're going to have extra time for confession next time you come? He said, nope. He said, they need catechesis. I'm going to give them several weeks of catechesis, he said, because, you know, in a certain sense, though, he said, there was another occasion, we went to this big diocesan date where he heard confession for 3 hours before the mass, and he said, but sometimes you hear the same confession several times in a row, because they don't really know what to confess. So they asked the person around them, what are you confessing? And so the next five people will confess the same things. But it was. But there was a. Again, there's a dearness to that, you know, that they know they need to code a confession. They're not exactly certain what sin is, because they haven't been thoroughly catechized. But he knows that's what he needs to do. And he said he got phone calls from several of the teachers that said, I know what I'm doing wrong. I need it to go to confession. I'm going to stop. So some people got it right away, but he want to make sure that the others don't just do it out of some pro forma thing. [00:53:02] Speaker A: Yeah. And, you know, people like nobody, obviously, people being immortal, sin is never a good thing, but there's a certain beauty to them not going up for communion, because in America, we know everybody just goes up communion no matter what. I mean, there. Nobody even wants to acknowledge the impossibility. They could be moral sinner. They don't deserve the Eucharist or what have you. And so there's. There's. I guess the best way to put it is you can work with people who have shame for their sins, those people, because it's almost like that's the first step. I actually, in conversion, obviously, is understanding. And that's the big problem in America, I feel, is that if you don't have a sense that you're a sinner, then you don't need a. You don't need a savior. So at least they have that sense that, okay, something is off here, and it wouldn't be right for me to go up. Um, so what exactly then this. The fundraiser for father. What exactly then is it is giving money for. [00:53:54] Speaker B: He already has over 200 young men who are. This would be their first year of seminary, but it's a preliminary year. They don't have a seminary built yet for that. So they're going to have to rent space in the other seminaries. It's not so much renting space, it's paying the staff who take care of it in the food for the seminarians to stay in the seminarians when the other seminarians are away for a vacation or interim or whatever. And so right now he's just meeting with them here, there and elsewhere. But very soon, I think at the end of July, he wants to have that for six weeks, I think, for them all in the same place, because the other seminarians will be gone, gone home for that period of time. So he needs for 200 seminarians. He needs at least $200 for each one, which is peanuts for here. I mean, that would give you a couple days of a week, not six weeks. Each seminarian is required to contribute $70 towards that state, which, again, for them is a huge amount of money, nearly a third of what it costs. We don't expect that. I don't believe we expect that from our seminarians, but from their diocese, but not. Not from them. So this is what we're raising money for. And then he believes that once he gets it up and started, he'll be able to get the money for it. But this is what he needs for the first year, again, it's to help them discern whether or not their vocations are authentic. And honestly, I mean, I understand the principle that charity begins at home and our country is in bad shape, our church is in bad shape. There's a lot of people here who need our financial help, but I do think we. I don't know what it should be, whether it should be 10% of our 10% or 5% of our 10% that we should, I think, give to foreign nations who don't enjoy our prosperity. And this is a good. There's even a little bit of self interest in this. We're going to be getting more and more priests from Africa. And, you know, we've had several here in the Ann Arbor area, and I've heard. I keep hearing from other people. Yeah, we have a priest from Uganda. He's unbelievable. He's unbelievable. So devout, such a believer, etcetera. But we've had unfortunate situations where they've taken up with a woman while they're here and had to be sent back. And I don't want that to happen. I mean, this place is just. I want them come, come strong and to help us be strong and not to be corruptible by our culture. And so I think there's. If these are our priests of the future and if the Africa, I mean, Cardinal Seurat and Cardinal Mueller and I'm sure many others have said Africa is the future of the church. And that's why I think we need to do everything we can to keep them strong and don't let them become corrupted by our culture. They are believing people. They love Jesus. The church is that the culture is saturated with Christianity. Stores are named God's will store. Everything is St. Charles, Wanga something or other, virtually. It's unbelievable. I would say seven out of ten stores, et cetera, have some, certainly schools, and there are schools everywhere. All have the names of saints or something to do with religion. I think it's something like 43% of Ugandans are Catholic, 42% are Anglican. All right. And then there's some Muslims and some Hindus and some Pentecostals and some indigenous religions. But it really is a profound. Over 80, 85% are Christians, Pentecostals over that. So you're probably 90%. So it's saturated with it. You go to the gas station and the guy that pumps the gas has fallen open and he's reading scripture. [00:58:07] Speaker A: Wow. [00:58:07] Speaker B: And you just saw it everywhere. It was so beautiful. [00:58:11] Speaker A: Yes, I think it's a. I agree with you that I think it's a good. I mean, we have, you know, it's interesting. We have such resources here. I know people are struggling financially here as well. I get that. But, like, in comparison, relatively, even our 5% of our 10% is a lot of money to people in Uganda, and that's like $40,000. And he's trying to raise, if I did my math correctly, and I think that's. That's not a lot in this country to raise from a lot of people. So I'll definitely put a link to that. Encourage people to donate if they can, if they're able to, obviously pray for the church in Uganda because like you said, it's not completely disinterested. It has an impact on the church in America, has impact on the church worldwide, because that is where some of the strongest faith is coming from and where we're kind of maintaining, whereas we're losing ground so many other places. We're maintaining even growing there as Catholics. So I think it's important that we support that. So also encourage people. Read the. Read your series articles. I think when this comes out, three out of the four will be out, but I'll have a link to the whole series and so follow that via link. [00:59:17] Speaker B: Eric, I think I split one in two. You may have missed that. I think there's five. [00:59:22] Speaker A: Okay, maybe there's five then. So there's at least four, maybe five. So I had to clarify what that is. Okay, well, thank you, Jan. I really appreciate you being on the program today. [00:59:32] Speaker B: Well, thank you. [00:59:34] Speaker A: Okay, till next time, everybody. God love you.

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