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Veteran's Chaplain


In December 1978 I was blessed by Pope John Paul II. I am a convert to the Roman Catholic Church. In 1994 the ACLU and I won a historic legal case against the Department of the Navy that gained equal employment opportunities for Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) civilian workers. In 2001 I led the effort to dedicate America’s first LGBT Veteran’s Memorial. In 2003 I presented an award to late President Gerald Ford. I am openly gay at my church in Palm Desert and have chosen to be celibate. I “came out” at my church to Republican anti-gay presidential candidate Rick Santorum. I am devoted to the Virgin Mary and I regularly recite the Rosary. Even though my church opposes gay marriage I would never leave my church. It is too important to me.

Recently Pope Benedict XVI said he was going to resign as the Pope. He has been a sharp critic of gay marriage and the use of condoms. So who will be the new Pope is a top concern for gay Catholics like me. Will the next Pope be a gay hater or gay-friendly? The church gives structure and meaning to my life. Who is selected as the next Pope directly impacts my life.

One of the cardinals reportedly being considered as the new Pope has supported the proposed “Kill the Gays” law in Uganda. I personally met with the Christians In Commerce leader of Uganda to talk about this law. I feel that if Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana is selected as the next Pope it will be a disaster for gay Catholics. I am hoping a younger person with more tolerance toward gays will be chosen next month.

The Catholic Church opposes homosexuality, anal sex, oral sex, masturbation, contraception, condoms and other things because the church says sexual intercourse should only take place when the couple is attempting to procreate. I feel the church should realize the vast majority of church members have sex for pleasure. It is hypocritical for a sexually-active heterosexual couple past the age of bearing children to condemn gays because in the eyes of the church the couple is living in sin. I became infected with HIV in 1990 because I did not use a condom. I hope the new Pope approves condom use because it saves lives.

I feel that people who oppose equality for gays lack the self assurance that God truly loves them. The love that you show to others is related to how much you feel that God loves you. If you have the love of God in your heart then you can love gays.

Some people believe homosexuality is a sin. They feel the devil tempts people to be gay. Yet we know God is the author of same-sex attraction. According to Wikipedia “Homosexual behavior is found amongst social birds and mammals, particularly the sea mammals and the primates”. Satan cannot tempt animals to be gay because they have no soul. Homosexuality is part of nature. Please see this web page:


The Catholic Church teaches in the document titled: “PERSONA HUMANA DECLARATION ON CERTAIN QUESTIONS CONCERNING SEXUAL ETHICS” that homosexuality is an orientation and not a lifestyle choice. The church states “homosexuals who are definitively such because of some kind of innate instinct or a pathological constitution judged to be incurable”.

Innate defined as inborn and natural. Pathological defined as compulsive. The Catechism promotes compassion toward gays and that discrimination should not take place. The church permits gays to be priests as long as they are celibate. I have met an openly gay priest in our diocese at a special mass for the LGBT community sponsored by the Bishop.

In Luke chapter three it states that “John the Baptist said, “He (Jesus) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire”. In Romans chapter five it states “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us”. Gays like me have been filled with the Holy Spirit. We have witnessed miracles. We know God loves us.

The first time an English-language Bible contained a condemnation of homosexuality is 1958. In the New Testament the Apostle Paul speaks out against cultic homosexual practices with temple prostitutes. The Romans believed if they had sex with a surrogate for God they would be prosperous. Paul did not condemn homosexuality as we know it today. Since Genesis chapter six people have desired to have sex with the divine. In Sodom a crowd gathered outside of Lot’s house wanting to have sex with angels.

At Gay Christian 101 web pages


you will discover that the Bible affirms gay relationships. In Mathew 19:12 Jesus says “For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb”. Eunuchs who are born that way are gay.

In the Old Testament (! Samuel 20:30) King Saul accuses Jonathan of having a homosexual relationship with David. In the New Testament (Mathew 8 and Luke 7) Jesus heals the gay lover of a Roman centurion. In Acts chapter 8 an Ethiopian gay man is baptized by the Apostle Phillip. There is much Biblical evidence that God is extending his salvation to gays.

I have travelled to Fatima and Lourdes where the Virgin Mary held apparitions. I follow closely Mary’s statements twice per month at Medjugorje. At no time has Mary ever spoken against gays. The only exception is the Bayside New York prophecies which were determined to be a hoax. In my view this demonstrates that Satan stirs up hatred toward gays.

In my book I mention the importance of diversity to God. In the sixteenth century the Bishop of Mexico City asked Juan Diego for a sign that he was really meeting with the Virgin Mary. He asked Juan Diego to have Mary create some red Castilian roses on the snowy mountain top at the next apparition. The next time Juan Diego saw Mary he found many roses. He began to gather the red roses to show the Bishop. Mary said a diversity of roses will be my sign to the Bishop. Then Mary gathered roses of various colors and placed them inside Juan Diego’s tilma.

Hopefully the next Pope will discontinue the church’s vehement opposition to gay marriage.

The Bible says God created Adam and Eve. It does not mention that God created a gay person called Steve.The Bible also does not say God created grandmothers. Even though the Bible does not give God credit for creating grandmothers we know that they do exist in our society. The Bible does not mention Steve but that does not mean God did not create him.

The Catholic Church has not always opposed marriage equality. Gay Christian 101 web page describes two male saints who were married when it says “in the definitive 10th century Greek account of their lives, St. Serge is openly described as the "sweet companion and lover" of St. Bacchus. Please see this web page:


In Genesis chapter two it says the following: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh”. This verse describes the union of a man and woman to procreate. It does not say whether or not a gay man can be the “wife” of another gay man.

The Bible demonstrates God has been willing to bless various kinds of marriages. In Genesis chapter 20 God permits Abraham to marry his sister Sarah. In both Leviticus chapters 18 and 20 this type of marriage was forbidden by God. The children of Israel in the Old Testament asked God to change the laws about marriage several times and each time God approved their request. Gay Christian 101 web page says the following: “The authentic Biblical values of polygamy, marriage with slaves, marriage with virgin prisoners of war and marriage with concubines, are as much a part of family values as the marriage of Adam and Eve”. So God can certainly bless a same-sex marriage.

Please see this web page:


So I hope and pray the new Pope will be receptive to new ideas about LGBT people. I remain a loyal Catholic. I am not trying to disrupt the operation of the church. This article should not be considered a protest against the Catholic Church. The church permits its members to follow their conscience and this is what I believe. I welcome your feedback.

Tom Swann
February 18, 2013


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