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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Comiskey

Personal Path

Andrew Comiskey and Marco Casanova

 

‘Our freedom hinges on realizing truthful integrity.’- St. John Paul II

 

Two groups protest our gathering to help people heal from sexual identity confusion. The first hates that we even link ‘gay’ or ‘trans’ identified people with Jesus and Church; they carry placards—‘God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve’—as the other group shouts, ‘We are here, God made us queer.’

 

We gather to realize something deeper than defensive words: people are most alive when we are being true—true to God, true to loved ones, true to our most authentic selves.


We owe that clarity to what philosophers call metaphysics or ‘natural law’—how things are, including God’s design for our human nature, made in His image. St. Paul refers to that law as written on our hearts (Romans 2:15), what we can’t not know. 

 

But the truth can be hard to get at: our truth may be obscured by layers of hurt, hunger, confusion, pride, and finally, hardness. Some of that can be attributed to sin so deep and subtle that we call it original, at our roots.

 

We need nothing less than Divine help to quicken and clarify what is most true about us. Bring on the Jesus-people who accompany us to the truth of our deepest selves! That discovery may take a lot of time, with unexpected stops and starts. Helpful to note that we encounter more than just our personal sins—we face blocks to normal functioning sourced in sin and disorder other than our own. 

 

Such a process draws from a form of modern philosophy called ‘personalism.’ The latter pertains to one’s unique experience, psychology, and spiritual movement. Though we share universal human truth, each of us is unrepeatable, distinct in his or her personhood, responsible for becoming who one in truth is.

 

I love John Paul’s emphasis on ‘personalism.’ He fought hard to distill its best, unlike many Christian philosophers. To John Paul, each person, however complex, can act to realize what is most authentic about him or herself. Failure to act according to conscience contributes to a false self. ‘Every human act has consequences…the person must answer for it and is responsible for it…if we diminish responsibility, we diminish personality’ (Karol Wojtyla, Person and Act). Though each is subject to brokenness—yours, mine, and ours—we are also endowed with freedom to overcome victimhood and become who we are. 

 

Unblocking personal channels of love and life requires guides with goals, a destination that corresponds with the truth of who we are. Further, helpers and receivers need to cultivate patience and openness on this pathway to wholeness.

 

Pope Francis has highlighted accompaniment for us all, and I value that. He encourages us to do our part in loving people as they are, where they start, and to not impose a host of conditions on one who simply needs a Jesus-person to walk with him or her. Francis is a personalist extraordinaire!

 

My struggle: his lack of clarity in guiding people with sexual identity issues toward a goal that lines up with natural law, the one written on our hearts. He mercifully dropped the Adam and Eve placard. Grateful. But no more helpful is the Pope extending hands to bless Adam and Steve.

 

Same-sex friends in sin need more than ‘blessing.’ If they want to be holy and happy, they need help to realize truthful integrity. Francis’ loss of truth hurts; it is easier but not better for the well-being of people. I feel the same about Christians who concede to a homosexual ‘nature’ and ‘gay’ identification, form homo-emotional/romantic bonds, and then audaciously boast of orthodoxy because they try not to have ‘gay’ sex! Wow. Not integration. A deeper truth about ‘self’ is lost, as is the patient and open pathway to its realization.

 

St. John Paul II can help us here. His philosophical genius lies in anchoring the truth of natural law with a personalist process. While rooting humanity in the beauty of man for woman and woman for man (Love and Responsibility, Theology of the Body), John Paul honors a person’s unique history, experience, spirituality, and need for inspired help in realizing one’s truest self. He exempts no one from responsibility, yet his writings guide us to Jesus who invites us into a real lived experience of integrity. That integrity confirms our human nature while inspiring hard-won freedom to love others better, for the good of all.

 

It is the hard way. We are capable of, and deserve, nothing less. 

 

Recommended Sources:

 

Acosta, Miguel and Adrian J. Reimers. Karol Wojtyła’s Personalist Philosophy: Understanding Person & Act. Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2016.

 

Comiskey, Andrew. Rediscovering Our Lost Fullness: A Guide to Sexual Integration. Manchester: Sophia Institute Press, 2022.

 

John Paul II. Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body. Boston: Pauline Books and Media, 2006.

 

Savage, Deborah. “When the Starting Place Is Lived Experience: The Pastoral and Therapeutic Implications of John Paul II’s Account of the Person.” Christian bioethics: Non-Ecumenical Studies in Medical Morality, Volume 26, Issue 3, December 2020, Pages 269–297.

 

 

West, Christopher. Theology of the Body for Beginners. New York: Beacon Publishing, 2018.

 

Wojtyła, Karol. Love and Responsibility. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1993.


Join Andrew on Desert Streaming each week as he dives deeper into his blog. Watch here or listen on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

 

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