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The Xfactor response by Mario Gerada

Updated: Oct 31, 2018

Read a few articles about Matthew Grech’s witness on X factor - unfortunately I missed it but just a couple of points in response to what I read as I felt that different issues were discussed in the same mix of things: Read a few articles about Matthew Grech’s witness on X factor - unfortunately I missed it but just a couple of points in response to what I read as I felt that different issues were discussed in the same mix of things:

1. We know that conversation therapy or trying to pray over someone to change his or her sexual orientation is deeply damaging and also traumatizing - thankfully, many within the Catholic Church in Malta also recognize this fact. Some Christian Churches propose this as the way to live a life faithful to Jesus Christ. For LGBTI persons of faith the question remains; how am I to live a life that is faithful to the gospel and as a disciple of Jesus? (Many LGBTI persons of faith witness that conversion therapy is not the way and have also been deeply damaged by it).

2. Gay people are neither doomed to live a chaste life - in the sense of living chastity as a form of punishment for who they are, nor are they doomed to be sexually active (or get married). Chastity may be a life giving option as much as gay couples should not be persecuted for who they love (love and the choices we make out of love and for love, are always a mystery. These should always be choices we make out of freedom).

3. For many LGBTI persons, the struggle between one’s own sexual orientation / gender identity and their faith remains an unresolved struggle. Often gay people find themselves lost in between those who propose promiscuous lifestyles and those who suggest total abstinence. The state recognition of monogamous long-term relationships between persons of the same-sex is a recent development, though of course, gay people have also lived loving and committed relationships throughout the ages. Theologically speaking, the issue of gay sex and unions remains hugely unresolved - calling that union marriage is even more problematic (within the Roman Catholic Church, a number of Christian Churches, and also other religions / faith communities). The separation between a state definition of marriage and a religious one partly resolves the matter - the questions in the hearts of many people remain. I personally feel that dialogue in this area remains necessary and urgent. Faith and religious beliefs remain an important dimension in (many) people’s lives, and I believe that an encounter in a genuine spirit of dialogue in this area may enrich us. Silencing people of faith will not change religious beliefs and will not resolve the struggle which is both personal and social, individual and public. I understand that Government is responsible to legislate in a way that ensures the rights for all. Also, for many LGBTI persons, religion and faith are not important, and also experienced as forces of oppression. And yet, faith and religion have a role to play within the public space and I firmly believe that it is better to struggle together - in search for truth rather than defend our positions from a place of self-righteousness. I also believe that within the Maltese context (at the end of the day) faith does matter... in one way or another.

4. For many gay people, belonging to a faith community remains an important and an essential need. The call to live the gospel is a call that remains open for everyone - no matter who or what they are. For gay people who feel called to live their life in an intimate and sexual relationship while also called to live a life faithful to the gospel, may pose a deeper struggle - but this struggle needs to be lived as an opportunity for creative discernment and never as self-destruction.

5. Gay people are also in need of forgiveness, not because of who they are (in terms of sexual orientation / gender identity) but because we are human, and as humans we make mistakes, and hurt others and/or ourselves, and as humans we are always in need of mercy.

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