Many of us know someone who experiences same-sex attraction. We seem to be in a bit of a quandary. On the one hand, we see many who follow the lead of our culture and say that there is nothing wrong with the homosexual lifestyle. But this ignores the teachings of God in Scripture. On the other hand, we see many Christians who aggressively reject these people and condemn them to hell. But this is not a loving and Christ-like approach.
So is there another way between these extremes, a response which is both faithful and loving? There is, and it is the Catholic way! When someone experiences same-sex attraction, we need to respond with compassion, kindness, and truth. We affirm that they, like all of us, are loved by God and created for eternal life. They are called to love and to be loved, to become saints. Their sexual attractions do not define their identity: they are sons and daughters of God the Father.
If we love someone, though, we do not encourage them to commit sin. Homosexual acts are sinful and not in accord with God’s plan for sexuality; following the inclination is not the solution, any more than a married person following an inclination to adultery. Those experiencing same-sex attractions will be called, like all single people, to live a life of purity and abstain from sexual relations. Like Sister Mary Gilbert’s story reminded us last week, we need to help them know that they can live without sex, but they can’t live without love. It won’t be easy, but being a Christian is never easy, and it is with Christ that we find the true love we are yearning for.
There are countless people who have lived the homosexual lifestyle promoted in our media and have found themselves feeling empty and unfulfilled. Many have heard the call to pick up their cross and follow Christ, and have found joy and peace that they could never have dreamed possible.
To better understand the beauty of our Catholic teachings regarding homosexuality, I encourage you to check out two recent documentaries online. They are both short, very professionally made, and moving. The first is “The Third Way: Homosexuality and the Catholic Church” and the second is “Desire of the Everlasting Hills”.
The priest who was responsible for the first video was asked, “Millions of people, Catholics and non-Catholics, are angry and hurt by the Church’s position on homosexuality. If you could give a message to them in one sentence, what would it be?”
Father John responded: “I say this compassionately: you don’t really know what the Church teaches on this topic nor do you know why the Church teaches what it does, but if you watch our documentary you will be absolutely amazed and completely surprised.”
— Father Andrew