This is a topic that has been weighing on me for quite a while now.
As a graduate student in a counseling program (that is quite liberal I might add), I have had to really take a hard look at my beliefs on homosexuality.
The program I am in is extremely pro gay-marriage and are huge advocates for this group that has and continues to be ostracized, oppressed, and discriminated against.
I largely agree with my program. Let me explain before any conclusions are made.
I completely agree with the Catholic Church teaching on homosexuality…but I also agree with my programs basic standards on how to treat people, especially homosexual identifying people.
You see, I think where a lot of people get tricked up in this topic is the lack of compassion they have for differing view points, and that there is nothing to be learned from the “other sides”. I have learned so much from the pro-gay-marriage “side” (if you choose to delineate sides) on the needs of this group in society.
Quite frankly, I am embarrassed that members of my Church or any Christian denomination have successfully ostracized, discriminated, and humiliated homosexuals.
We are so interested in the debate and have forgotten to treat people as people with inherent dignity. (I’m speaking generally here)
The homosexual group has been oppressed and that is just a fact. Homosexual identifying students are at the highest risk for suicide. We need to understand the specific needs of this group. They have 100% been oppressed.
Here’s where my view changes. I don’t think they have been oppressed from marriage…but rather basic human dignity, acceptance, authentic love, and authentic affection.
The reason I don’t think they have been oppressed from marriage is because of my somewhat “radical” beliefs on the definition of marriage. That is that – marriage’s purpose is to be life-giving and be lived chastely (that is…without lust or selfish desire). Yes, chastity is a virtue in marriage.
Unfortunately our culture has twisted and separated marriage and sex from life (via birth control, abortion, and the legalizing of gay-marriage)
You see, I interpret Catholic Teaching in this way..again, my interpretation.
I think if sex does not have the potential to be life giving, then it is a sin. This does NOT mean life has to be produced from every sexual act, but it should be a potential. A man and a woman should be open to it.
So…based on this reasoning, homosexual sex and contraceptive sex are equally wrong. They are not allowing for life. In the case of homosexual sex, it is biologically impossible for life to ever come from it.
Notice…how everything that I am talking about is based on the action not the desire for the act. Homosexual desires or attractions are actually NOT WRONG, believe it or not.
As Catholic Answers so eloquently states: “Homosexual desires, however, are not in themselves sinful. People are subject to a wide variety of sinful desires over which they have little direct control, but these do not become sinful until a person acts upon them, either by acting out the desire or by encouraging the desire and deliberately engaging in fantasies about acting it out. People tempted by homosexual desires, like people tempted by improper heterosexual desires, are not sinning until they act upon those desires in some manner.”
With that in mind, I think many Christians (including myself) have probably done a horrible job making this distinction. We talk about homosexuals as if they are always engaging in homosexual sex.
To me, that is like treating unmarried people as if they are always in state of contracepting or having premarital sex. And what is worse is that we act like homosexual sex is a worse sin than premarital sex, or the use of contraceptives. They are all on the same level…
Why ostracize one and work to embrace the other?
This is where I fall in line with my “liberal” program. They stress treating homosexuals with inherent dignity. The Church teaches this also but many of our member are far from where we could be.
We can stop calling things “gay”.
We can stop making homosexual sex seem worse than other premarital sex.
We can stop rejecting the dialogue about what homosexuals need.
We can stop making homosexuals feel like their desires are disordered or psychotic.
We can stop calling them gross.
We can acknowledge that many of us in the Church have deeply wounded them.
We can simply show genuine love and affection…affection that is not sexualized. (This un-sexualized affection is what we all desire in the end, heterosexual or homosexual)
So what does this mean for homosexual identifying people in the Catholic Church?
All it means is that they are called to chastity…just like the rest of us.
Society tells us there are only 2 options on this issue
1- you stop being homosexual
2- you are homosexual and you have homosexual sex
This amazing documentary suggests the 3rd way…this documentary has given me more insight and relief on this topic than anything else. If you are completely confused, angry, or pissed at anything I have said, just please watch this video before commenting. But know that I am on a journey to fully understand this issue and am seeking the best treatment of all persons. I am learning and hope you will learn with me.
EnCourage is a ministry within Courage dedicated to the spiritual needs of parents, siblings, children, and other relatives and friends of persons who have same-sex attractions.
Standing by the true teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, EnCourage members support one another and their loved ones through discussion, prayer and fellowship.