TIVERTON — Same-sex marriages are inherently unstable because they are unions of two wounded people who deserve better, said Dale O'Leary, a nationally renowned Catholic journalist.
"It's not any better for them as it is going to be for the rest of us," said O'Leary during a March 3 lecture at the Church of the Holy Ghost in Tiverton.
O'Leary, author of "One Man One Woman, A Catholic's Guide to Defending Marriage," shared with an audience of almost 200 people her decade-long research into same-sex attraction and her insights into the agenda and tactics of gay activists, especially the redefinition of marriage.
"Sexual orientation is not immutable," said O'Leary, arguing that the best scientific research shows that same-sex attraction develops from early childhood attachment disorders.
"These are people who come to this (lifestyle) with emptiness," said O'Leary, adding that the American Psychiatric Association bowed to political pressure in 1973 in removing homosexuality from its official list of mental and emotional disorders.
O'Leary said subsequent studies aimed at affirming homosexuality have been based on "junk science" and flawed methodologies.
"It is still intrinsically disordered. The church is correct... This was not based on science," O'Leary said.
Sister Elaine (who prefers to use only her first name in publication), of the Franciscan Sisters Minor, agreed with O'Leary. She said she was sexually assaulted as a young child, struggled with same-sex attraction in high school and lived a lesbian lifestyle for "many years" until being "healed" in 1998 on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
"The most important thing for people to understand is that it's not genetic," said Sister Elaine, who entered religious life a year after leaving the homosexual lifestyle. She runs the Courage chapter for Catholics struggling with same-sex attraction at Holy Ghost Church in Tiverton. She has also organized workshops with O'Leary focusing on same-sex attraction.
"Dale talks with truth and compassion," Sister Elaine said.
O'Leary's talk also touched on the controversy over same-sex marriage. She said that the homosexual activists' view of marriage is different from the traditional understanding of a monogamous union of man and woman. O'Leary said her research of the subject shows that people in same-sex relationships are rarely faithful to one another, and said those relationships tend to deteriorate.
"Is that what we think marriage is?" said O'Leary.
"Allowing that kind of relationship to be called marriage changes the whole concept of marriage, and that is their goal."
O'Leary said people of faith have not prayed enough for people with same-sex attraction.
"It's grace that is going to change them. It's grace that is going to give them the courage to face the trauma of their childhood," O'Leary said.
Dr. Sheila Carey-Kuzmic, a pediatrician and parishioner at St. Pius X Church in Westerly, attended O'Leary's lecture, and said that Catholics need to address the issue with love.
"My biggest concern is for those who are sitting in the pews with same-sex attraction. Have we done enough to reach out to them, to get them involved in the sacramental life of the church?" said Carey-Kuzmic. "We have to pray for their souls and salvation. God can heal them."
Cecile Thompson, a resident of Stonington, Conn., who traveled to Tiverton last week, said she took out of O'Leary's lecture an understanding that homosexuality is not "the true self."
"It's not a good thing for them," Thompson said. "We're being uncharitable to pretend otherwise."