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Annlouisa wrote:

Hi, guys —

Wow! I thought I was asking one person. Look at all the names!

Anyway I'm a woman and am very glad to find your web site. I was born again on January 11th, 1979 and was on-and-off with God for many years. Without boring you with a novel, I entered the Catholic Church five years ago, and in keeping with my past behavior, I have found it difficult to keep away from my sins. I've repented again, thanks to Father Corapi and his courage to yell the truth!

I haven't had a close sponsor since joining the Church and am still not familiar with the ways of the Church, or with certain prayers and behaviors. Anyway, I struggle with homosexuality, and I've dealt with the guilt numerous ways. In these last years its been with alcohol.

I went to Confession last Saturday and told my Confessor my sins. He told me to do 5 Hail Mary's.

  • How do I understand what he said?
  • Is that:
    • a complete 5-decade Rosary
    • just 5 Hail Mary's, or
    • five complete rosaries?

I hope I haven't sinned, but I did three Rosaries: the Joyful, the Sorrowful, and the Glorious.

I received Holy Communion the next day.

  • Did I sin?

It didn't occur to me that I didn't say enough until yesterday. I thought it must have meant one time around the beads, and since I did three, I thought I overdid it.

Thank you!

Sorry for being so long winded.


  { Seeing I struggle with homosexuality and am new to Church ways, did I do my penance correctly? }

Mary Ann replied:

Welcome, Annlouisa.

You have not sinned in doing your penance. A sin is something you know is wrong, and do willfully. As for how do I understand what he said: it means five of the prayers, not five decades.

You might want to read works by Gerard van den Aardveg on homosexuality.
He really helps in understanding.

You may also be interested in these books by Joseph Nicolosi:

You said:
Anyway, I struggle with homosexuality, and I've dealt with the guilt numerous ways.

There is no guilt with homosexuality, only with homosexual behavior. It is common for young girls to have crushes on their friends as they sort out their own identity — a crush being an intense emotional attraction, not necessarily a romantic or sexual one. Girls explore their identity through relationships (Am I like this person or that person? Does this or that person like me?) while boys explore it through competition and group activities. Girls have to go through this intense friendship phase to separate out their own identity — they even have crushes on teachers when they are 7-9.

Unfortunately, since the advent of middle-school sexual behavior, normal relationships get sexualized, and then people can get fixated on that sort of relationship. In addition, many young girls are traumatized by:

  • early father loss or mother loss
  • sexual abuse, or
  • heterosexual behavior that has come to be expected of them and they turn later, for an emotional connection, to females.

The result is the growth of high-school and college lesbianism.

Adults can mis-use these developmental stages, and lead girls astray. This is one reason why the mass consciousness of same sex relationships is so harmful (together with the propaganda about it to children) — normal things get sexualized.

It is also normal for boys to idealize and emulate another boy, and often to have an emotional attachment. In the case of boys who have parental issues or peer relationship issues, this idealization can be romanticized in a narcissistic way and, if a boy is homosexually abused or has an early homosexual encounter, this narcissistic yearning can lead to homosexual behavior which then later becomes fixated as a homosexual identity. This is one reason why, for boys and girls,
it is so wrong to have programs in school that tell children:

"If you feel strongly for someone of the same sex, you might be homosexual."

It all comes from our society not promoting true sexuality. For a sense of the meaning of your sexuality and your womanhood, you might want to read anything on "Theology of the body" and ask the Blessed Mother to intercede for the healing of your feminine wounds.

You also might want to explore the roots of your same sex attraction. You might read Van den Aardveg's book, "The Battle for Normalcy." Realize that the condition does not make you evil, and that you do have some control over your choice of actions, with God's help.

Develop good same sex friendships. Keep up your prayer life and sacraments, avoid scrupulosity, and don't worry.

Hope this helps,

Mary Ann

Mike replied:

Hi Annlouisa,

Thanks for the question.

I just wanted to add on to what Mary Ann said in the beginning of her answer.

The penance the priest asked you to do was just 5 separate Hail Mary prayers.

The prayer goes this way:

Hail Mary, Full of grace, the Lord is with thee
Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God
Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.


The meaning of each of the phrases has been taken from the CCC below:

2676 This twofold movement of prayer to Mary has found a privileged expression in the Ave Maria:

Hail Mary [or Rejoice, Mary]: the greeting of the angel Gabriel opens this prayer. It is God himself who, through his angel as intermediary, greets Mary. Our prayer dares to take up this greeting to Mary with the regard God had for the lowliness of his humble servant and to exult in the joy he finds in her.

Full of grace, the Lord is with thee: These two phrases of the angel's greeting shed light on one another. Mary is full of grace because the Lord is with her. The grace with which she is filled is the presence of him who is the source of all grace. "Rejoice . . . O Daughter of Jerusalem . . . the Lord your God is in your midst." Mary, in whom the Lord himself has just made his dwelling, is the daughter of Zion in person, the ark of the covenant, the place where the glory of the Lord dwells. She is "the dwelling of God . . . with men." Full of grace, Mary is wholly given over to him who has come to dwell in her and whom she is about to give to the world.

Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. After the angel's greeting, we make Elizabeth's greeting our own. "Filled with the Holy Spirit," Elizabeth is the first in the long succession of generations who have called Mary "blessed." "Blessed is she who believed. . . . "Mary is "blessed among women" because she believed in the fulfillment of the Lord's word. Abraham. because of his faith, became a blessing for all the nations of the earth. Mary, because of her faith, became the mother of believers, through whom all nations of the earth receive him who is God's own blessing: Jesus, the "fruit of thy womb."

2677 Holy Mary, Mother of God: With Elizabeth we marvel, "And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" Because she gives us Jesus, her son, Mary is Mother of God and our mother; we can entrust all our cares and petitions to her: she prays for us as she prayed for herself: "Let it be to me according to your word." By entrusting ourselves to her prayer, we abandon ourselves to the will of God together with her: "Thy will be done."

Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death: By asking Mary to pray for us, we acknowledge ourselves to be poor sinners and we address ourselves to the "Mother of Mercy," the All-Holy One. We give ourselves over to her now, in the Today of our lives. And our trust broadens further, already at the present moment, to surrender "the hour of our death" wholly to her care. May she be there as she was at her son's death on the cross. May she welcome us as our mother at the hour of our passing to lead us to her son, Jesus, in paradise.

There are 20 Holy Mysteries that Christians can meditate on while praying the Holy Rosary.
Each one of these 20 mysteries is Scriptural and deals with an important event in Christian history in the lives of both Jesus and Mary, His Mother.

In the same way that our life has its ups and downs, so did Jesus and Mary's.
The Church has grouped these periods of time into four categories:

  • The Joyful mysteries
    • the Annunciation
    • the Visitation
    • the Incarnation or birth of the God-Man, Jesus
    • the Presentation to Simeon and Anna
    • the Finding of the Christ Child in the Temple
  • The Luminous mysteries
    • the Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist
    • the Wedding Feast at Cana
    • the Proclamation of the Gospel by Jesus Himself
    • the Transfiguration of Jesus between Moses and Elijah
    • the Institution of the Eucharist on Holy Thursday
  • The Sorrowful mysteries and
    • the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane
    • the beating and scourging at the pillar
    • the Crowning with Thorns
    • the Carrying of the Cross to Calvary
    • the Crucifixion and Death of Jesus on the Cross
  • The Glorious mysteries
    • The Glorious Resurrection
    • the Ascension into Heaven
    • the Descent of the Holy Spirit on Mary and the Apostles
    • the Glorious Assumption into Heaven of Mary
    • the Crowning of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth.

Each of these mysteries consist of five decades. Each decade represents a special event in the live of Jesus and Mary. During these five decades, we vocally pray aloud while at the same time inwardly meditating on different joyful, luminous, sorrowful, or glorious event in the life of Jesus and Mary. Our previous Pope talked about the importance of this inward meditation. Without it, he said, we can easily fall into the trap of Vain repetition.

Each decade consists of One Our Father prayer and Ten Hail Mary prayers.

Most of the time, if a priest tells you to say the Rosary for a penance, he probably wants you to say one five-decade Rosary from one of the four categories above. If you are ever unsure about your penance, don't be shy about asking the priest what he means. For most people, a five-decade Rosary takes about 15-20 minutes.

If you are interested in learning more about the Rosary, google for a free one on-line today!

Hope this helps,


Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
Suggestions for this web page and the web site can be sent to Mike Humphrey
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