Ever have one of those days where you get engaged with a thread online, and it just gets nuts in no time, and reason and logic are thrown out? Well, if that ever happens, keep this in mind:
Facebook (or other social media) is not the place to have that conversation. I would highly recommend you leave redirect the dialogue to an open invitation to learn more (about whatever topic), and admit that you also have room to grow, and that you think it would be great if we could be open to learning and growing together.
Tall order hey? Well, it takes humility, and also trust in God, and an awareness that people who think with their heart, need to be reached in their heart. Aiming for the mind simply won’t work.
But since these things come up often before you get some good training in how to handle these sorts of things, here is a sample message you can pop in those dialogues.
SAMPLE ENTRY WITHIN THE THREAD
Hi everyone- I think we can all agree that Facebook is not necessarily the best place to have a dialogue on some of these matters. Just a few comments in, and we see just how powerfully some people are invested in their way of thinking (whatever it is).
Let us please remember that our reactions reflect the states of our own hearts. Reactions of anger, may indicate that we are angry, reactions of peace, maybe indicate that we are at peace.
There will be little to no ground gained if people are closed to growing, as evidenced by their aggressive rejection of the process of dialogue. We will know in our own heart, who we are, based on how we are responding to one another.
Please for the sake of each other and the hope for the possibility of moving forward in a positive direction, let us challenge each other to be the first to lay down our arms.
Let us also be aware that the perception of being attacked at the mere representation of evidence or commentary, may reflect one’s sincere and possibly deep attachment to a particular world view. It is never “our job” to “change” the heart of someone. That is more than what any person can ever do. Our job is to humble ourselves and to become the least (this is from a Catholic perspective), and while doing so, defend as appropriate, but while also tactfully disengaging where the dialogue will be likely fruitless.
For each one of us, there is only 100 percent of us to go around. Please remember that anger directed at one another takes away from what you are able to offer others.
I invite each and every person here to pray about how we can collectively transform the nature of this thread, into one that is anchored on self-sacrifice and humility. The fighting helps nobody. We must counter that with prayer in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, with the spirit of true charity.
And if anyone is inclined to tell me off, I can live with that. We each look into our own mirrors each day… and I know that the heart of peace reflects an image I am happy to see. At the end of the day, we need to trust that God will have His way done on His time.
End of sample.
Well, with that being said, I urge you to consider how you are directing your energy. There is one of you to go around, and God’s purpose for you will involve growing in virtue… so seek that whilst responding to people online, and then weigh out whether your responses amplify or are of a detrimental nature to God’s plan being revealed.
The challenge is on.
Holy Marriage | A Catholic Response to Same-Sex Marriage
Topic of this article: Holy Marriage. See the previous to this series by clicking HERE.
This is a complex topic, but these resources below should help clarify the Church’s position, and why the Church holds this position. Note that none of this will make any sense unless you are already familiar with the truth that “that which is not specifically chosen” and “that which is specifically chosen” are indeed two distinct items. If not, please refer to this page HERE
Part 1: Holy Marriage
Many people think the Catholic Church hates persons who experience same-sex attractions and who choose to self-identify as gay or lesbian because the Catholic Church does not “let” them become married. Here is the reality: the Catholic Church affirms neither “gay marriage”, nor “straight marriage”. Marriage in both cases contains the underpinning of sexually-centered-identities being embraced by the people involved, if they are indeed approaching their marriage as “gay” or “straight” persons in their way of self-identifying or defining themselves.
Now in this way, the Catholic Church could be perceived to be “homophobic”, because they are not affirming persons into being married as “gay persons”. But if so, that means the Church also needs to be considered “heterophobic” because just as the church does not affirm persons into becoming further invested in the identity of “being gay”, the Church does not affirm persons into becoming further invested in the identity of “being straight”.
The reality is that the Catholic Church affirms only one type of marriage – not “gay” or “homosexual” marriage, not “straight” or “heterosexual” marriage, but rather Holy Marriage; Holy Marriage, in which Christ is at the Center of the marriage, above all else. That situation however is precluded by Christ being at the center of each of the spouses’ lives and embraced identities – and therefore above each of their own sexualities in how they choose to wholeheartedly self-identify as persons.
Part 2: Identifying a Holy Marriage
For the possibility of a Holy Marriage, a specific choice needs to be made by each of the spouses to invite Christ to be the center, the pinnacle, and the anchor of their union. Thus, a Holy Marriage will exhibit the virtue of chastity, because our desire for chastity increases the more and more we actually look to Christ first and foremost for our fulfillment. That is, the more we choose to elevate Christ above ourselves (and above our sexualities), in how we see ourselves and with regards to how we might find fulfillment, the more we will grow in the virtue of chastity.
That is the type of marriage the Catholic Church affirms. That is, one that is intrinsically open to the possibility of babies and bonding, and reflects the fullness of created humanity – like the XX and the XY (without duplication), and in one where Christ is at the center, which is evident by the increased desire of both spouses to grow in chaste relationship with one another.
Part 3: Is the Church Homophobic?
So, when people decry the Church to be homophobic because the Church does not affirm persons into becoming further invested in the gay identity by way of affirming “gay marriages”, we must invite the person making the accusation to understand that by the same logic the Church must also be heterophobic as well, because the Church does not affirm persons into becoming further invested in the straight identity either, by affirming “straight” marriages. But the Church elevates our awareness above the cycle of defining persons and relationships in terms of our sexualities, and thus invites us to elevate our awareness to the point of recognizing that the Church is does not hate “gay people” because it won’t affirm gay marriage, and nor does the Church hate “straight people” because it won’t affirm straight marriage. Rather, the Church simply invites us to elevate the conversation on this topic by inviting us to strive towards understanding what is and what is not Holy Marriage, with Christ at the center, above all else.
Part 4: The Catholic Church Does Not Invent Truth but Rather Upholds It
Because the Catholic Church affirms only Holy Marriage, if there is any couple who chooses to self-identify according to their sexualities – “gay” or “straight” (or anywhere in between), as a means of defining “who they are” – instead of just recognizing their sexualities to be one very important and fully-integrated facet of who they are, the Church – with that knowledge of how that persons choose to self-identify, will not be able to affirm that union as a marriage. That union will have within it, carried within by one or both of the members, the attachment to an embraced identity that elevates their sexuality to be greater than their relationship with God.
When the commitment to a sexually-centered embraced identity is outward, which is easily evidenced by any persons who are pursuing same-sex marriage (because that pursuit is precluded by the persons embracing the idea that “this [being gay] is who I am”), it is not even a matter of debate as to whether or not that union today, or in the future will be potentially able to, reflect that which is existent in a Holy Marriage. That is, the further investment of one into a sexually-centered identity via the pursuit of “marriage”, which is contingent on both persons maintaining that identity of “being gay”, is an outward yet indirect commitment to that embraced identity., and is thus an outward yet indirect commitment to not elevating one’s relationship with God to be greater than one’s sexuality, within the identities specifically chosen to be embraced by those persons.
Part 5: The Church Invites Us to Honest
The reality is that the Church wants us all to be more completely honest with ourselves by first being honest with ourselves about the existence of our sexual attractions, but also by being honest with ourselves about the types of identities that we specifically choose to embrace, and how any identity that is centered on merely one facet of our beings (in this case sexuality) is simply incapable of reflecting the fullness of truth of who we are as persons.
Part 6: The Catholic Church Invites Us to Love
The Catholic Church wants us to love ourselves enough to choose to self-identify in a way that reflects a greater degree of truth and self-honesty of who we are, than choosing to instead embrace any form of identity on just one facet of our beings. That is why the Catholic Church invites us to love ourselves enough to wholeheartedly embrace not the identity of being “gays”, “lesbians”, “straights” and so forth, but rather to embrace the identity of being “persons” – persons who are lovingly created by God, who are fully honest with themselves about their non-specifically chosen attractions, whatever they might be.
Part 7: Your Embraced Identity: It Matters!
When we choose to wholeheartedly embrace the identity of being persons, who are lovingly created by God, or in other words, when we choose to wholeheartedly embrace the identity of being “beloved children of God” first and foremost (while still being honest with ourselves about the existence of our attractions), not only are we choosing to embrace an identity that reflects a greater degree of truth of who we are as persons, but we are also choosing to embrace an identity in which we will come to a greater understanding of and appreciation for chastity (and will be more likely to want to pursue it). As we continue to grow as persons while wholeheartedly embracing this identity which is centered on our relationship with God, and while striving to come to fruition within this embraced identity, our desire to live chastely will increases over time, and our strength to be successful in this endeavor will increase as well. What is revealed by that after-effect of ordering God to be greater than our sexuality in how we choose to wholeheartedly self-identify, is whether or not our current relationships are ones that will glorify God, where chaste living is welcome and encouraged, or are ones that will glorify self (and our sexualities), where chaste living is neither welcome nor encouraged.
Part 8: An Invitation
The next time someone says “gay marriage” and “Catholic” in the same breath, we as Catholics are invited to consider the difference between “gay marriage”, “straight marriage”, and “holy marriage”, which has Christ at the center. We are also invited to invite others to consider this same concept, for in doing so we will be contributing to greater understanding of Church teaching. The intent is not to “convert” people, but rather to gently invite them to challenge their ways of thinking on the matter.
In essence, you will be inviting them to grow beyond the paradigm of reality which they have already become accustomed. If they accept the invitation, then they will enter a new journey of greater awareness. However, if they refuse the invitation, with a resolve to not be open to that invitation in the foreseeable future, then they will be choosing to remain ignorant about the Catholic position. This is a dilemma of sorts, because even in today’s secular world, to specifically choose to remain ignorant is still seen to be an unjust course of inaction. Regardless, your invitation may assist in helping other persons see that only one type of union will draw persons into a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, and that is the one that the Catholic Church affirms, and invites all who are called to marriage to pursue.
Homophobia and the Catholic Church?
Catholic “Homophobia” and “Heterophobia” Explored
This dialogue and article was written by a person who embraces the Catholic faith, despite being permitted the experience of same-sex attractions, but who chooses to remain faithful to the Catholic Church – which, as he denotes, compels him to not participate in anything to do with Pride (or any other form of affirmation towards becoming further invested in the “gay” identity). He wishes to remain anonymous out of fear of retribution – most particularly from Catholics who are invested in the pro-homosexual ideologies. Note that he has contributed to other facets of this site, which is evident by the use of consistent language.
Here is what he had to say…
“Thank you for asking me to clarify why I am here, in the Catholic Church, which as you cite, seems to be the last place someone like me should actually be. I will joyfully share what I have learned that has brought me to this point of being able to openly discuss matters such as homophobia and other difficult related topics. Without derailing the significance of what I am going to say next, I would like to really thank you because it seems that most of the world – including most Catholics simply do not want to hear my side of the story. It is as though they have already become invested in the idea that all we are is “gay” or “straight” and anything beyond that is just not able to be comprehended. I don’t desire to be understood necessarily, but I do desire that people would have an openness to looking beyond the labels of “gay” and “straight” and so forth, when talking about the topic of not just homosexuality, but sexuality altogether.
That would be my one wish – for all persons to wake up to the reality that affirming persons like me into the identity of being “gay” is really to affirm us into embracing labels that basically reduce us to one facet of their beings. The dangerous thing is that as we begin to embrace those types of labels, we begin to grow into what we think they mean…we begin to grow into the labels that are imposed onto us – often times without us even realizing it. It reminds me of those square watermelons they grow in Japan. They grow…but in an inhibited way; within the parameters that the box they have been put into. People do that every time they affirm persons like us into the gay identity, and dear God I wish they would wake up and realize that as the more that happens – the more a person says “being gay “is who I am”, the more a person embraces an incomplete truth about themselves, and the more they embrace their sexuality as what will define them (and how they should pursue fulfillment). The problem with this, is that this pushes out Christ, plain and simple, who teaches us to respect truth and to self-identify first and foremost as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are all called to grow in chastity.
The idea that a person can actually come to fruition as a “gay person” while concurrently coming to fruition as “a beloved child of God” is falsehood. It is a falsehood because Christ draws into disengaging from being invested in the gay identity, and instead draws us to becoming engaged into the pursuit of coming to fruition in an identity centered on our relationship with Him. Those cannot both be pursued at the same time; fruition in the finite and fruition in the finite cannot be pursued authentically at the same time. What this does is draw people into an inner turmoil (I lived it too) where we are seeking fulfillment in both, while at the same time, lying to ourselves that it is possible to come to fruition in both. Until the finite and the not-finite (the infinite) cease to be contradictory self-deprivations of one another, this will always be the case.
The Catholic Church teaches us to honor and respect that truth by inviting us to make a choice with regards to how we will ultimately wholeheartedly choose to self-identify. The problem is, many Catholics of this day have been brainwashed – yes brainwashed to believe that “being gay” is “who someone is” instead of their sexual attractions being one facet of their beings, and thus many Catholics affirm persons like me into becoming further invested into the gay identity. Wherever you see this, you need to address it, for this idea that we should be affirmed into the identity of “being gay” or “being straight” for that matter, is a poison that has been spread not just outside the church in the world today but also within the Church. It is a poison because it affirms persons to not just be honest with themselves about the existence of their sexual attractions and or inclinations (whatever they may be), but it also encourages them to embrace identities centered on that one facet of their being, thus elevating it to be greater than their relationship with Christ, which is what should be how they find their identity in this world, if they are true Christians.
I realize that this is very pointed, but true; a false Christian is evident by their attachment to embracing for themselves or intentionally ascribing onto others, the identities of being “gay”, or any of the LGBTQ labels for that matter, in addition to the identity of “being straight”. I make sure to include that so that people come to realize that this is not simply a “gay” thing, but rather and every persons thing, whereby every person has the choice to wholeheartedly define themselves according to their sexuality, or according to their relationship with God (while still being honest with themselves about the existence of their attractions and or inclinations). If one wanted to claim the Catholic Church was homophobic on account of one’s non-specifically chosen sexual attractions because the Church does refuses to affirm persons into a reductionist form of identity (the church refuses to see us as anything less than beloved children of God), then the Church would also have to be accused of being heterophobic for the same reasons. Just as the Church does not affirm persons into embracing the “gay” identity, neither does the Church affirm persons into embracing the “straight” identity. I love bringing this up because people need to realize that it’s not a “gay” versus “straight” thing! It’s an “embraced sexually-centered identity” versus an “embraced non-sexually-centered identity” thing! This of course could not be more relevant with laws being passed in the world that outlaw “homophobia” – a term that the laws themselves fail to clarify (which is very dangerous)!
Regardless, accusers would have no grounds for claiming the Church was homophobic on account of one’s attractions, since the Church welcomes persons like me as I am, while seeing me for more than my sexuality as a beloved child of God with a definite role and purpose within the Catholic Church. I strive, like all persons who genuinely strive for Christ, to grow in holiness and one of the “side-effects” of that is growth in the virtue of joyful chastity. It breaks my heart how people who do not know the virtue of chastity deride and shame it so much! To me, that indicates that they know exactly how freeing it is – otherwise they wouldn’t hate it so much! They wouldn’t hate it, if it didn’t shine a light onto the misery that many (not all) persons live in a perpetual life of “seek and not find” while pursuing fulfillment in a life of non-chaste relationships! People love to hate chastity and those who promote it, because no one likes looking in the mirror and seeing brokenness, but that is exactly what is in the reflection of anyone who hates the virtue of chastity. And this comment alone I know will be offensive to many, because they have already been scarred so many times, and have begin to numb themselves to the reality that living a non-chaste life is to live an unfulfilling life, where your next hit of action still will not be enough to bring you the satisfaction that you truly desire in your heart. Hey, many of us have had “the next morning” feeling… it never feels good to be used, unless you have already been brought to the point of numbing your soul as a means of coping with your circumstances (some by our own free will, and some not by our free will of course).
Anyway, I could go on and on, but I will close with one important thing before I give you an official “explanation” of Church teaching, that I would say each and every Catholic (and hopefully every person in the world) might one day come to embrace. That last important thing is this: The Church’s welcoming of persons like me – yes even though I experience same-sex attractions, is quite possibly one of the world’s best kept secrets (unfortunately). My only wish is that this secret will become known, for those who experience same-sex attractions but who come to love the Catholic Church will be the most efficacious line of defense for the Catholic Church in this time of imminent and forthcoming persecution (come on, we all know it is already here and it’s going to get worse). Basically, the Church is under attack as we all know, but many persons “by default”, are set against the Catholic Church, because they simply do not know any better (and we are ALL to blame for this).
Anyways, here is what I wanted to share with you for the site. I hope that it inspires people to want to know and or learn more.
[The following is what was written specifically for the POTM website as resource material]
As Catholics we are invited to see each other first and foremost as beloved children of God, regardless of what our sexual attractions and or inclinations might actually be. That is what each and every one of us is called into , but what that does, is call us to elevate how we refer to not just ourselves but also others. That is, we are called to elevate our standard of dialogue on this topic, such that we no longer ascribe sexually-centered identities onto others or ourselves – while still being honest with ourselves about the existence of our sexual attractions and or inclinations, whatever they might be.
In that way, we are fully respectful of the existence of our sexual attractions and or inclinations, and thus are not living in a state of suppression or denial. however, we are also respecting the reality that our sexualities are only one facet of our beings, and thus that labels or identities that are centered on our sexualities are simply incapable of reflecting the fullness of truth of who we are. As well, when we disengage from the practice of using sexually-centered labels and instead ascribe and embrace identities are reflective of the fullness of who we are (by choosing to self-identify as beloved children of God first and foremost), we are choosing to embrace an identity that reflects not just one facet of our beings, but the fullness of our beings, and thus, by doing so we are able to reflect a greater degree of truth of who we are as persons.
With regards to persons who are capable but not willing to disengage from the practice of using (ascribing or embracing) labels that are centered on our sexualities, we need to recognize that as a sure sign of one’s attachment of a paradigm of reality in which one perceives that persons should be defined according to their sexuality. This of course is a paradigm that is in opposition to the catholic Church. It is very valuable for us to recognize this because the matter of one’s willingness to rise above using sexually-centered labels to define persons (including self) is the precise test by which we can see if people are ready to elevate themselves into a dialogue in which Catholic Truth can even have the potential of being reflected, or whether they are committed to expressing themselves in such a way that Catholic teaching is not able to be reflected (inhibited).
In this way, the invitation to all Catholics is given – the invitation to consider whether you will begin (or continue to) affirm persons towards becoming more invested in the identity of being a beloved child of God first and foremost? Or whether you will begin (or continue to) affirm persons towards becoming further invested in the identity of “being gay” first and foremost. We are invited to recognize the reality that we cannot do both; we cannot affirm persons in both directions at the same time. The reason for this is because one identity is centered on the infinite Creator, while the other is centered on finite creation, and “that which is infinite” and “that which is not infinite” are contradictory in nature; the advancement in one nullifies advancement in the other. Thus, they cannot be pursued concurrently. However, that illuminates the reality that if we want to be more completely honest with ourselves with regards to our response to this topic, we need to make a choice with regards to what type of identity in which we affirm persons to become more invested.
It is the Catholic Church who invites us to honor the truth by encouraging us to come to realize that this choice needs to eventually be made. As well, it is the Catholic Church who invites us to honor the truth that the infinite is indeed greater than the finite, and thus the to pursue fruition via the infinite is the journey that we should be affirming ourselves and others into pursuing. The Catholic Church invites us to continue in our journey from wherever we have come from, however on the trajectory that is now anchored on our relationship with our infinite God, and which is pointed in the direction of pursuing fruition in our relationship with infinite God. That is, the Catholic Church welcomes us wherever we are at, to re-orient our journey towards fulfillment to be one that is oriented towards Christ first and foremost, instead of our sexuality, while still encouraging us to be honest with ourselves about the existence of our sexual attractions and or inclinations.
We are also invited to recognize how the world of this day on the other hand, attempts to affirm persons towards pursuing fruition via the finite, by first imposing onto us identities centered on our sexualities, and then teaching us that we should embrace those identities as a means of defining “who we are”. It is important for us to recognize this contrast so that we do not begin to embrace the worldly-promoted falsehood in which “coming to fruition while being anchored on the finite” is elevated to be a means by which we can achieve a greater degree of fulfillment than “coming to fruition while being anchored on the finite”.
In short, the Church offers us the opportunity to seek fulfillment via a journey anchored on the infinite, while the world imposes onto us a journey towards fulfillment that is anchored on the finite. The question that we are all invited to consider is whether or not a journey towards fulfillment that is anchored on “that which is finite” (such as our sexuality in this case) will provide a greater degree of fulfillment than a journey towards fulfillment that is anchored on “that which is infinite” (our infinite God). However, since “the infinite” is greater than “the finite”, and will thus be able to provide more than the finite, we are invited to recognize that the journey that will be able to provide us with the greatest possible degree of fulfillment is the journey that is anchored on the infinite – our infinite God. And this journey begins at the very moment that we make the specific choice to not just “embrace” and “ascribe” the identity of being a beloved child of God first and foremost, but to “wholeheartedly embrace” and to “wholeheartedly ascribe” the identity of being a beloved child of God first and foremost (who is still fully honest with his or her sexual attractions and or inclinations), onto all persons; ourselves and others.
[The following was part of a brief follow-up to the above resource material]
I know that it sounds like a lot to think about, but that’s the reality – it is a complex topic. The media has packaged it into something far too over-simplified. However, the people by and large are not asking questions. They don’t even know that persons like me exist for example – and the media likes it that way, because if people came to see the falsehoods that are embedded within nearly all media reporting, they might actually (gasp) decide to reject or at least challenge what the media puts out there about the Catholic Church. I suppose in the meantime, we should simply invite our youth to learn about media bias, and hope and pray that they are able to detect the strong distaste to Catholics that is present and growing rapidly. It breaks my heart, because these people who misrepresent and or outrightly hate the Church, hate it for what they think it teaches, and not for what it actually does teach. I suppose this shouldn’t be of any surprise to any person who truly understands what it means to follow Christ. They crucified Him, why should we expect anything less? But if we are striving to follow Christ, and the secular world is not seeking to silence or destroy you (in some calculated manner which may be subtle or even silent), then perhaps you need to simply ask yourself if it is truly Jesus Christ you are representing with your life. I hope this makes sense, and I invite you to challenge yourself in this way.
Thank you for permitting me to share my voice – if it helps but one person, it was worth it.”
So what does this all mean for you and I, the average Joe and Jane Catholic? Below is a sneak preview of the answer to this question…
Many people think the Catholic Church hates persons who experience same-sex attractions and who choose to self-identify as gay or lesbian because the Catholic Church does not “let” them become married. Here is the reality: the Catholic Church affirms neither “gay marriage”, nor “straight marriage”. Marriage in both cases contains the underpinning of sexually-centered-identities being embraced by the people involved, if they are indeed approaching their marriage as “gay” or “straight” persons in their way of self-identifying or defining themselves.
Now in this way, the Catholic Church could be perceived to be “homophobic”, because they are not affirming persons into being married as “gay persons”. But if so, that means the Church also needs to be considered “heterophobic” because just as the church does not affirm persons into becoming further invested in the identity of “being gay”, the Church does not affirm persons into becoming further invested in the identity of “being straight”.
The reality is that the Catholic Church affirms only one type of marriage – not “gay” or “homosexual” marriage, not “straight” or “heterosexual” marriage, but rather Holy Marriage; Holy Marriage, in which Christ is at the Center of the marriage, above all else. That situation however is precluded by Christ being at the center of each of the spouses’ lives and embraced identities – and therefore above each of their own sexualities in how they choose to wholeheartedly self-identify as persons.
Frequently Asked Questions about Homosexuality: Long Answers
Q1: Does the Church acknowledge that people are born that way?
A1: The Church, in line with all scientific evidence (which we are invited to examine) acknowledges the scientific position that the genesis of sexual attraction is complex and is influenced by many factors. The Church calls us to challenge the over-simplified [false] idea that we are simply “born that way”. The Church urges us to be mindful of the fact that just because a person’s earliest memories are of “being gay” or “wishing they were the opposite sex”, or “knowing they were different”, it does not indicate an inborn internal position (required to justify the idea that someone is “born that way”). All it does is reveal our earliest memories, with respect to how we relate to ourselves and the people around us.
To see how much of an error it is to attribute these early thoughts and or memories to an inborn position of “being gay” we can examine other areas of our lives in which no specific choice was made. These examples include such situations as behaving with a good temperament as a child, or even being “Catholic” for as long as one can remember. These examples are significant because our temperaments are not written into our beings from birth, and nor are our religious orientations (like “being Catholic”), but for many of us, some of our earliest memories do include certain types of behavior (indicative of a particular temperament), and or also “being Catholic” – both of which are factors influencing our self-concept, however both of which existing despite the non-existence of a specific choice to embrace either of them.
In short, both our external and internal environments play a role in how we develop as persons. Sexuality falls into the same category – and there are sexual-minority activists who are now [begrudgingly] admitting the same thing – that the environment does indeed play a factor, but the degree of influence of those environmental factors is what remains unknown and might possibly remain unknowable. The ever-growing concession that the over-simplified idea that we are “born that way” is false, points us towards being able to make the most scientifically prudent conclusion – and that is to say that we do not fully know or understand what precisely causes one to develop any particular type of sexual attractions and or inclinations. The Catholic Church invites us to come to a greater understanding of the origins of our attractions, knowing full well that the truth that it is far more complex than what is presented by the world, will become revealed. The Catholic Church is free to invite people into this pursuit of greater truth, because the Church fears not what people might discover in their search. It is noteworthy to consider why this invitation to uninhibitedly pursue a greater degree of understanding of this is not able to be given by all persons.
In short, the Catholic Church invites us to grow in our understanding, and She does so, because in that we will come to know and potentially embrace a greater degree of truth and self-honesty about who we are as persons. If we embrace this pursuit of greater truth, eventually what will be rejected is the falsehood that our sexual attractions are genetically wired, and that just because someone has been permitted the experience of same-sex attractions, they are destined to live in permanence as “a gay person”. it is true that a person might experience same-sex attractions their entire life, but for as long as they are able to exercise free will, they will have the choice to center their embraced identities on their sexuality (by embracing the gay identity) or on something greater than their sexualities – namely, the fulness of their personhood.
Our world however puts people in boxes (by the use of labels), and these boxes (labels) form how we grow as persons. Our world teaches us the false dichotomy that persons who have been permitted the experience of same-sex attractions have the choice to either suppress the existence of their attractions (be dishonest with themselves about the existence of those attractions), or to embrace those attractions and be proud within that embraced identity. These options, which are in effect, presented to be the only options, imply that the only way a person who experiences same-sex attractions can be fully honest with themselves is if they eventually come to choose to embrace a sexually-centered identity, such as any one of the LGBTQS identities. That is, the world says to these persons that you can be honest with yourself about “who you are” by being “gay and proud”, or you can be dishonest with yourself and not embrace it as “who you are”. That is, the world promotes heavily the falsehood that if a person who for their own reasons does not want to self-identify according to their sexuality (self-identify as “gay”), even though they have been permitted the experience of same-sex attractions, that person is deceiving themselves. However, if persons choose to do this, while still being honest with themselves about the existence of their sexual attractions, then the accusations of self-deception are invalid.
In short, the world has all but annihilated the opportunity for people to become aware of the truth that we can chose to elevate how we choose to self-identify, while not denying the reality of our sexualities. In doing so, the world has taught the falsehood (disguised as truth) that “being gay” or even “being straight” for that matter is “who we are”, when the reality is that our sexualities are “only one facet of who we are”. The truth is that “who we are” and “only bone facet of who we are” are not equal – one reveals a greater degree of truth of who we are than the other. However, the world has convinced us to believe the falsehood that we can embrace and reflect a greater degree of truth and self-honesty of who we are by choosing to embrace an identity that is centered on “only one facet of who we are” (our sexuality) as opposed to “the fullness of who we are”. Our world does not present the option for persons who experience same-sex attractions to recognize that the fullness of self-honesty arises when we order our sexuality (one facet of who we are) to be lesser than the fullness of our personhood, within the identities we choose to embrace.
In short, the Church acknowledges that inclinations and or orientations may have existed from one’s earliest memories, but the Church does not contradict science by assigning sexual attractions to be a matter of how someone is born. As well, the Church does not contradict logic by affirming persons into embracing the falsehood (in the place of actual truth) that their sexuality is indeed greater than the fullness of their personhood (as reflected in the identity one chooses to embrace).
One other note, the position of the Church also respects the entire realm of neuroplasticity, an area of brain science that speaks towards the malleability of the brain (how the brain is structurally influenced over time). The idea that we are “born that way” with regards to any sort of inclination is an idea that contradicts the entire realm of neuroscience.
Q2: Why would God make people gay when you can’t make children that way?
A2: Note that there is a difference between God making someone that way (which implies the intent of God), and God permitting something to exist within His creation (which does not imply the intent of God). The Catholic position is that in our universe, God permits everything to exist or to occur, and that for every instance of existence or occurrence of anything, we can choose to see it as an opportunity for us to choose to glorify Him – regardless of how positive or negative the circumstances may be perceived to be. With that being said, we are invited to recognize that all we can do is play the cards that we are dealt – by God, and by what God has permitted in our life.
This ability to respond to our present circumstances is of significant importance when it comes to responding to our sexual attractions and or inclinations. This is so, because we don’t specifically choose our sexual attractions and or inclinations (and the Catholic Church recognizes that to be true). However, the existence of any particular attraction or inclination does not necessitate the idea that we were “created/born that way” (created/born with a particular set of sexual attractions and or inclinations). If that were true, we would have to throw out the entire realm of neuroscience, and concede that how we develop and grow in our relationships with others (with or without specific choice existing) has no bearing on the nature of our future relationships with others.
Instead of being fixated on the “born that way” or “God made me this way” style of argument (which does not elevate the conversation towards the level of understanding the role and significance of the identities we choose to embrace as our own), we are invited and encouraged to first recognize that God has permit each and every one of us unique opportunities to glorify Him, and that in order for us to be honest with ourselves, we need to recognize that we have the ability to exercise free will with regards to how we respond to the existence of our sexual attractions and or inclinations.
For us persons who experience same-sex attractions, in a world that teaches us all to center our identities on our sexuality, while at the same time not expressing that our non-specifically chosen sexual attractions and or inclinations are indeed distinct from our specifically chosen embraced identities, it is even a greater challenge to offer ourselves for the service of God, because the culture of the world teaches that we are being dishonest with ourselves if we choose to not embrace the sexually-centered identity of being “gay”. What the culture of the world does not seem to understand is that we can be honest with ourselves about the existence of our sexualities while at the same time seeing ourselves for more than our sexualities.
Though the world actually attempts to pity us, as though we are misdirected, we respond by asking the world “In what way are we being dishonest? We are being honest with ourselves about the existence of our sexual attractions and or inclinations, and we are being honest with ourselves that we are indeed able to make a specific choice with regards to how we should choose to self-identify as persons. Tell us please, in what way are we being dishonest?” In that way, we are able to shine a light on all persons and or groups who have the stated objective of self-honesty, but who are not concerned with self-honesty as much as they are concerned with the matter of embraced identity.
We see it all the time – rejection of our position (to choose to self-identify as persons who are beloved children of God) – even though we are being more completely honest with ourselves, because we see ourselves as more than our sexualities – which ironically is a way of seeing ourselves that actually reflects a greater degree of truth and self-honesty of who we really are! We are more than our sexualities, yet that idea is attacked by the world as some kind of self-deception! I shake my head, but rest knowing that the reasonable people if this world are being illuminated the truth that not all persons and groups who say they are really about promoting self-honesty, are truly about self-honesty. They are more – they are more concerned about the identities that people choose to embrace. If this wasn’t true, then there would be no objection to the idea that one can be honest with themselves about the existence of their same-sex attractions, while rejecting the gay identity. However, this idea is absolutely despised by our world. If you don’t believe me, try posting this idea on YouTube and see what kind of flavorful comments come your way!
Regardless, because there is so much pressure to conform to the box that society wants to put people in (boxes in which we are identified by our sexualities), it becomes even a greater victory for Christ and His Kingdom for each person who chooses to reject that box. For each person who chooses to self-identify first and foremost with God instead of their sexuality, it is a victory for Christ, regardless of what our sexual orientation might be.
In short, what we need to remember is that God permits things to come to be in this universe, and whatever our circumstances, we are never deprived of our free will to choose to put Him first in our lives and in our embraced identities. So, does God “make people gay”? No. Just like he doesn’t make people “straight”. God makes people as people – who have sexualities, not sexualities who happen to be people. Nonetheless, it is people who ascribe identities onto others, and these ascribed identities are of some influence over the development of one’s self-concept, and one’s self-concept is of some influence over the choice one will make with regards to how they will self-identify in the future.
If anything, the most concise summary statement that can be made from all of this is that
a) God creates persons who have sexualities, not sexualities who have persons.
b) Our relationships today are influenced by our prior relationships (regardless of our awareness of intent to be involved in them)
c) The identity ascribed to us does influence our self-concept
d) Our self-concept influences how we proceed with relationships and how we will eventually choose to self-identify
e) Our sexual attractions and or inclinations are not specifically chosen, but we do have the ability to choose how we shall respond to them.
f) We need to be honest with ourselves about the existence of our attractions, but also in how we choose to self-identify.
That is why it is of absolute importance for all Catholics to understand that the greatest degree of self-honesty is reflected when we choose to embrace the truth that we are more than our sexualities and that the labels of being gay or lesbian or even straight for that matter, are simply not able to reflect the fullness of truth of who we are as persons, and thus if we want to embrace a greater degree of truth and self-honesty, we really need to simply do away with those labels (rise above them if you will), while at the same time remaining honest with ourselves about the existence of our sexual attractions and or inclinations.
The benefit of embracing this greater degree of self-honesty is not just the “feel-good” of actually being more honest with ourselves, but rather the benefit is in the transformation of our self-identifying anchor, which serve to be the anchor of our journey towards fulfillment. In short, because how we choose to self-identify influences what we perceive to be fulfilling, our journeys towards fulfillment are influenced by how we choose to self-identify. We need to consider: What anchors that journey? The answer to that question is that the anchor to our journey is whatever we place at the center of “who we are” (with regards to embraced identity). If we choose to self-identify according to our sexualities, then our anchor will be our sexualities – meaning, our perceived “coming to fruition” will involve flourishing in that embraced identity. Thus, what is at the center of that embraced identity is very important!!
The world teaches us that it should be our sexuality, but the Catholic Church invites us to (while acknowledging the gift of sexuality) bump sexuality out of first place, and place Jesus Christ first above all else. Some people say you can have both first, but I invite the logic of that to be considered – our sexuality is finite and Jesus Christ (who is God) is infinite. That which is finite and that which is not-finite have contradictory characteristics, and thus cannot co-occupy the same position in time and space. With that in mind, we really need to make a choice (as Christians, this should not be a difficult choice) – Christ above sexuality should be the shoe-in I would hope.
It is in this pursuit of greater degree of truth and self-honesty that we are invited to consider how the significance of the nature of the anchor makes all the difference with regards to the degree of fulfillment we will be able to experience while here on Earth in each of our own respective journeys. We are given the choice to self-identify in a way that is anchored either on the finite or the infinite, but the degree of fulfillment that we would be able to potentially experience in either case will not be equal, because “that which is infinite” and “that which is finite” are not equal. We are invited to consider how one of those journeys will provide us with a greater degree of fulfillment than the other.
If you acknowledge that “that which is infinite” is greater than “that which is finite”, then it follows that you must acknowledge that the journey that is anchored on “that which is infinite” will indeed be able to provide a greater degree of potential fulfillment than the journey that is anchored on “that which is finite”. That is precisely why the Catholic Church, in Her desire that we should live joyful lives, invites us to remove anything that is finite from being the focal pint of our being and existence – because that which is finite will forever be incapable of providing more than that which is infinite! With regards to the degree of joy that we have the potential to experience while here on earth, it follows then that we will be able to experience a greater degree of joy if we reject any enticement to embrace any form of finite-centered identity – with a sexually-centered identity being only one of those types of identities, and with being “gay” or “straight” and so forth being types of those identities.
In short, when we pursue fulfillment in the Lord (Creator who is infinite) above all else, we will be fulfilled to a greater degree than if we were to pursue fulfillment while embracing a sexually-centered identity (sexuality being finite). The great thing about God’s infinite love and fulfillment is that when we finally get a taste of it (arising from when we wholeheartedly choose to open ourselves to His infinite love), we begin to want more of it!! Our souls know what nourishes, and it is God’s infinite love, and not the finite of this world (although the finite of this world is all created “good”, and should be respected as God’s creation – and used for His glory of course). And the desire to want more of the infinte reduces the desire to want more of the finite – because though we can flip-flop between the two (as many of us do), we simply cannot pursue both at the same time, since the finite and the infinite are contradictory in nature and will pull us in opposite directions.
As our desire to grow as beloved children of God, above all else, increases (because we are craving what God is cookin’), our desire to become fulfilled within a sexually-centered identity diminishes. The pursuit of fulfillment via sexuality gives way to pursuing fulfillment as beloved children of God, which elevates us our desire to be with God to be greater than our desires of the flesh.
God gives us the gift of sexuality, and gives us the free will to choose how we will use it. If we use it to validate ourselves as either “gay” or “straight”, or by any other sexually-centered identity, we are abusing the gift, for a selfish purpose – the purpose of furthering ourselves in our sexual identity, as opposed to furthering ourselves in our identity with God. If we engage in any form of sexual interaction that does not serve to solidify and preserve the existence of a family unit, then we are doing harm to ourselves (and our families) in the present and in the future. All sexual interactions that serve to act as validation in “who we are” as sexual beings, contributes to the eventual destruction of the family unit (and thus the environment of stability for children), because the validation is fleeting – it will “run out” and have to be re-invigorated, which leads to a cycle of sexual gratification. note that this is applicable to all types of relationships, same-sex or opposite-sex.
Q3: Why can’t I be Catholic and support same-sex marriage?
A3: The Church does not prohibit us from choosing to privately disagree (dissent) if there is some teaching that for some reason does not sit well with us. However, the Church does teach that we should honor the Wisdom of the Catholic Church above the Wisdom of our own understanding of our world. It makes sense though if you think about it; you have only lived your lifetime, while the Catholic Church contains the wisdom of 2000 years of lifetimes, and the collective wisdom of all persons who have offered their insight into the clarification of what actually “is” in our universe (remember the teachings are not true because they are Catholic, but rather they are Catholic because they are recognized to be true). In short, the Catholic Church invites us to pursue a greater understanding of why we might be inclined to disagree with Church teaching, such that we may enter a journey towards greater understanding. The opposite would be for a person (or group) to dig their heels in the dirt, and boldly (and unjustifiably) declare that their wisdom exceeds the collective wisdom contained within the 2000 years of the Catholic Church, aggregate of all who have contributed to the Her Wisdom.
On the topic of same-sex marriage (the word marriage being used in the contemporary sense, as described in the same-sex marriage section of this website), many Catholics are choosing to not only privately dissent, but publicly dissent as well. This is where the problem arises, for in public dissent of a particular teaching, there is no invitation given to others to come to a greater degree of understanding of why the Church teaches what it does, and at the same time, public dissent serves to mislead persons into embracing a point of view that is most often devoid of a thorough understanding of Catholic teaching. In short, public dissension is one of the best ways you can deteriorate the Catholic Church, for in doing so, the dissenter draws other persons into coming to dissent as well (with no invitation to pursue an authentic journey towards greater understanding).
When you see people publicly dissenting, you can let that be a signal that they are more interested in having their opinions being heard out than helping preserve the unity (and therefore also the strength) of the Catholic Church. We as Catholics must realize that there is room for dissent – dissent itself is not a bad thing, for that is what draws us to further explore any matter of the day. However, we have the opportunity to respond to our own opinions in a way that serves to unify the Church, or divide the Church. In saying that, we need to evaluate what is really the underlying motivation when we see Catholics (or any other Christian) chiseling away at the unity of the Catholic Church – is it humble service to our loving God who teaches that we should all be as one body in Christ? Or is the motivation the desire to have one’s own opinions be heard from one’s own soap-box, even if the fruits are further division?
Essentially, the bottom line is that when there is some point of Church teaching that we do not agree with, we still have to take responsibility for how we respond to our disagreement. Will be privately dissent, while pursuing an authentic journey towards greater truth of the topic? Or will we declare our own opinions to be greater than the actual collective teachings of the Catholic Church? This puts the onus on us as Christians to take the lead and actually pursue a greater degree of truth, instead of simply resting on our laurels – thinking someone else will “do it for us”. The fact is, no one is going to educate you about your faith more than your own self, motivated by your own desire (inspired by Christ himself) to actually want to know more. However, if you anchor yourself in a particular position, you are responsible for your choice to not pursue a greater degree of truth beyond your own opinion.
It is true that many Catholics ask do this question (and it is a fair question). Some of them choose to outright disregard Catholic teaching on this matter without pursuing a greater degree of truth and understanding, while others (likely fewer) will place their own opinions on hold while they do pursue a greater degree of truth and understanding. Which camp do you find yourself in? Which camp do you think that a Catholic or any other Christian should find themselves in? One that glorifies one’s own opinion above the collective wisdom of 2000 years of thinkers and scholars? Even if a person rejects the authority of the Church, they must still concede that to be honest with themselves, they in their own single life do not encompass a greater breadth of wisdom than 2000 years and countless people who have devoted their lives to the study and defense of the Catholic faith. It’s not on the ego, but it is something we need to recognize if we really want to be honest with ourselves with regards to how our own wisdom stacks up to the collective wisdom of the Catholic Church.
With that being said, I invite you to understand the reasons why a person might want to enter not just a same-sex marriage, but a same-sex relationship. It is important to start at same-sex relationship, because it is what precedes all same-sex marriages. The answer to this is not unlike why people might choose to enter an opposite-sex relationship; it is because for one reason or another, it will satisfy a perceived need, or a desire for fulfillment (and remember, the desire for fulfillment in itself, is a natural thing in each and every one of us). However, we also must remember that each and every one of our journeys towards fulfillment are influenced by our self-concept, and how we eventually choose to self-identify (our embraced identity). That is, how we define ourselves as human beings, actually matters – and it matters greatly, because it influences the decisions we will make as we attempt to come to fruition as persons, within each respective embraced identity.
In short, a person who experiences same-sex attractions will be more inclined to actually pursue same-sex relationships if they believe that within the pursuit of those relationships, they will be able to experience fulfillment in some way. Likewise, a person who experiences opposite-sex attractions will be more inclined to actually pursue opposite-sex relationships if they believe that within the pursuit of those relationships, they will be able to experience fulfillment in some way. However, regardless of what someone’s attractions might actually be, if one’s perception of “what will be fulfilling” is anchored on the falsehood that a person who experiences same-sex attractions “is gay” and a person who experiences opposite-sex attractions “is straight”, then for that person pursuing fulfillment (as a result of a true and natural desire to be fulfilled), will not be able to experience the greatest possible degree of fulfillment that is attainable for humankind. The reason for that is because their journey towards fulfillment in such a case would be anchored on an embraced identity that is centered on our sexuality which is finite. However, because we know that “that which is infinite” is greater than “that which is finite”, and because we know that the infinite does exist (in some intra-universally undefinable way), we know there must exist a journey towards fulfillment that will provide a greater degree of fulfillment than any journey towards fulfillment that is anchored on merely that which is finite. The reason for this of course is because that which is infinite is greater than that which is finite, and thus that which is infinite is able to provide a greater degree of x than that which is finite. Substitute “fulfillment” in place of x and there you have it – the Catholic teaching of why it is intrinsically disordered to pursue fulfillment while wholeheartedly embracing any form of sexually-centered identity.
The question of why we should affirm persons into becoming further invested into these embraced identities that are centered merely on one’s sexuality, is a question that needs to be asked. This is so because this question applies to persons who are pursuing both same-sex relationships and opposite-sex relationships, as well as person who are not pursuing any form of relationship at all. We are invited by the Catholic Church to not only embrace a greater degree of truth and self-honesty about who we are, but we are also invited to embrace a greater degree of truth and self-honesty about our beloved brothers and sisters. That means we are invites to not simply ascribe the labels of gay or straight onto our beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, but rather we are to invite all persons to elevate how they see themselves – so that we can all come to the point of seeing ourselves in light of the fullness of who we are as persons first and foremost (who are beloved children of a loving Creator). This invitation to elevate how we see ourselves is devoid in any dialogue in which sexually-centered identity labels are used in place of referring to persons as persons.
In short, affirming persons into becoming further invested into embraced identities that are not capable of reflecting the fullness of who they are, is not a loving act – it in fact is an act that draws persons away from pursuing a greater degree of truth about who they truly (fully) are. For as long as we are more than our sexualities, this will continue to be true, but it has taken a sexually-centered culture to transform this truth into being perceived as something false – it has taken years of a sexually-centered culture to create the group-think that subscribes to the falsehood that “our sexualities should define who we are as persons” to be true.
In summary, it is the Catholic Church that correctly teaches that the fullness of who we are is greater than any single facet of our beings (including our sexualities), and thus it is the Catholic Church that invites us to understand how any motivations centered on coming to fruition within our sexualities (clearly indicated when people choose to self-identify as “gay” or “straight” and so forth), will forever lead us to a lesser degree of potential fulfillment than any action taken that is motivated on coming to fruition first and foremost within our relationship with Christ who is infinite. The Church teaches us the truth that “that which is infinite” will be able to provide more than “that which is finite”, and the Church invites us to come to embrace that truth. This reflects the Church’s position of love – the Church is inviting us to pursue a greater degree of truth and self-honesty, which if it is embraced, will (and continuously does) transform our lives! Though the Church’s message on homosexuality is misrepresented to be one of hatred, bigotry, and other things of the like, it is the Catholic Church, and only the Catholic Church who invites us into this uninhibited journey towards greater truth and understanding. This invitation does not come from anywhere else, and we need to seriously (but respectfully) evaluate why other groups and movements are not willing to offer that same invitation.
To summarize, the Catholic Church invites us to elevate their journeys towards fulfillment from ones that are anchored in coming to fruition within our sexualities (finite creation) to ones that are anchored in coming to fruition within our relationship with God (finite Creator). It is really that straightforward. Ultimately, the matter really boils down to this one question that all Christians need to ask themselves: Do you want to affirm someone into pursuing fulfillment in “who they are” when “who they are” is defined by their sexuality (finite creation), when you could instead affirm someone towards pursuing fulfillment in “who they are” when “who they are” is defined by their relationship with God (infinite Creator)? We need to follow that question with an evaluation of who or what will provide a greater degree of fulfillment in the lives of all persons. Again, for as long as the infinite is greater than the finite, the greater degree of fulfillment will be potentially experienced when one strives to come to fruition in a journey towards fulfillment that is anchored on the infinite (God).
In short, when we affirm persons (same-sex attracted, opposite-sex attracted, or anywhere in between) into embracing sexually-centered identities, we contribute to their potential future choice to specifically choose to embrace a sexually-centered identity as “who they are” (which we know is to embrace a falsehood, because our sexual attractions are only one facet of who we are, and we are more than that). This embracing of the sexually-centered identity, which we are partly responsible for, to the degree that we affirmed them towards making the specific choice to embrace that particular sexually-centered identity, is something that sets a person’s journey towards fulfillment to be anchored on coming to fruition within their sexuality (finite). Therefore, affirming persons into pursuing a life that further invests them into a sexually-centered identity, does nothing more than contribute to and or compound one’s distance from potentially eventually coming to embrace an identity that is centered first and foremost on their relationship with our infinite God (evidenced by one’s specific choice to wholeheartedly embrace the identity of being “a beloved child of God” above all else.
In short, the Catholic Church invites us to consider how our responses to this entire topic of homosexuality does or does not contribute to the transformation of their embraced identity from one that is centered on their sexuality, to one that is centered on their relationship with God. Further, since we know that infinite God can provide more than finite creation, we really need to ask ourselves why, if we truly love people, we would actually want to affirm anyone into pursuing any form of action that would serve to further them towards becoming further invested in an embraced identity centered on merely their sexuality. As mentioned before, we know that the infinite is able to provide more than the finite, thus we will be held accountable to our awareness of that truth. The good news is that we can face that truth with a free and clear heart when we teach authentic Catholic teaching on not just homosexuality, but sexuality itself. We are able to honor and uphold that truth within our approach to sexuality, and in that invite all persons to pursue an uninhibited journey towards greater truth. The Catholic Church offers invitation to us so that we can come to see that the Catholic response to same-sex marriage is rooted in a hatred for persons who experience same-sex attractions, but rather because the Church recognizes that any journey towards fulfillment that is anchored on our sexuality will never bring forth the possibility of our desire for fulfillment, to be fulfilled in the most complete way.
Q4: What about people who are happy in a same-sex relationship?
A4:We need to recognize that happy is not the same as joyful, and that happiness can exist without any degree of truth or self-honesty. We have an obligation to appropriately invite all persons into a pursuit of greater truth and self-honesty, for we know that it is in embracing greater truth and self-honesty that we experience a greater degree of joy. Am I saying people in a same-sex relationship are being dishonest? No, but “honesty” is something that can only be spoken about when paired with level of self-awareness and knowledge. If you have a red crayon and you tell your little brother it is blue, and he does not yet know his colors, he can go share that the crayon “is blue” to another human being, without compromising his degree of self-honesty. However, once he learns that the crayon is indeed red, for him to continue to tell people that the crayon “is blue” would be for him to compromise truth and self-honesty. Further, if he or she were to continue to believe it was true, even though he knew deep inside that it was false, he would be compromising self-honesty. Thus is the case with any person in any relationship. If persons are approaching a relationship where one or both persons are embracing sexually-centered identities, then one or both persons are living out their lived with an embedded falsehood that sexuality is greater than the fullness of personhood (which is evident in their choice of self-identifying labels). Both people could in fact be “happy”, while living with that falsehood embedded into their paradigm of reality (the falsehood that identifying according to their sexuality does not disorder the relationship between sexuality and the fullness of personhood). However, for as long as that falsehood is present (for as long as a person chooses to order sexuality above the fullness of their personhood in their embraced identity), the fullness of joy will not be able to be experienced, for joy is dependent on truth – and not simply on “what makes us happy”. We need to be a loving presence to persons in this situation so that they can feel safe growing in their relationship with Christ, such that they desire for their own life, Christ more than anything (which needs to come before anyone would choose to put Christ at the center of their lives and identity). That means, to persons who are happy in a same-sex relationship, we need to respond to them with love, affirm them that we love them as beloved children of God, and if necessary, affirm them in the teachings of the Catholic Church, which elevates us out of the sexually-centered labels into the identity that properly orders personhood to be greater than sexuality, reflected in the identity of being beloved children of God, above all else(while being honest with ourselves about the existence of our sexual attractions and or inclinations). Again, we need to affirm all people into knowing that they are loved by the Catholic Church (which will be evidenced by our ability to love them where they are at in their own journey), and that the Catholic Church desires for all people to journey towards Christ and seek the love of Christ above all else. We can invite people to pray with us, to go to adoration with us, and to grow with us in community, but we cannot affirm them into a sexually-centered identity. That is essentially “the line” that we as Catholics cannot cross, for affirming persons into a sexually-centered identity is what affirms persons into pursuing fruition along a journey that is anchored on that which is only finite, which will forever impede them from experiencing the completion of fulfillment (only possible by pursuing fulfillment in that which is infinite).
Q5: Is it okay to be attracted to [persons of] the same-sex in [the view of] God and [the view of] the Church?
A5: The Catholic Church teaches that God loves us – so much that he gave us free will to even turn against Him if we so choose. Secondly, the Catholic Church teaches that we have committed a sin when we have made a choice to turn away from God (or have placed creation above Creator in some way). Having same-sex attractions, in the eyes of the Catholic Church, is not a committed sin, because we did not make a specific choice to have those attractions, although certain choices we have made unrelated to our sexual attractions could have had some possible impact in the development of our relationships on the whole. Therefore, the existence of those attractions “is okay” – and in fact, some see it as a blessing (yes, I know this sounds crazy) but it is because they are able to turn their life and attractions over to God, in a way that is so profound that many people will never fully understand – in a way that will get people asking questions…. which is exactly what the Church desires of us. The more we ask questions, the more we grow towards the fullness of truth! All we have to do is remember that our sexual attractions are permitted to exist, and we have a choice to pursue holy lives with Christ at the center. So, yes it is okay to be attracted to persons of the same-sex…its essentially the cards you may have been dealt. What matters is how you respond to the attractions – how you play the cards – most specifically, how you choose to self-identify as a person, which is the first indication of whether a person is truly willing to put Christ first in their life and identity, or not. And don’t forget – every turn we play while playing cards… we get new cards. The hand of cards you have today will continuously be changing and evolving. If same-sex attractions is one of those cards, there is a chance it will stay in your hand for your whole life, but there is also a chance it won’t. We cannot know the fullness of God’s plan for us, but we can take peace in recognizing that if God is permitting it to exist, then He is permitting us a great opportunity to show this world that His love is what provides fulfillment, above all else. In this way, we can become powerful living examples of the true love of God!
Q6: I struggle with my faith and often find myself choosing one path and then later choosing another. How do I decide whether or not I am actually following God’s Will?
A6: Anyway, the first thing that i would invite you to recognize is that when we attempt to figure things out on our own, chances are stacked that we will fall into error. Let’s think about it for a moment – we have only been alive for a few short years! We are called to realize the limitations of our own wisdom. However, the wisdom of the Church – and every person who has lived a faithful and holy life en route to serving the Church, is a greater collective wisdom that what you or I have alone. We can find peace in knowing though that many people have gone down the road before us and have already asked many of the questions that you might have (and found the answers). The shortest way to respond is to invite you to consider the fruits of what you are doing. As in, are the results of what I am doing contributing to Christian unity and development in the virtue of humility? Are the results of my actions bringing people to Christ? Of course, the best way to measure your impact is to talk to someone who is specializing in the field – your parish priest. That would be the best place to start, and then…. listen to what he has to say, and ask for specific books to read. Good spiritual reading is essential! I would start with the lives of the Saints (you can find this online). We are all called to be saints, so is it not most sensible to start by finding out how the saints lived? Of course it is. Always keep an open heart to the Lord, and He will illuminate your journey.
Q7: Why do people oppose same-sex marriage? It’s no big deal.
A7: One of the biggest things people need to realize is that the legalization of same-sex marriage impacts government policy. For example, once same-sex marriage is legalized, discussion and dialogue about the validity (the “rightness”) of it is permitted to exist in school settings, without the consent of parents. This presents a couple of problems. First, regardless of what you or I think about the topic, the rights of the parent are being stripped away. Imagine if that was you, and the government decided they were going to teach your kids something you disagreed with. Secondly, students are being exposed to a process of “normalizing” a particular behavior (which is the precipitating circumstance to the asking of your exact question). Whether you agree with same-sex marriage or not, it has become normalized as a result of the ideals that have largely come through schools and media. While it is a great thing to know that persons who experience same-sex attractions can be safe in schools, it is another issue altogether that schools are actively promoting the affirmation of sexually-centered identities – identities that first reduce us to our sexualities, and then divide us up amongst each other on account of our sexual orientations. What the result is, is a further polarizing of those who self-identify as sexual minorities, and those who do not embrace sexually-centered identities at all, with regards to political voice. The voice of sexual minority activism is gaining in strength, on account of a long term erosion of collective faith (people moving away from Christ). As well, a multigenerational slide into a sexually-centered culture has not helped matters. The wost part about it is that our culture has made it seem to be an act of hatred or bigotry to do anything other than support the efforts of these sexual-minority groups which serve to affirm persons further into sexually-centered identities. It is a strategy that is shifting of popular opinion, which is what causes a shift in overall public opinion. The problem with this is that the public opinion can carry much weight, regardless of the degree of truth that is contains. For example, the public by and large thinks the Catholic Church “hates gay people”. It does not matter how true or false this might be, what matters is that the public believes this, and the public has been brought to believe this by a long term segment of our history where the authority of the Church has been rejected (people have put their own wisdom above 2000 years of Church wisdom, which is illogical), and sexuality has essentially filled the center of our lives, so much so that it is now normal to celebrate sexual diversity as a matter of identifying oneself. This is something that could only exist in a sexually-centered world. The Catholic Church, though teaching us to acknowledge the gift of sexuality, does not celebrate our sexuality to be the pinnacle and defining characteristic of who we are as persons. However, for this position (which reflects the truth that the fullness of our personhood is greater than our sexuality), the Catholic Church is being continuously made to be the villain. One does not need to look hard to see that the attacks against the Church in this day and age are pretty much anchored on the Church’s refusal to affirm persons into sexually-centered identities (and related activities such as relationships, same-sex marriage, same-sex adoption, and so forth). All you have to do is go on YouTube and read the comments to see the mindset of the next generation of people. The Catholic Church opposes same-sex marriage not only because it is an action that further entrenches people into an embraced sexually-centered identity (as described in the prior questions), but also because the normalization of it paired with the lack of questioning and dialogue, is creating a mounting hostility towards the Catholic Church, which, will likely be acted out upon in more intense ways over time. Persecution of Christians on the matter of same-sex marriage is already among us, and people are losing jobs and complete livelihoods, only for maintaining a position that same-sex marriage is not something they support. How does this fruit of sexual-minority activism actually relate to tolerance? It doesn’t. But, it all starts with who has the minds of the youth, for the youth become the leaders of tomorrow. The following citation might be good to consider – Edward Behrendt, once a member of the Hitler Youth stated “If you can capture the minds of young children and persuade them to become dedicated to your cause, your theory of the truth and your theory of what is right and wrong, then you can hold the whole country captive and you have complete control”. The real question people should be asking is why are sexual minority advocates attempting to pass same-sex marriage laws? The world believes it is about equality, but the fruits of the laws being passed are ones in which opposing voices are not able to be heard (parents not able to withhold their children from exposure to certain topics, and voices representative of the love of that the Catholic Church has for all persons as beloved children of God, are silenced). This topic is beyond the matter of equal rights. We need to recognize that there is a greater undercurrent of an issue here than what is presented on the surface, and then we need to ask ourselves who is inviting us to pursue a greater degree of truth – the invitation does not come from everyone, but it does come from the Catholic Church.
Q8: I do feel these feelings…but I don’t know what to do…I am a very Catholic person and have very Catholic friends and family… I only told my best friend… What should I do? Can I even pursue the “gay” lifestyle? Or do I stay single the rest of my life?
A8: It is important for us to be honest with ourselves regarding the existence of our sexual attractions. But we also need to be honest with ourselves about who we are – that we truly are persons, and not just sexualities, and that in our personhood, is a soul, created by God, which makes us therefore beloved children of God. That identity reflects who we are not only in our fullness within this universe, but also in the fullness of what which is greater than our universe, in relationship to God, the Creator of our universe. The thing is, the fear of being single for our whole lives (for those of us who experience same-sex attractions) has to do with the myth that because the attractions exist, it defines who we are! Even if you were called to be single, there can be great joy! To be a Catholic priest for example, of all “careers”, is one with the greatest satisfaction – it is filled with the joy that can exist in living a fully self-sacrificial life, for the service of God’s Kingdom! This is not to say that anyone should or should not become a priest, but what it does say is that we need to elevate our thinking beyond the idea that our joy is dependent on someone (other than God, that is). We also have to recognize the realness of our longings. We all have them, no matter who we are, but we all know that acting out on them without any thought, can lead us into dangerous territory – territory that may include deep regrets (this is for all persons). If you can recognize that being “gay” is not who you are, but rather is a reductionist label that the world is trying to get you to embrace as your own, then it will become easier to reject the way of life that the world is telling you to live in order to be happy. Really now, if the world is not being fully honest with you about who you are as a person, why would it make sense to follow what they say will bring you fulfillment? We are all more than our sexualities, and are called to self-identify in a way that reflects the fullness of who we are, and then trust God, and find peace in Him. This brings about true fulfillment, but it also leaves persons like you and I in one of two places. The first is that God permits us to experience same-sex attractions for our entire life, in which case we have our whole life to shine to others that we are choosing to come to fruition as a beloved child of God (instead of coming to fruition as a “gay” man), and what a great opportunity this is to show the world we love God! The second place is that at some point in time, God inspires within us a healthy and holy desire for someone of the opposite sex. This is not a guarantee, nor is it a motive of the Catholic Church, but it is a possibility. And being open to the power of God and what He has in store for you in the future, is what loving God is all about. Maybe He will bring about this opportunity, maybe he wont, but either way, when you answer to Him, you will be able to say that you chose to put Him first and to glorify Him with your life – living as a shining example to others that a person can live a holy and fruitful life as a beloved child of God, who is fully honest with themselves about the existence of their sexual attractions! In a world like we have today, that is so focused on entering sexually-centered relationships, what a beacon of God’s love this is! So, we have the cards dealt to us, its a matter of playing them in a way that is a yes to God’s love and God’s glory. It’s a special deck, few people are dealt the hand, but even less people know how to play the cards in a way that will bring infinite joy. It’s in God’s hands, just trust that he has a plan for you, and that it is greater than merely seeking validation in our sexualities.
Q9: Do the people who do not identify themselves according to their sexuality end up alone or get married?
A9: Persons who are honest with themselves about the existence of their sexual attractions, but who choose to place their identity in God, as beloved children of God, are persons who have purged a great falsehood from their beings (the falsehood that because of their sexual attractions, they need to embrace a sexually-centered identity). When we purge falsehoods from our beings, the calling of God becomes more clear. Some persons who experience same-sex attractions end up marrying someone of the opposite sex whom they have found to be very attractive. This happens quite often, but the world does not want people to know that this is a reality. In fact the world often goes as far to discredit people who have gone down this path, as people who are frauds. When they do this, they are attempting to state that their opinion (that a person is born that way and will stay that way for life) is actually correct (which is scientifically false), and that because they think that way, the Will of God is powerless over someone’s sexuality. Again, clearly a thought that could only exist in a world where sexuality has “become the new God”. Nothing is impossible with God, for hHe is the author of this universe, and therefore has dominion over everything that occurs within it. An authentic Christian marriage, is possible – but regardless of whether someone experiences opposite-sex attractions or same-sex attractions, the opposite-sex marriage needs to be rooted in the love of Christ for it to exemplify the Glory of God. We also have to recognize that not all people are called to marriage. Many are called to live holy and single chaste lives. The calling will be unique to each person, but answering the calling is what is important. The way we can know what God’s Will for is actually is, is to enter everything in prayer, because over time, as we invite Christ in, that which is not compatible with the Truth and love of Christ, will become illuminated in our own lives, giving us the opportunity to choose to continue embracing it, or to fully abandon ourselves to the truth of Jesus Christ. It’s a gradual process, but one that can lead people into authentic Holy Matrimony – marriage with someone of the opposite sex. However, we must not let our longings take control of our prayer life. It is a difficult thing to do, but the more we choose to abandon ourselves to the Lord (to trust Him first in all we do), the more and more we begin to realize how much more fulfilling He really is. Perhaps His plan for you contains marriage, perhaps it does not. One thing we cannot do though, is claim that marriage is out of the question, for that would be to place a limit on what God could or could not do. If God Wills it, He can make it happen, and such is the case for a number of persons I know who experience same-sex attractions, but who have fallen in real love (with Christ at the center) with someone of the opposite sex, who has become their spouse. In short, God’ has a plan that is written for each one of us, we just have to discover it, and strive to come to fruition within it.
Q10: Do you think that same-sex attractions can be a challenge to entering heaven?
A10: Since sexual attractions are not the result of a specific choice, their existence is not the result of someone specifically choosing to turn away from God. When someone chooses to turn away from God, they impede their progress to Heaven. For that reason, the existence of those attractions alone should not be a challenge to entering heaven. However, just like ANY attractions, if we entertain them in ways that are lustful, or power-seeking, or exploitative, then it is our actions (even if just mental actions) that are challenges to our journey towards heaven. The existence of the attraction itself is really not the point – its what we do with it that matters.
Q11:Q11: Do you acknowledge that you were born gay?
A11: This question draws us to the very heart of the entire topic of homosexuality. I do acknowledge that some of my earliest memories involve knowing that I was different from the rest of the boys, that I desired to be a girl, and that I identified with girls, and felt safe with girls. All of these sorts of things are often used as justifications for people to conclude that it is evident that people are simply “born gay” and that the underlying homosexuality that God placed into us, merely works its way to the surface over time. However, I would like to invite all persons to pursue a deeper understanding – one that is more complete that simply saying “God made me this way”. Note that many groups and persons who have a vested interest in people embracing a homosexual identity will not be open to this invitation. In addressing this question, the first thing we need to do is dispel the myth that just because our earliest memories indicate a particular leaning or inclination, that it means we were born that way. For example, I have liked watching funny television shows since as long as I remember, however, does that imply that God genetically created me to be attracted to funny television shows? Secondly, my earliest memories also include being Catholic, but does that mean that God genetically created me Catholic? In both cases, the answer is no. In the first case, my attraction to funny television shows is indicative of my temperament and what I deem to be funny (which is influenced on my paradigm of reality, which is shaped and formed by the world in which I exist). In the latter case, the label of Catholic was placed onto me by others with whom I was in relationship with, and it is an identity that I grew into – so much so as to now choose to identify as a beloved child of God, who subscribes to the Catholic faith, and who is fully honest with myself about the existence of my sexual attractions. Both of these cases are examples of how just because something existed from our earliest memories within us, or within our environment, it does not necessitate that our genetics are what determine that characteristic of our being. The second thing we need to do is acknowledge that if God did indeed author this universe, then He has authority over this universe. Thus, if anything exists within this universe, it is on account of God’s permission for it to exist. Thus, we can embrace the truth that our sexual attractions (whatever they may be) are permitted to exist.
That is, for any of us, God has permitted us the existence of our sexual attractions. That is why I precisely say that God has permitted me the experience of same-sex attractions – it is accurate for it does not imply an inconclusive reality that they were genetically encoded into my being. The third thing we need to do is acknowledge that regardless of the origin of our sexual attractions, we still have the unceasing ability to choose to properly order God (the infinite) above our sexuality (the finite) within the identity we choose to embrace. If we want to be more completely honest with ourselves, we will not simply embrace the identity of being “gay” at the point of being honest with ourselves about the existence of same-sex attractions, but rather we will embrace the identity of being a beloved child of God (above all else), who has been permitted to experience same-sex attractions. This identity reflects a greater degree of truth of who we are as persons, for it does not reduce us to merely a portion of our being (our sexuality). It also reflects the truth that our infinite God is greater than His finite creation (by ordering God above sexuality). The fourth thing we need to realize is that the world strives to affirm persons into embracing sexually-centered identities, and while doing so, purports that embracing such an identity is indeed a move towards greater self-honesty.
The problem with this is that they implicitly attach an identity to the existence of the sexual attractions, by not disclosing that unchosen attractions and chosen (embraced) identity are indeed distinct, and therefore need to be recognized to be distinct in order for truth to be reflected. The world uses language that makes it impossible for someone who experiences same-sex attractions to see themselves as anything other than “gay”. The world
also promotes the idea that if a person who has been permitted the experience of same-sex attractions chooses to not embrace the sexually-centered identity of being “gay” or “lesbian” (and so forth), then that person is living in denial . This is sadly what is taught by our world, when the reality that acknowledging the existence of the attractions while embracing one’s identity as a beloved child of God reflects a far greater truth of one’s being than merely embracing a sexually-centered identity such as being gay or lesbian. The fifth thing we need to realize is that even many gay activists no longer subscribe to the false idea that people are “born that way” or that “God made them that way”, although this sort of disclosure typically comes only under respectful question and dialogue.
Openly promoting this idea would cause people to second guess the integrity of the entire pro-homosexual movement, which by and large was greatly strengthened by people subscribing to the idea that “people were born that way”. To have the very movement openly speak out against that falsehood which brought much strength to begin with, would be to act in a way that is contrary to the movement itself. Gay activists know that it is not a matter of being “born that way”, for they openly are admitting that environment does indeed play a factor; environment being the not just physical environment, but also relational environment, for it is love that is at the heart of our desires, and love (given and experienced) is something that is subject to relational environment. The sixth thing we need to realize is that the science behind the argument that a person is “born that way”, is inconclusive in its findings (this I can invite you to further explore). The world teaches us that science says we are born that way (and that is we experience same-sex attractions, we will experience them forever – which is often but not always the case). The world’s position relies on a misappropriation of scientific findings, and instead of listing the problems with the scientific research behind the idea that we are “born this way” or that “God created us gay”, all I will do is invite you to uninhibitedly pursue a greater degree of truth on the matter. I do not fear what you will find out, if you choose to enter an authentic journey. The reason I do not fear this is because I know you will come to a conclusion that the “genetic” argument is invalid. That’s why I am offering this invitation, but the world does not. The seventh thing we need to realize is that if the world begins to shift the argument to “how God made us” in an intangible way, such as the nature of our spiritual temperament, then the world will be reversing its prior held position that homosexuality is genetic. Something cannot be of the intangible (spiritual essence) and yet be attributed to genetic code. I have noticed many people shift to this way of thinking after realizing that promoting the idea that people are “born that way” was leading people to realize that the “born that way” is a conclusion based on a desired outcome, over-stepping reason and logic. The eighth thing we need to realize is that the body’s largest sex organ is the brain, and the conditioning of the brain over time is what causes structural changes in the brain. It does not matter if we are learning to play the piano, or learning calculus, or learning how to ties our shoes. As we grow in our proficiency in a particular way of thinking (as we practice a particular train of thought), our brains structurally adapt, and reflect within them the evidence of our practice. The “gay brain” studies of the 80s did not include a disclosure that the brains taken were of people who practiced active homosexuality for lengthy period of years. Anyone who practices anything over a lengthy period of years will have a brain that reflects structural change in some way. The same could be said of professional piano players, if you were to examine their brains after x-years of practice. The brain is pliable, and structurally adapts – much like how a muscle structurally adapts to how much (and in what way) it is used. I invite everyone to learn more about the science of neuroplasticity (plasticity of the brain) – to help gain a better understanding of how the brain responds to all forms of conditioning (even though repetitive entertainment of fantasy). In summary, the topic of the origin of sexual attractions and or inclinations is complex. There is far more to the story than what was even presented above. Other areas worthy of further investigation are the legitimacy of the “twin studies”, the “10% gay” point of view, the topic of birth order, the relevance of a loving fatherly relationship.
What everyone should be very aware of is anyone or any organization that tries to simplify the origin of sexual attractions to one simple black and white answer. Those who have a vested interest in getting people to believe that “God made us this way” or that “we are born that way” also have an associated vested interest in us choosing to not pursue a greater understanding of the topic on the whole. Anytime there is an unwelcome disposition to the idea of pursuing a greater degree of truth about the origin of our sexual attractions and or inclinations, please let that be a red flag as to the integrity of the message that that person or group is promoting. Those who are upholding the truth, have nothing to hide, and therefore no reason to discourage people from pursuing a greater degree of truth. As you begin to purse greater truth on this matter, you will see very quickly how pursuing truth on this topic is not an endeavor supported by everyone. Please do not let that discourage you in your journey, and please lead your journey with much prayer, for once you begin the journey, you will pose a greater threat to those who do not wish the journey to be taken.
Q12: If you had any advice for parents who have a son or daughter experiences same-sex attractions and who embraces the gay identity, what would it be?
A12: The short answer would be that I would encourage them to love and receive their child, wherever their child is at. That’s what it all comes down to. Note that I did not say affirm them further into their sexually-centered identity, for those types of identities order creation to be greater than Creator. We cannot affirm people into embracing sexually-centered identities and while at the same time assert that we are loving them, for if we were truly loving them, we would not affirm them into embracing an identity that contains falsehood (the reversal of the order of creation and Creator), but rather we would through our love for them, elevate them to a greater degree of truth and awareness, in a time appropriate to circumstances. Loving your child where they are at in their journey through life can be difficult, but it is something that we must choose to do, for if parents do not, if parents choose to stonewall or reject their child (in the perception of the child) then they will likely not turn towards parents for love, but rather turn towards someone who will be there to listen and who attend to their need to feel safe and listened to. If that person happens to be someone they are in a same-sex relationship with, what occurs is an increased emotional bond (and possible dependency) within that relationship on account of rebounding from the perceived parental rejection. Parents – please be aware that if you take a hard line stance and simply repeat Church teaching in a way that is not perceived to be loving (even though you may think it is loving), you will not be helping your child feel safe or listened to. In short, parents need to seriously consider the question “Does my child know that I love them fully and unconditionally?” If they think the answer is “yes” but at the same time, the child does not feel like they are safe or can be fully honest with them (the elephant in the room type of scenario), then the parent needs to seriously examine his or her response to their child. I realize this is hard for parents to accept, but the reality is this: a child can learn to know they are loved as a beloved child of God, through the lived example of Christ’s love from the parents, or they can learn to feel like they can never be fully honest with them, and thus turn elsewhere for love. The actions (or non-actions) required by any parent needs to be circumstantially appropriate – but they are all governed by this one very important truth: if parents put Christ first in their lives, then they will eventually be brought to put the face of Christ on their child, and thus see their child more and more clearly as a beloved child of God, who is worthy and in need of that parent’s love. In addition to all of this needs to be a recognition that the origin of sexual attractions is complex and because of that, parents need to know that “it is not their fault”. Parents often feel guilty as though they did something wrong, but this mindset only serves to immobilize us all in our service to the Lord. There are so many factors beyond parenting that will influence the lives and relationships of our children, so we need to elevate our thinking above the whole idea that it is the fault of parents. Secondly, if we falsely determine that homosexuality is the fault of the parents, then we place blame in the past, which disables us from taking control of our future – we can stay enraptured in blame, or we can look at the cards in our hand today, and play them in the way that best serves the Lord. When we do that, the Lord’s plan will be done through us, and it will most likely take us out of our comfort zones.
Q13: Does therapy to change sexual orientation work?
A13: This question cannot simply answered “as is”. There are some very important points that need to be clarified before talking about the topic of sexual re-orientation therapy. First off, many non-Catholics (and sadly, many Catholics as well) believe that the Catholic Church tries to “straighten out” or “fix” what they call “gay people”. What is missing from this way of thinking is the idea that there could be anything greater than simply identifying according to our sexual attractions. A person who thinks this way is likely holding onto the idea that people are either “gay” or “straight” or somewhere in between on a spectrum. We need to elevate people above this way of thinking – above the way of identifying ourselves using reductionist labels that incompletely reflect the fullness of who we are. While the world often teaches that the Catholic Church hates “gay” people, it is the Catholic Church who calls us all to be honest with ourselves by inviting us to choose to embrace identities that are not centered on our sexuality, but rather centered on our relationship with God (thus ordering infinite Creator too be greater than finite creation, and thus anchoring our journeys towards fulfillment on coming to fruition as beloved children of God (who is infinite), as opposed to coming to fruition in our sexuality (which is finite)). However, because the Catholic Church does not affirm persons into embracing sexually-centered identities of any kind, nor does the Church approve of any action that serves to fulfill someone within a sexually-centered identity (for it only further invests them within that identity, which in turn further removes them from embracing an identity centered on their relationship with God), the Catholic Church is depicted as being hateful, when in reality, the Catholic Church is inviting us to elevate our way of thinking beyond the realm of merely identifying according to our sexualities. Gay activists often misread (and promulgate) the Catholic Church’s stance of non-affirmation into sexually-centered identities as the Catholic Church’s desire to “get rid of gay people”, when in reality, the Catholic Church is teaching that we are to be honest with ourselves about the existence of our sexual attractions, but we are also to be honest with ourselves about who we are as persons. Gay activists desire that people embrace sexually-centered identities (and that people take pride on those identities), while the Catholic Church invites people to embrace identities centered on their relationship with God. However, since that which is finite (sexuality) is lesser than that which is infinite (God), to embrace an identity on the finite will yield a lesser degree of fulfillment. The Church teaches this logical truth, and some gay activists misrepresent this truth as an attempt by the Church to have people change their sexual orientation from “gay” to “straight”. In saying all of that, one can now address the topic of sexual orientation change therapy. First, be it known that the Catholic Church does not teach that “change therapy” is something that anyone should pursue. At the same time, the Catholic Church does not teach against pursuing it – meaning, if there is someone who wishes to pursue it, and if that is something they are willing to enter, on account of their own free will, they should not be deprived of that opportunity. For some, the exchange that occurs within these sessions of therapy is beneficial. regardless, the Catholic Church does not teach that we should pursue it. Secondly, the entire notion of “change therapy” is centered on the idea that we are to identify ourselves according to our sexuality. It does not elevate someone out of the idea that their identity belongs on some spectrum that extends from absolute “homosexual” to absolute “heterosexual”. While it is true that for some people, “change therapy” “works” (in that they are able to experience opposite sex attractions – varying degrees), what remains is that their focus is still on their sexuality. This means that in an absolute sense, the matter of what one anchors their journey towards fulfillment on, is not addressed, because regardless of what sexual orientation one might end up having, the orientation towards fulfillment is still centered on sexuality, for as long as persons embrace identities centered on their sexuality. Note that sexually-centered identities include not only “gay” and “lesbian”, but also “ex-gay”, and “ex-lesbian”. The goal of the Catholic Church is not to change one’s sexual orientation from one of those to another, but rather, to elevate a persons perspective of truth so that they can consciously choose to embrace an identity that reflects a greater degree of truth of who they are in relation to this universe and its Creator. In being able to make this conscious choice with regards to identity, one is able to change the orientation of their journey towards fulfillment, and that is the invitation that the Catholic Church gives to all people – regardless of sexual attractions – the invitation to change their journey towards fulfillment from one that is not anchored on coming to fruition as a beloved child of God to one that is anchored on coming to fruition as a beloved child of God (which occurs once a person has wholly embraced an identity that is centered on God, which means it can only occur once someone has disengaged from embracing an identity centered on sexuality). In clarifying all of this, we are now ready to address the original question of whether “change therapy” actually works. The answer is quite simple: if someone is asking about change therapy being a means to change sexual orientation, then chances are that they have room to grow in their understanding of the role and significance of embraced identity, with regards to how it influences what one perceives to be fulfilling. If the goal of the therapy is the change sexual orientation alone, it may work for some people (we cannot rule out that possibility), but if the therapy does not include an appropriate introduction to the role and significance of embraced identity, then the therapy process will not likely elevate a person above the idea that we are merely “gay” or “‘straight” or somewhere in between, and in such a case, would not be able to draw a person into embracing a greater degree of truth of who they truly are, with regards to identity embraced. One last point to make – regardless of whether or not “change therapy” is illegalized, it makes no difference to the Catholic Church, or authentic Catholic practice, since the goal of the Catholic Church is not to change someone’s sexual attractions. The Catholic Church’s primary objective is to lead all souls to Christ, such that Christ is placed first in the lives we lead – done so most efficaciously when consciously choose to embrace identities centered on Christ, as opposed to embracing identities centered on our sexualities. In fact, as Catholics, we should be striving to draw people out of the mindset that they are either “gay” or “straight”, for in doing that, we provide a new awareness for persons with same-sex attractions about who they really are in the eyes of God. The thing is, if this new awareness is embraced (if persons who experience same-sex attractions truly embrace the identity of being beloved children of God above all else), then the perceived need “to become straight” will wane, as they come to know more and more how God has permitted their attractions to exist for a greater victory to be shown to the world. That is, the more and more that persons who experience same-sex attractions are able to glorify God in the lives they lead – specifically starting with choosing to identify as beloved children of God and thus pursuing fulfillment by coming to fruition in that identity (coming to fruition in the infinite, not the finite (sexuality)), the less there will be a perceived need to “become heterosexual”. Rather, in place of the desire to “become heterosexual” (which really would mean to introduce healthy opposite sex attractions), an even greater desire to submit to God’s Will, will begin to surface. When this begins to occur, the perceived need for “change therapy” diminishes, for one begins to accept the cards they have in their hand, and begin to take ownership over how they will choose to play them going forward, for the purposes of glorifying God.
Q14: Schools often talk about building safe-spaces. What does that mean?
A14: The world teaches us that safe-spaces are where people can go and feel comfortable with who “they are”‘. While this, in itself, is a good thing, the idea of “who we are” is never addressed, however, it needs to be, for the question of “who we are” is essential to what we perceive to be fulfilling. As mentioned earlier, the Catholic Church invites us to embrace the identity of being a beloved child of God, as opposed to embracing an identity centered on our sexuality – which is merely a part of our being. The Church does this so that we can embrace a greater degree of truth of who we are as persons – as creations of a loving God. However, safe-spaces in the secular world are not only environments where people can be comfortable in who they perceive themselves to be, but also, they are spaces where people are often affirmed into sexually-centered identities. That is the difference between a secular safe-space and a Catholic safe-space. An authentically Catholic safe-space will embrace all people, wherever they are in their walk of life, but it will not contain affirmations towards embracing sexually-centered identities of any kind. In place of affirmations to embrace sexually-centered identities, will be invitations for people to be honest with themselves about the existence of their sexual attractions, while encouraging everyone that we are all in this world together, undivided, as one people – all as beloved children of God. An authentically Catholic safe-space dispenses with the divisive labels that separate people on account of their sexual attractions and or inclinations. Rather, the authentically Catholic safe-space invites everyone to place the face of Christ on to each and every person, so that we can better come to know that indeed we are all brothers and sisters under one God the Father, who loves us all beyond infinite measure. In approaching our relationships with one another in this way – all as beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, we elevate ourselves above the minimizing language used when people choose to identify themselves according to their sexuality, and thus are able to see each other in light of a greater degree of truth and self-honesty. If there are persons who are clinging to sexually-centered identities, welcome them as well, but do not affirm them in that identity, but neither scold them for their choice of embraced identity. Rather, be the living example to them of Christ’s love such that they too want to place Christ at the center of their life and identity as well. In that way (and there is no specific way to approach each situation for every circumstance is unique), we can assure to people that the Catholic Church is truly a safe space, where people genuinely care for all persons. In short, as Catholics, we need to appropriately provide the invitation to embrace Christ at the center of our lives and identities. How this will look on a case to case basis will vary, but how you respond to this call within your relationships rests with your conviction to the truth and love of Christ.
Q15: How would you explain the topic of same-sex marriage to someone if you only had two minutes to do so?
A15: I would invite all persons to consider whether or not the pursuit of same-sex marriage (preceded by the pursuit of same-sex relationships) is found in the journeys towards fulfillment of those who experience same-sex attractions and who chooses to self-identify as gay, or whether the pursuit of same-sex marriage (preceded by the pursuit of same-sex relationships) is found in the journeys towards fulfillment of those who experience same-sex attractions but who do not chooses to self-identify as gay. The reason I would start with this is because it immediately draws attention to the role and significance of embraced identity. Following this, I would invite all people to consider how though we need to be honest with ourselves about the existence of our sexual attractions (whatever they might be), we need to recognize that our sexual attractions are merely a part of who we are and are thus less than the fullness of who we are. Meaning, there is so much more to each and every one of us, than merely our sexual attractions and or inclinations. With that being said, I would invite a person to consider whether or not embracing an identity centered merely on our sexuality is an accurate way to reflect the fullness of who we are. I would assert that all reasonable and objectively-minded people would agree that a sexually-centered identity is not an accurate way to reflect the fullness of who we are as persons. I would then ask them why it would make sense then to affirm a person (regardless of attractions) into pursuing relationships and or other activities (even things such as pride days) that serve to further invest people into those sexually-centered identities. After saying this, I would explain very briefly that the Catholic Church loves all people as beloved children of God, and teaches that we are not to reduce one another to identities centered merely on our sexuality, even though sexuality is a very important part of who we are. I would invite a person to come to realize that the Church teaches us to be honest with ourselves, not only with regards to our sexual attractions, but also with regards to the identity we embrace, for the purposes of being able to experience a greater degree of joy, since the degree of joy that we are able to experience is dependent on the degree of truth we choose to embrace. I would emphasize those points through the lens of pursuing the greatest degree of truth and self-honesty, while inviting all persons to consider whether affirming persons into any activity that furthers investment in any type of sexually-centered identity is an activity that we can become engaged with, while at the same claiming that we truly acting in a loving manner. The idea is to have people realize that any form of affirmation into any form of sexually-centered identity furthers someone in their investment into that identity – an identity that embeds the falsehood that finite sexuality is greater than infinite Creator – an identity that, when embraced, deprives a person from being able to experience the greatest possible degree of joy (for within their identity there is some degree of truth compromised).
Q16: Why do we have to clarify how we use the word “homosexual” or “gay” and so forth?
A16: If we do not use language that clarifies those differences, then people like me (and all sympathizers of “gay” people) will be deprived of an opportunity to see the reality that each one of us indeed has a choice with regards to the identity we choose to embrace. I am where I am because of that distinction being made. Others like me are here as a result of that very same thing. Catholic people who sympathize with “gay” people do so because often they believe that God made them that way – which to them often means that being gay is “who they are”. You and I know that this is a falsehood – who someone is cannot be adequately defined on account of some facet of their being (in this case sexuality). Would it be any different if there was a child who had Autism of even ADHD? No – the world would likely clearly teach us the reality that if a child were to consciously embrace that identity, they would conform to expectations of what they should be like within that identity. Is it right to see a person and say “Hey – there is the Autistic kid!” or “Hey – there is that ADHD kid”? No of course not – even anti-bullying strategies are often centered on this. If we elevate people out of these labels that serve to divide us on account of parts of who we are (our sexual attractions are a part of who we are), then we are not seeing the person with the fullness of dignity and respect that they deserve, in being a fellow child of God. Rather we are merely seeing them for only a part of who they are. This falsehood that we can be fully honest with ourselves while embracing an identity that reduces ourselves to only a part of who we are, persists for as long as people believe that because the attractions exist, people “are gay”. That is, this falsehood exists for as long as people do not make the conscious effort to properly clarify the difference between unchosen attractions and chosen (embraced) identity. The reason why this falsehood will continue to perpetuate, is because for as long as those contradictory characteristics are not illuminated to be distinct, all those who are influenced through teaching and paradigm formation, will carry with them that falsehood, unless somehow it is illuminated in some other way. That means however, that when we choose to not clarify the language we use, we are taking part in the perpetuation of falsehoods being spread amongst the people – some of them being the most vulnerable people, people like me, who have been permitted the experience of same-sex attractions and who are trying to figure out who they truly are and how they fit into this world. Sexual-minority advocacy groups fill both of these needs very well, but their entire platform is shattered at the onset of common awareness of the distinctness between unchosen sexual attractions and chosen (embraced) identity.
The thing is, this message of clarifying our language is for everyone, because we are all immersed in this society, and all have a role to play in it, with regards to the unfolding of God’s plan. We cannot dismiss our role on account of personal interests (although we have to be considerate of our own state in life). You and I, and all who will uphold this clarified truth will be the ones who will open the window of a whole new opportunity to those with unwanted same-sex attractions. If we choose to not make this clarification in how we present this topic, then that window is closed, and awareness of that opportunity to choose to embrace any identity is something that is less likely to come into existence. Average Joe “in the closet”, and his sympathizers are the ones you need to keep in mind when looking at how you fit in to sharing the fullness of Catholic Church teaching, because you are in touch with these people, in your every day life. We cannot pretend that this topic needs to only be addressed between Church leaders and Radical groups – no – it is especially important for us to love average Joe “in the closet” as a beloved child of God (inviting him/her to be honest themselves about the existence of their attractions – thereby inviting him to “come out of the closet” BUT, then to follow that with an appropriate invitation to embrace an identity centered on his or her relationship with God). If we do not attend to the needs of average Joe (or Jane) within our own Church, because we think we are not capable or we are just too darn afraid, then average Joe or Jane has a greater potential to becomes the radical, for their only presented option is to embrace the falsehood that “being gay”‘ is truly who they are. Now, if you had the opportunity to share with that person beforehand, by virtue of your clarified writing and speaking style, along with your relentless love for Christ purely emanating from within you, the truth that they can be honest with themselves about the existence of their sexual attractions while not embracing a sexually-centered identity, then you will be participating in the reorienting of one’s journey towards fulfillment from being anchored on coming to fruition as “a gay person” to hopefully being anchored on coming to fruition as a beloved child of God (while being honest with themselves about the existence of their sexual attractions). Anyway, the awareness of the possibility to not embrace a sexually-centered identity, while still being honest with oneself about the existence of one’s particular sexual attractions, will come to be known when we begin to use language that permits it to become known. That is, when we use language that clarifies the difference between unchosen sexual attractions/inclinations and chosen (embraced) identity, in every circumstance. There is no reason for any Catholic or otherwise to assume that he or she can speak clearly on this topic while not clarifying the difference between unchosen attractions/inclinations, and chosen (embraced identity). If we consciously choose to not clarify ourselves while presenting this topic, then we are responsible for passively permitting people to embrace a lesser degree of truth when we at the same time have the foreknowledge that a greater degree of truth is possible to be embraced. In short, if we think that we can lead others to embrace a greater degree of truth and self-honesty, with regards to embracing our roles in God’s plan as beloved children of God who have been permitted the experience of same-sex attractions, but at the same time, we do not even afford them (people like me) the opportunity to come to realize that our unchosen attractions and our chosen (embraced) identity are indeed distinct, then we are being untruthful to ourselves. We cannot reflect the fullness of truth to others, while we ourselves embrace less than the fullness of truth (evidenced by a choice to not clarify the differences between unchosen attractions/inclinations and chosen identity).
Q17: Do I have to confess that I’m gay when I go to confession?
A17: This question needs to be broken down into two separate questions, first being “Do I have to confess the existence of my same-sex attractions?”, and second, “Do I have to confess that I choose to embrace the gay identity?” If we approach the original question without first clarifying precisely what we are talking about (addressing the difference between unchosen attractions and chosen (embraced) identity, then our response to the original question will not be as accurate as it could be if we did indeed consider those two things to be distinct. For the first question, you do not need to confess that you experience same-sex attractions (or any sexual attractions for that matter), for they are not a matter of specific choice. However, it would probably be of some help for the priest if he knew so he could be better equipped to serve your needs, as a beloved child of God who has been permitted to experience sexual attractions in this way. Whether or not you reveal that to the priest is a decision that must remain with each and every person, but from my own experience I would say it is a benefit to being up front – the priest will hopefully be able to serve you better, and you will also feel a lot better because you can present a more complete version of yourself to him. It is a step towards a greater degree of self-honesty at the very least. In saying that, please note that the existence of same-sex attractions (which arise not by one’s specific choice) is very different than the choice to embrace the gay identity, for the conscious embracing of any identity can only occur as a result of a specific choice to do so. The point that needs to be raised is that when we choose to embrace any form of identity that is centered on any facet of creation, be it sexuality or not, it orders that facet of creation to be at the center – or, in the place of most importance. What this does though is relegate the Creator to be not at the center, for creation and Creator are not equal, and thus one cannot simultaneously place both of them at the center of their own embraced identity. If one chooses to embrace an identity centered on their sexuality (regardless of what that identity might actually be – gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, ex-gay, homosexual, heterosexual, straight, and so forth) , then they are embracing a paradigm of reality that orders sexuality (a facet of finite creation) to be greater than God (the infinite Creator). I do not like to use the word “lie”, but oftentimes you will hear people speaking towards the “lies” of the homosexual movement – if you do hear that, be aware that what they are often (not always) referring to is the falsehood that one can embrace an identity centered on their sexuality (which is finite), and still be able to experience an equal amount of joy as someone who chooses to embrace an identity centered on their relationship with God (who is infinite). However, since that which is finite is not equal to that which is infinite, the center points of each respective identity are not the same, and since the journeys we take towards fulfillment are anchored on the identities we choose to embrace, our journeys towards fulfillment are also thus not going to be equal. The “lie” as many people speak of it, is the falsehood that the journeys will be equal, regardless of the identity one chooses to embrace. What this brings us to is this: if we choose to embrace an identity that is centered on our sexuality, we first commit the sin of ordering something (our sexuality) to be greater than God – but as explained, it is illogical to order our sexuality above God, so we are in essence called to confess the sin of embracing the falsehood that creation (sexuality) is greater than Creator (God). That is exactly what sin is – a deprivation of the truth – and if we choose to embrace an identity centered on our sexuality, we are depriving ourselves from being able to reflect from within ourselves, the fullness of truth, because we are knowingly participating in the inhibition of truth (by embracing an identity that orders finite sexuality to be greater than infinite God). Furthermore, in addition to the matter of identity, one needs to address the topics of lust and loneliness, for temptations stemming from those are placed onto others (and ourselves – it is possible to lust after oneself). When a person (of any sexual orientation) entertains lustful thoughts (which is different than having lustful thoughts enter the mind and then asking Christ for strength to not entertain them), we are committing a sin, and that would need to be confessed. The sin is in the willful exploitation of someone – physically or in fantasy – even if the other person is or seems willing, and or has given explicit of implied consent. At the end of the day, if you have had thoughts that have in any way reduced a person to some form of objectivism, so that you could “gain” from it, then it is a sin. Note that “gain” is in quotation marks, because though it might be a gain of physical pleasure, it is not a net gain with regards to state of the soul, for your soul knows that selfish acts (the entertainment of lustful thoughts) are contrary to the soul’s desire to be truthful and to love (and to be loved). The Church knows this, and that is why the Church teaches that we should confess in this circumstance – and this applies to all people, not just persons who have been permitted the experience of same-sex attractions. As well, there is another sin that one might need to confess, based on the original question, and that has to do with the pursuit of fulfillment in the face of loneliness. It is quite simple – if we are lonely, and we seek to fulfill ourselves (to get out of the loneliness) merely by becoming further bonded with another finite human being, then we are committing a sin. First of all, we are putting that person ahead of Christ, whom we should be seeking first to fill all of our needs. Secondly, it is not fair to pressure another person into giving you what God alone can give you. No finite human can give you an endless supply of love. Human beings are finite – all of the love we have to give will “run out” and we will be left as empty shells, except if we choose to turn to God to perpetually fill our hearts. To sum up this dialogue, I am saying that you do not have to confess “I am gay” to a priest (for the statement needs clarification), but rather, you would need to potentially confess precise sins that are related to that statement, once clarified – most specifically, whether you are choosing to elevate sexuality to be greater than God in the identity you are choosing to embrace (it is never too late to choose to embrace the identity of being a beloved child of God), whether you are entertaining lustful thoughts, and whether you are placing the finite human above Christ himself in your desire to quell your loneliness. There may be other things that one may be called to confess as well, but those will come in time, as they will be unique to each and every person. The thing to remember that confession is not a time to feel shameful, but rather a time to feel courageous, for you are (hopefully) entering a state of humility by which you are man (or woman) enough to admit your sins. If there is true contrition in your heart (if you are really sorry) and are hoping to go forward living a life that is closer in line with the truths that God has authored into this universe (most particularly that truth that Creator is greater than creation and that that truth should be reflected in our embraced identities, and the truth that our non-specifically chosen attractions and or inclinations need to be considered distinct from how we specifically choose to identify ourselves), then chances are we will feel much better after confession, for we are taking all of that weight of the world off of our shoulders! In short, go to confession; look deep in your heart, and go. You will be happy you did! Also note that the further in depth we get into the topic of homosexuality, the further the principles broaden out – this whole section (as well as others) was not even specific to persons experiencing same-sex attractions – rather, it is for all of us!
Homosexuality and the Catholic Church: Grade 8 Presentation
Note: This is an audio file. Video file available upon request. Email email@example.com
Students were all given paper and pencil and asked to write a comment, question, or a one-liner joke, so that no one would feel singled out in asking a question.
What do you call a sleep walking nun? A Roaming Catholic.
Why did the mushroom go to the party? Because he was a fungi.
Why did the plane crash? Because the pilot was a tomato.
What did the red light say to the car? Don’t look, I’m changing.
What did the wall say to the other wall? Meet you in the corner.
Why do seagulls fly over the sea? If they flew over the bay they would be called bagels.
What do you call a centipede and a parrot? A walkie talkie.
What do you call a left-handed dog? A southpaw.
Lettuce taco ’bout your burger.
A guy enters 10 puns into a contest, but… No-pun-in-ten-did.
What does a secret agent pig write with? Invisible oink.
What did the burger say to the hot dog? ‘Sup Dog.
Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side.
3 guys walk into a bar, a priest, a gay guy and a straight guy. They all sit down and have a beer because they are all just people.
Knock knock. Who’s there? Me. Me who? Don’t be mean, I’m not an owl.
What do you get when you cross an elephant and a fish? Swimming trunks.
Why did the fat chicken cross the road? To get hit by my car.
A blueberry says to a green grape, I’m blue if I was green I would die.
Why does Cinderella suck at soccer? Because she always runs away from the ball and her coach is a pumpkin.
Why can’t monkeys open bananas with their noses? Because they can’t.
Questions or Comments
How was your burger? Did you get fries? Do you like food? I love food. Tacos. – I didn’t end up eating the burger – after I finished filming, I doused it in more ketchup and the ketchup smelled funny (it was pretty old) so I ended up throwing it out. Burgers come and burgers go… sigh… that is the cycle of life. Tacos… you can’t lose with a good taco.
Did you eat that cheese?
The cheese on the on the burger? Not sure what you are referring to, but if it was the cheese on the burger, no I didn’t – I had to chuck the burger – see above response.
Thank you! Please keep me in your prayers and I too will pray for your whole class. God bless you.
Will you go to heaven even if you’re gay?
What I think you are trying to ask is “Can you go to heaven if you experience same-sex attractions?” If this is true, then the answer is “yes”, and it is no different than someone asking “Can you go to Heaven if you experience opposite-sex attractions?” The reason is because the variable is simply the attractions we have been permitted to experience, without specifically choosing to experience them. Because we do not specifically choose our attractions (regardless of what they are), we know that the existence of our attractions is not in itself, “a committed sin”.
On that note, that does not mean we should take pride in our sexuality and that we should self-identify and define ourselves according to that single facet of who we are (pride in itself, is a sin because it is a glorification of self, which is contrary to the virtue of humility). It just simply means that we should acknowledge our attractions and or inclinations for what they are, while recognizing that we are more than our sexualities, and that even if we do experience same-sex attractions, we still have a very important role to play in God’s plan…and that role will be one in which we will be the living example of striving to exemplify Christian virtue (chastity and humility, among others). This is not a special treatment directed towards “gay” people (people who experience same-sex attractions), but rather is a call for all persons.
If you are asking whether a person can go to heaven if they, on purpose (specifically choose) to self-identify and define themselves according to their sexual attractions and or inclinations, then we need to examine the matter of specific choice, and where a person puts their relationship with God in that specific choice of how they see themselves. Do they place their sexuality above their relationship with God in how they see themselves? Or do they place their relationship with God above their sexuality in how they see themselves?
Remember, our sexuality is merely one facet of who we are (a very important and fully integrated facet), and since we ourselves are a part of finite creation, it means that our sexuality is also a part of finite creation, because our sexuality is a facet of who we are – the point being, we (including our sexualities) is finite. However, the Creator of our universe is greater than all that which is finite (everything in our universe, up to and including our universe itself). Since we know that “that which is infinite” is greater than “that which is finite”, ordering our relationship with God (who is finite) above our sexuality (which is finite) in how we see ourselves (in how we specifically choose to self-identify and define ourselves), is not simply something we are invited to do because “the Church says so”, but is rather something we are invited to do in order to be more completely honest with ourselves about what is actually true. That is, if we elevate God to be greater than sexuality, then we reflect a greater degree of truth and self-honesty for we are upholding the logical truth that the infinite is greater than the finite; or “that which does not come to an end” is greater than “that does come to an end”.
So ultimately, how we self-identify and define ourselves matters greater, because regardless of our attractions or inclinations, we all have the ability to specifically choose to order infinite God above finite creation, or not.
Now, to answer the main part of the question: Will I get to heaven if…? Only God knows what is on your heart, and we have to remember that our faith is a journey. There is not a checklist of the things you need to do “to get to heaven”, other than one thing: strive to put God first in your life in all ways. That is, strive to live in this world, but not be a product of this world. The Creator of our souls, God, invites us to journey towards Heaven, which is an infinitely greater reward than anything we could achieve or experience here on earth. Why? Because Heaven is God’s Domain – you get to hang with the infinite (and be fulfilled to the infinite degree), instead of being stuck in this world seeking fulfillment in the finite (or stuff that will come to an end).
None of us have a guarantee that we will get to Heaven, but that is why we strive to pursue truth and uphold that which is true, so that we can we live our lives according to that which is true. Most of the time that will lead us to being at odds with the ways of the world, which basically say “do everything to satisfy yourself”, and “you are the only person you need”. No one can live a joyful life in complete isolation – we need each other so that we can walk together – especially when all the pressure is to turn away. We are able to specifically choose to walk together into deeper relationship with the Lord, and the Lord will be the judge of your heart. But don’t forget, because He is infinite, His love for you is bigger than any sin that you might commit – so please do not fall to the false idea that the Lord God could never love you because of something you did, or because of something you have experienced.
So… will we get to heaven? I don’t know, but I do know that being open to growing in Christian virtue is on the right path because being open to growing in Christian virtue is the ordering of God above self. That is, the ordering of God above is reflected in one’s increased openness to growing in Christian virtue (including chastity, which means including a chaste self-concept). One day at a time my friend, your eternal reward awaits you. Rise up and take your place in His plan!
Are you sure 1 + 2 = 3?
Within our universe, stripped of any context, we believe this to be true. Outside of our universe though, we cannot assume that it is true, or that the underlying logic would hold, exist, or rather exist according to the same circumstance. Think about it, if 1 + 2 = 3 in our universe, that means there is some law in our universe that makes it true – yesterday, today, and probably tomorrow. However, that which is greater than our universe (the Creator of our universe) need not be subject to those laws . Why? Because if God is greater than our universe and is the Creator of our universe, then God is the author of those laws. If you authored a book, you could make changes or overwrite something, could you not? If we as finite creation can do that, how can we say that God, as infinite Creator could not?
If you eat that burger do you think you will be happy?
Not really – the burger was getting kind of cold and gross. Plus I put some rotten ketchup on it and had to throw it out. I am already a pretty happy guy – more joyful than happy though. Joy is where it’s at…that when the soul is shining bright. Sometimes we can be joyful, but not happy. Don’t get them confused. Strive for joy…happiness will follow. Strive for happiness, and you will be on an endless search to refill the happy-cup.
I thought God created us to have children. Is that one of the challenges of being gay?
This is a good question. Your question would apply to every person who has chosen to strive to live a holy and chaste life, such as Jesus Christ, a number of the Apostles (perhaps all of them), and Bishops, and every priest. The idea that “our purpose to have children” is true, but as you know, God calls us each into different vocations. Children are a great offering to the world, and the children you have could change the world – one person at a time, or even in the form of a world leader! But to link “doing God’s Will” to equal that we must have children is not entirely true. However, if we have faith and truly love God, and are honoring our vocation of chaste spousalship (aka being married), we will be motivated by our love for God, to come together, in love and self-sacrifice, to bring new life into this world and to raise and teach the children as best as they know how and are able.
The point I am trying to make is that this is not a “gay” thing, but an everyone thing, and the challenge isn’t that same-sex relationships are structurally closed to new life, but rather, all persons are structurally open to growing in the virtue of chastity. A holy relationship is open to the virtue of chastity (and all other virtues). All persons, regardless of their sexual attractions and or inclinations are called to strive to be the living examples of that virtue.
The other thing I would like to bring up is that your question seems to imply that if someone experiences same-sex attractions, God would not have the power or the ability to place a person of the opposite sex onto their heart. Many many many people believe that this would be impossible – especially adults. This unfortunately is a belief that says “God has no power”. I am not referring to anything having to do with the idea that people should “change their sexual orientation” or anything like that, but rather I am simply saying that we need to be open to the reality that God can do anything – which means that God can, if He wills it, place a member of the opposite-sex onto the heart of a person who experiences same-sex attractions, and lead them into Holy Marriage (and family). I personally know a number of people whom this has happened to – and one thing links them all – and that is their openness to continuously grow in the virtue of chastity, and to see themselves first and foremost as beloved children of God (the chaste self-concept).
These people are contradictions in our world, because our world says that it is impossible. Our world says that it is not possible for God to place another person onto the heart of another person. The world says that people do not specifically choose their attractions (which is true), and says that attractions just ‘come” (which is also true), but then says that only a certain type of attraction is possible for a certain person, by saying a person of the opposite sex cannot be placed onto the heart of someone who experiences same-sex attractions. The world tries to make us think that some things are not possible, when in fact they are. In this way, the world is promoting false ideas, as truth (and I invite you to investigate this, because I know that people generally don’t like being lied to).
These people I know – they have come to see themselves in a different way – not as “gays”, but rather first and foremost as beloved creations of God – who are still honest with themselves about the existence of their attractions and or inclinations. They do not run from their attractions, nor do they seek to “change” their attractions. They have simply chosen to open themselves to growing in the virtue of chastity, and to embrace a chaste self-concept, out of their love for Jesus Christ. Their anchor of fulfillment is now him, and their joy is found in growing in deeper relationship with Him, and in growing in His virtues (including the virtue of chastity). The thing is, as they have grown in their prayer life, they have become more and more open to God’s Will for them, and to be open to what God can do.
At the very least, we need to make sure to investigate what the world calls “truth”, to ensure that it is actually truth being upheld. Here is the truth that the Church upholds: that which is greater than our universe can overwrite anything in our universe, including that which is written on our hearts. To be closed to that idea is to say that the Infinite Author Creator of our universe is not greater than the finite authored creation. The world wants you to believe that, but the Church invites us to be open to that which is true, and to thus be open to what God may place on our hearts.
Sorry I couldn’t think of one but this is a sensitive and important topic for me.
Remember, God loves all of us as his precious children, regardless of our attractions and or inclinations. He invites us all to grow in the virtue of chastity (and other virtues) not so that we “miss out on life”, but rather so that we can live a life of joy, instead of a life containing a cycle of seek-and-not-find, searching for fulfillment everywhere except through Him. God’s love is infinite, ask Him for the strength to be the living example of a holy life in this world – you may reach hearts that others might not be able to reach. Surround yourself with people that will help you grow in a chaste self-concept, and be very aware that the world will try to get you (and others) to embrace an unchaste self-concept, so that you will be more likely to see yourself through a different lens – the lens that says “being straight/gay” is who you are.
The world wants people to label each other in this way because it re-routes our journey towards fulfillment from being oriented towards God (who can provide infinite love), to being oriented towards ourselves and coming to fruition in who we perceive ourselves to be, while self-identifying and defining ourselves in a way that elevates sexuality to be above God.
We can grow in holiness and be the living example of what it means to be a faithful Christian, simply by striving to grow in the virtue of chastity. All of us who are choosing to put our relationship with Christ first, walk together in that journey. God loves you and He has created you for this time and place – do not forget that – and there are so many people who need to know that God loves them, and is open to them exactly where they are at in their lives. You can be the living example of that love and virtue.
Is it considered a sin if you are gay? If so, is it a very bad sin?
We need to be careful to not label people as “gay” or “straight”. That is the product of our culture that says we should self-identify and define ourselves in that way, even though it does not accurately or completely reflect the fullness of who we are as persons. With that being said, our attractions and or inclinations are not specifically chosen, and thus their mere existence is not a committed sin. However, if we entertain any form of thought that compromises the purity of our hearts (I will leave you to think about what that means), then we are committing a sin – because we are engaging a deliberate act of the will – we are doing it “on purpose”.
Please know that many people out there are fixated on homosexuality, when really they should be looking at a bigger topic- the topic of sexuality in general. The reason for this is because the “very bad sin” that our world has committed (and promotes as a normal way of living), is the sin of specifically choosing to close oneself to the virtue of chastity. In other words, the sin of being unchaste – in heart (emotional, in body (physical), and in mind (in self-concept). The more people come to know the beauty of the virtue of chastity, through good example, the more people will see the joy that abounds within it. It is hard though to see the joy of chastity when the virtue of chastity is made to seem like a punishment or something for losers.
I can promise you this – the virtue of chastity when embraced, can protect your hearts and the hearts of your future spouses (one for each person of course), so that when you finally meet your spouse – if that is God’s Will, you will be able to give the wholeness of yourselves to each other, in a near unbreakable bond. This not only matters for you and your future spouse, but also for your future children, for you will be bringing about a circumstance in which there would be a very high probability of stability, which as many of us know with our own lives is a good thing to have in the home. Sadly many of us are left trying to figure out “what happened” and “how could I have done things differently” when our parents split up… it is not something that we should have to deal with at your age. Imagine if you could take steps to help prevent having your own children have to face those emotional situations….would you take those steps?
On that note, it might be interested to you in is looking into the divorce rates of couples who strive to practice chaste living. Those studies are generally pretty eye opening.
Why is it so hard to admit something to your friends because you’re afraid of what they’ll think of you? For me it was because I really desired to be loved and accepted. That’s common amongst most all of us. We also know that in grade 8, not everyone acts with maturity, so we also need to be careful with what we tell, and to who. We also need to make sure that if we tell someone, we are very clear to them that we are talking about the existence of our attractions (I assume that is what you are talking about), and that we are not talking about a way of self-identifying and defining ourselves. Remember, we live in a world that has built into the language that there is no difference between our attractions and or inclinations, and the way in which we should self-identify and define ourselves.
We are dealing with a world in which many people will want the best for us, and will try to help us in the best way they know how (this is a good thing in itself). The problem is that many of the adults will associate your “coming out” about the existence of your attractions, with a “coming out” that “you ARE gay”. Remember, identity labels are a big deal – they form our self-concept, and how others see us as well. If someone tries to have you embrace that identity, because they truly believe “it is what you are supposed to do”, you can be a bold example of the greater truth that you can choose to not self-identify yourself in that way, while still being perfectly honest with yourself about where you are at. That is, you can be perfectly honest with yourself about the existence of your attractions while specifically choosing to embrace a self-concept that is not anchored on only one facet of your being.
Many people of the world will think that it is crazy, but that is because they have not yet learned that attractions and identity are not the same thing. They might also reflect their investment into the way of thinking that everyone should be labeled “gay” or “straight” or somewhere in between. I simply invite you to continue to see yourself for more than that, and to be honest with yourself about the existence of your attractions, however, while also being honest with yourself that you can choose God above your sexuality in how you choose to self-identify and define yourself, and also being honest with yourself in acknowledging that God permits everything, and that it is entirely in His power to place a chaste-seeking spouse on your heart if it be your calling. That chaste seeking spouse will be a person who embraces a chaste self-concept – they will see themselves first and foremost as how God sees them, as His beloved child, and they will be looking for someone who also embraces a chaste self-concept. Perhaps that might be you? It begins with maintaining an openness to growing in the virtue of chastity.
I don’t know why it happens to me always?
I am not sure how to answer this question. Perhaps we can come to realize that just because something bad happens to us, it doesn’t mean we are getting the bad deal. Look at Terry Fox for example – he had something very bad happen to him. he got cancer, and instead of turning inwards, what he did is made a difference in this world by offering himself for others – by exemplifying strength, resilience, and leadership. It doesn’t matter the circumstance, we can use our lives to be the living example of the virtues of Christ, and in doing so, we can ignite the hearts of people to come alive in a journey towards greater understanding of everything they choose to pursue.
But it is tough sometimes – because it doesn’t seem fair. God does not will evil to be done, but He permits it to be done, by virtue of how He has chosen to create us. We all were created with the ability to exercise free will. Some people however, use that in ways that serve self instead of serve God, and in serving self, we often exploit or hurt others.
I will pray for you, and I really ask for your prayers too. That is something no one can take away from us – our ability to pray. And when you feel like you don’t want to pray, or that it is really hard to pray? That can often indicate that your prayers are needed the most. The dark side wants you to stop paying. It’s time we stopped giving him what he wants.
How did your parents react?
I was very blessed to have parents that reacted in a way that is very loving. I have friends who have been disowned, written out of wills, and all sorts of other things. They knew that I was talking about the experience of the attractions…and they too know that they are not something specifically chosen. I see myself first and foremost as how God sees all of us – as a beloved son (daughter I suppose if you are a girl lol). My parents know that, and they know I am offering my life joyfully to help other people come to know that God loves them too. I am very blessed, and thank God every day for the family I have. I did have to explain a ton of things to them though… that was not the most fun, but when it was all done and explained, it was the greatest feeling ever! I did have to assure them that “it wasn’t their fault” and that I was going to continue to strive to grow in holiness with the Church community (I recommend this for anyone). How did you find out your sexuality? Its a long story, and it involves more adult themes. If your parents permit, I could send my story to them.
At what age did you discover your sexuality?
I was nine. But that meant my mind was rather fixated on it for a long time. I had to learn to break a lot of habits. Today I perceive sexuality in a way more holy and awesome way than I ever did before. I say that to help you understand that what I have gone through has made me not only learn more, but also appreciate more. So much so, that today I desire with all my heart to continue to grow in the virtue of chastity – and I do this with great joy!
I think it was a good speech. I learned how God loves us for who we are!
That is awesome – now if we could only share that with more people!!! So many people are out there thinking that God doesn’t love them!! It is heartbreaking – but we can be the difference! God loves us where we are, and invites us to pursue a deeper relationship with Him.
What is finite?
To say something is “finite”, means that is has an ending point. That which is finite, comes to and end. Also, because it comes to an end, it means it had a beginning. That which is finite has both a beginning and an end. Our universe is finite. We are finite, because while our souls last forever with God, we still had a beginning. All of creation within our universe is finite, because our universe is finite.
We all know that “infinity” is goes on forever… so we know that the infinite is greater than the finite, which does not go on forever. And because the infinite is greater than the finite, it follows that “that which is infinite” can provide more than “that which is finite”. Hope this helps clear this up. It might be good to listen to the presentation again, with this understanding in mind. Thank you for your question.
I am very happy to see the Church is becoming more open-minded and talking about homosexuality – God loves us all!
I agree. It is tough though because we have to remember, not all priests are experts in all things, just as not all other people are experts in all things. In fact, the more I learn about this topic, the more I learn how little I know. I have come to the point where I realize that if there is anything good or of truth that I might help people understand, then truly it is by the grace of God, and not by my own doing. Truth belongs to the Author of truth, and the Church is here in our world simply upholding that which is true, and I am simply offering what I can, to help clarify some difficulties that exist in addressing this topic. At the end of the day, indeed God loves us all! The question is whether or not we choose to love him back – love Him above ourselves that is.
I just want to say thank you for being open to tell us about your personal life.
Thank you. If but one person was moved to pursue this deeper, and or came to know that they truly are loved by God and that they do belong in the Catholic Church, and that we are all called to grow in the virtue of Chastity and humility (among the other virtues), then all glory be to God. That might be one future canonized saint – and I don’t ever want to lose sight of that. I thank you for your prayers, sincerely from the bottom of my heart. God bless you!
Thank you for your faith in Christ and living out your sexuality under the Lordship of Christ.
Thank you for your words and prayers. Please know it is because of the faithful community of the Church, and by the grace of God, that I am able to share with you where I am today. If anything good is to come from this, let it all be directed to Him for His glory. God bless you!
Homosexuality: My Journey Into The Catholic Church
What people are saying:
“The material covered was very raw and moving, especially in how it was related it back to your personal journey. Our team likes the content.” - Steve Duran, Lighthouse Catholic Media
Currently featured on the Courage International home page: www.couragerc.org.
Part 1: Listen to Testimony HERE
Personal Testimony 0:00:00 to 0:45:00
Unscripted Audience Question and Answer Session 0:45:00 to 1:20:00
Part 2: Clarifying the Distinctions between Chastity, Celibacy, and Abstinence
A discussion around this question will be relatively fruitless unless one has an awareness and an understanding of the virtue of chastity itself. Note that the virtue of chastity is not the same as abstinence or celibacy. However, all three are very important and distinct facets of our potential journeys towards personal growth. To accurately communicate about objective truth, we must consider these facets to be distinct at all times. If we use them interchangeably, then we will be participating in the inhibition of truth. Brief clarifications aimed at highlighting the differences are as follows:
To abstain is to simply not do something (and yes, you can even abstain from “doing nothing”). Abstinence is actually celebrated in our culture – for example, we celebrate athletes who choose to abstain from eating junk food so that they can better maintain their nutrition, and who also choose to abstain from free time so that they can train rigorously. We even elevate these people to be models of how we should strive to grow. Our world contradicts itself by celebrating abstinence in this regard, but then implying that to choose to abstain from sexual activity is “ridiculous” and or “unnatural”.
To be chaste is to abstain for the glory of God above self (or anything else of this finite universe). This virtue transcends the realm of sexuality and is applicable to all facets of our lives. It pertains not as much to our behaviors as it does the state of our hearts. For example, a person might be open to growing in the virtue of chastity, and might even be striving to live chastely, but might not yet be successful in actually living chastely. Likewise, a person can abstain from sexual activity, but not have a chaste heart. Further, a person can become engaged in sexual activity while being chaste! That is, chastity does not mean “No sex!” – it does mean that if there is sex, it is “holy and virtuous sex”. In any case, a heart that is open to growing in the virtue of chastity will draw a person (over time) away from unchaste pursuits. Again, the degree to which a person is open to growing in that virtue reflects the state of their heart. The state of the heart needs to be more important of a focal point than assessing one’s precise behaviors, because the state of the heart is what motivates us into action.
While abstinence pertains to behavior and chastity pertains to the motivations behind behavior, celibacy is simply a discipline (not a “rule”), wherein people who are already striving to live chastely, are not having sexual relations. All of us are called to be open to growing in the virtue of chastity, but not all persons are called to commit their lives to celibacy. However, note that at any point where a person who is striving to live chastely (with regards to sexuality) is actually not having sexual relations, they are already practicing a temporary form of celibacy. In short, there is no celibacy without chastity, but there is chastity without celibacy. “Celibacy” without chastity is not celibacy at all, but is merely abstinence.
Part 3: Audience Questions and Comments with Written Answers
What would you tell someone who thinks the Church limits people who experience same-sex attractions by teaching the chaste lifestyle?
I would invite them to see how the virtue of chastity is something not reserved for people who experience same-sex attractions. The Church calls all of us to be open to growing in this virtue (among others), regardless of our attractions and or inclinations. If someone was to ask that question, it would seem to reveal to me that they did not realize that the Church treats all of us in the same way by recommending us to pursue holiness by way of growing in these virtues.
I would also invite a person to examine how the virtue of Chastity (or putting Christ first) pertains to more than the physical aspect of our lives. Chastity also pertains to the emotional and the mental aspects of our beings, with the latter being arguably more important because our self-concept (which influences the lens through which we view our lives) is what influences how we respond to our emotional and physical drives and desires.
In short, I would like to invite them to grow in their understanding of the virtue of chastity, and how when lived out, leads to a joyful life. This joyful life is exemplified in ways I never knew possible by so many of my brothers and sisters in Christ who I have met through Courage International, who are honest with themselves about the existence of their attractions, but who make the conscious decision to strive to grow in that virtue (among others). They inspire me every day, and quite frankly, I have never met anyone with as much joy as the people I have come to know and grow with via the Courage network. Courage has got to be one of the best secrets of the Church – I just wish it wasn’t so secret!
How would you begin to help someone who deals with same-sex attractions? The first thing I would do is not approach them as though it was my duty to “help” them. If there is a presupposition that a person who experiences same-sex attractions “needs help” (on account of their same-sex attractions and or way of self-identifying), then we are saying “you are not well, which is why you need help”, and that doesn’t go over well with people who don’t perceive that they need “help”.
Instead of thinking about how we can “help” people who experience (not who “have”) same-sex attractions, we need to simply think about how we can better walk with them towards the Lord Jesus Christ. We need to examine our own lives to ensure that we are the living, walking, breathing reason why they might want to grow in the virtues of Christ. That is very important because that is a call for all Christians – it does not discriminate against those who experience same-sex attractions, as though they are a group of people deserving of a special form of punishment. Chastity is not a punishment – as all people who choose to live chastely know. However, before I made the decision to be open to growing in the virtue of chastity, I absolutely thought it was some form of terrible idea – because I had not yet tasted its joys and freedoms. But now I have – and for several years, and I’m not ever looking back!
What kind of pants do clouds wear? Thunderwear!
Can you give me some tips to be an example to homosexuals who live in a lustful life?
The best thing we can do is pray about how we can emulate the love of Christ. That means, we really need to look not to “the things we are doing”, but rather the spirit in which we are doing them, so that each one of our moves is motivated out of our love for Christ, for the service of all humankind.
One of the first ways we can exemplify that is by approaching this topic without judgement, and without assumption. We cannot judge that just because a person says “I am gay”, that it means anything beyond that they experience same-sex attractions. We might be able to make reasonable guesses based on how much we know about them, as to their degree of openness to (and awareness of) the virtue of chastity, but we cannot assume that they are closed to that virtue – or that they in particular are living lustful lives. In other words, we cannot assess the heart in which they live their lives, nor is it our jobs. All we can do is be the living invitation of the beauty and joy of the virtue of Chastity. If we do a good job of living that virtue (which will help us grow in other virtues as well), then perhaps maybe more people will decide that they too want to taste that peace and joy that we experience on account of our openness in that way.
Thank you so much for coming and talking. I’m not Catholic, but I went through and am going through the same thing. I also had a similar “aha” moment in my freshmen year of high school.
How might I respond to the assumption of many people that same-sex attraction is 100% a choice?
Remind them that they did not specifically choose who they were attracted to. Be sure to use the phrase “specifically choose”. There is a deliberate reason for this, and that is this: every decision we make forms us in some way or fashion. In particular with pornography, the choice we make to consume that (really it consumes us of course) influences the nature of our sexual appetite – we become attracted to that which will give us a greater “high”. What that will look like is anyone’s guess, but it is a great example of how our a choice (to entertain our lustful heart) can lead us to be attracted to an entirely different array of things, while none of those newly formed attractions are indeed “a specific choice”.
The better thing to do would be to simply ask them where they learned what they are saying, and simply offer an open invitation to learn more about the topic of not just homosexuality, but sexuality altogether. Invite them, elevate the standard of your conversation so that it pertains to all types of attractions, and then pray with them. Trust God that He will open hearts on His time.
What advice would you give to people who experience same-sex attractions (or who know people who do) about what their next step should be (if they are Catholic and are trying to live chastely)?
Here is what I think might be valuable – if they are already striving to live Holy Chaste lives:
1) Accept yourself, and recognize that the attractions simply are what they are.
2) Pray for the graces to continue to grow in the virtue of chastity.
3) Surround yourself with other persons who are striving to grow in virtue as well. Think about it: just as if you stand neck deep in horse poop, you come out smelling like horse poop, if you stand neck deep in “virtue”, you come out smelling like “virtue”. In other words, the people you hang around with will have an influence on how successful you are at growing in those virtues.
4) Let go of the idea that people “should change their sexual orientation”, and instead come to embrace that we should all be “oriented first and foremost to Christ”. In other words, let go of the “gay-straight spectrum” (with regards to how we see each other) and instead begin to see each other first and foremost according to how Christ sees us – as His beloved.
5) Don’t ever put parameters on what the Lord can do. One of the biggest tragedies is that many young people believe that as soon as they experience same-sex attractions, it means they “are gay” and that is the end of the story. For them (and me) the hope of having a “traditional” family is crushed, and we often begin to believe that we may be single “forever”. Maybe chaste singleness is your call, maybe it is not. Perhaps it is chaste spousalship. To be closed to that is to be closed to what God might have in store for you. But that won’t happen without chastity first being embraced wholeheartedly.
Simply put, the Lord call us all to exemplify a chaste heart – and through that, I have seen the Lord place an opposite sex spouse on the hearts of people who experience same-sex attractions. Not everyone, but a great deal – many more than you would ever hear about in the mainstream media (which basically works to ensure these people never hit the news). This often gets confused by the media as some form of self-deception, but the world that is closed to chastity cannot speak for the potential fruits of the virtue of chastity. Should we pursue chastity though “to get a spouse”? No. That would be an unchaste pursuit and intention – for it puts our will above the Will of God, and what he might have in store for us. Quite simply, we have to all humble ourselves to His Will, and be open to His calling, whatever that may be. For many of us, it will mean living a single life, however, we are never alone when we live a single life for the Lord. This I know, because I am living it right now – and I have never felt less isolated in my entire life.
Many people who have both a relationship with God and who experience same-sex attractions struggle with the idea that if they are to maintain both, they must accept the idea that they must be chaste for life. How did you come to grips with this idea?
Here is sort of the journey I went through…
1) We are all called to be chaste for life.
2) Not all people are called to be celibate (I think you might have been referring to celibacy in your question).
3) I had to let go of this idea that chastity was a punishment. Of course, when I didn’t know any other way of living, it did seem like a punishment. It was more of a subconscious transformation of my heart that I was only able to come to recognize after the fact.
4) I have come to learn to trust God, and I have already come to know of His Mercy, and also His power, and through that have come to know that my plans are not His plans.
There came a point where I had made a decision to offer my life for His service, in whatever capacity I was called, and within that brought all the more strength to grow in the virtues, and to be at peace within them. With that, over time, the fear I had in my heart about “being alone” subsided, as I came to know more and more that I was not alone at all! I was surrounded by people who love me for who I am, and who are willing to walk with me all the way to Heaven. Now just praying that I actually get through the gates when the time comes! Haha. It ultimately came down to this question: “Why am I trusting myself over God? My life is a trainwreck!!” Once I faced that, probably around 8 years ago or so, I realized that I had to die to my ways and my fears, and just learn to trust again.
You were born Catholic, how would you address people who experience same-sex attractions who have no sort of religious background and are not interested in pursuing a relationship with Jesus Christ?
I would start by helping them understand that to me, it doesn’t matter where someone is in their life, their journey is important and needs to be respected because it has brought them to where they are today. I probably wouldn’t address people in this situation unless they specifically asked. Rather, I would pray for them that perhaps they might want to ask questions about this topic. If it was a classroom session sort of thing and I had a group like that in the audience (maybe I did tonight even!), all I would be able to do is share my story, and how I have come to know that in my journey towards greater self-honesty I have come to the conclusion that I can no longer self-identify and define myself in any form or fashion that is “reductionist” in nature. I can share my journey, and that it about it, and I would hope and pray that their hearts might be softened to be open to such a story. Here again comes the whole matter of trusting God. Anything that is good that arises out of this is all by the Grace of God. I simply would need to trust God above myself, and just offer myself in the way He was calling me. That would come clear of course with prayer and frequently receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist. Trust God above self. There, I said it in four words.
Is there a different approach you would take to evangelizing a person who experiences same-sex attractions, as opposed to someone who does not?
Well, the Church calls all us of to strive to exemplify Christian virtue, regardless of our sexual attractions and or inclinations. The Church also calls to be the living reason of why someone would want to grow in deeper relationship with Christ in the first place. All we can do is use our lives in the way we are able, to help that become a reality. So, to answer your question: no, I hope to walk with anyone who will walk with me, to our Lord Jesus Christ. J
How do you suggest going about encouraging someone who experiences same-sex attractions to not act on their attractions, especially if they have rejected Christ in their heart?
This may sound like a cop-out, but I would pray for them, and ask others to do the same. If a person has already rejected Christ in their heart, then they have already also rejected the virtue of chastity. If a person has rejected the virtue of chastity, they have definitely rejected the notion of chaste self-concept, and if they have rejected the idea of chaste self-concept, then their coming to fruition in their perception in self, will have nothing to do with striving to grow in the virtue of chastity.
This closedness to the virtue of chastity must be responded to with prayer. I don’t mean like performing a prayer circle and like ambushing the person – like the kind of “prayer camps” they show on TV and what not. When I see that sort of thing, my heart breaks because while prayer is good, there are far more better (and less damaging) ways to inspire a person to actually want to grow in relationship with Christ. Prayers are still good (for everyone), but it is how we pray, and what we pray for, that makes the difference. To know the “best” way per any circumstance, you need to make sure it is not “your way”, because if it is “your way” then chances are pretty good it is not God’s way. We are the ones who have to pray and let go before we get into the business of declaring the “best” way to reach someone. That’s a humbling process to go through.
What would you say to people who argue that the Church hates gay people because the Church does not support same-sex marriage?
I would invite them to consider how myself, and more and more people from all walks of life are coming to embrace the Catholic Church, despite being permitted the experience of same-sex attractions. Truly though, if someone is arguing that, it is likely a good indicator that their mind is made up about things. In that case, pray. My favourite thing to say is “Let’s look into this a little deeper”, because often times those who have their mind made up, are repelled and or frustrated at the idea that they have anything to learn at all. It is really sad. But for some reason they think the way they do. That means that you need to pray for their heart to soften. At the very least, if it were me being “argued at”, I would invite them to explain how I could possibly exist – and know that I am loved by the Catholic Church, and that the Catholic Church is where I can call home. He would have to explain away my existence in order to be justified in his argument (and believe me, they will try to do this).
What is blue and smells like red paint? Blue paint!
What is your opinion on same-sex marriage, and how do we address this as Catholics?
It is as simple as the matter of chaste-self-concept. The Church does not affirm any persons to become further invested in a life in which they are embracing an unchaste self-concept. That means, if you wholeheartedly self-identify and define yourself according to your sexuality (in any fashion), the Church is not able to affirm you towards becoming further invested in that way of seeing yourself, whether it by giving you a pat on the back, or by officiating a ceremony by which you will come to deeper fruition within that identity. It has nothing to do with “picking on gay people”, and everything to do with elevating the standard by which we see ourselves, so that we can come to wholeheartedly embrace identities that reflect the fullness of who we are. In addition to that, it of course has to do with the reality that the Church can only uphold that which is true, and thus must affirm us towards the truth that the infinite is greater than the finite, and that we should thus anchor our self-concepts on the infinite in order to experience the greatest possible degree of joy. Sigh.
The Church simply wants us to embrace greater truth because when we do that we reflect a greater degree of self-honesty with regards to who we are and how we fit into this world. We are so much more than “gay” or “straight”… there is just so much more to the picture. It all comes down to this: people who are pursuing chaste self-concepts are not out there striving to come to fruition in an unchaste self-concept. Pursuing a same-sex marriage is preceded by the pursuing of a same-sex relationship, and a same-sex relationship (as a means of fulfillment) is preceded the wholeheartedly embracing of the idea that “being gay is who I am”. So the very first and foremost thing that any Christian needs to look to is the matter of identity embraced – the matter in which we specifically choose to self-identify and define ourselves as persons. It all starts there.
Can Catholics who suffer from same-sex attractions make good parents?
Anyone can become a good parent – and we become better parents when we learn to love our children in the way that God loves us, fully and self-sacrificially, and of course with enough love to hold us accountable for our decisions. Many parents in opposite-sex relationships are persons who experience same-sex attractions, but have simply chosen to live out their vocation as fathers and mothers within that relationship, out of their love for God, which motivates them to place their family above themselves, and to continually strive towards the virtue of chastity. I know these people – it is virtually unheard of in the mainstream media, but it is way more common than you would think.
The point is that just because a person experiences same-sex attractions, it does not mean that they are destined to “be gay” or that they would be bad parents. Rather it simply means that there is an attraction. However, like any person who experiences any attraction, we simply need to place God above our attractions and remember that we are here for Him above ourselves – in our lives, and in how we see ourselves. Simply put, if everyone would do this more, or better, this world would be a different place.
One final note – and I could have opened with this…the whole idea that people who experience same-sex attractions “suffer” on account of those attractions, is a very delicate concept. We cannot ever take for granted that people “suffer” same-sex attractions because we truly do not know how they are perceiving it. If a person does not think much about it and certainly does not consider themselves to be suffering on account of their attractions and or inclinations, then it might be considered quite offensive to them that people think they are suffering. Regardless of what we think about that situation, we have to remember that what we say truly does matter with regards to how someone might respond. In short, the less assumptions we make, the better.
Do you read First Things? And if so, did you read the article in last month’s issue called “Against Heterosexuality”? (Because a lot of the stuff you said about attractions and identity sounds similar)
No, I don’t think I have – but it sounds interesting. Send me a link via the organizer please – I would love to check it out. Thanks for the heads up!
What percentage of people who experience same-sex attractions had a sexual assault in their life?
This is a question that I don’t think anyone can answer with any degree of certainty. What we do know is “not all”. In fact, it would be very counter-productive for us to assume that persons who experience same-sex attractions have experienced a tragedy such as this. However, it would be good to be mindful of typical indicators just in case it did occur, and you are in relationship with them to a degree where you could help them find someone to talk to if they were ready. Again – it boils down to relationship.
The other big thing to remember is that with online pornography gripping nearly the entirety of the younger generation (girls and guys), we know that it is influencing sexual appetite. Persons who become same-sex attracted through pornography might never have experienced any form of inflicted abuse from another person. However, at this stage of our world, I would assert that pornography might be one of the greatest factors influencing (subconsciously) what a person is attracted to – again without a specific choice, but still the result of choices being made (the choices to consume pornography).
What steps did you take in coming to terms with your sexual abuse?
I had a turning point in my life where in my heart I knew that I had to forgive him. This came after quite a journey of growing deeper in relationship with Christ – which brought me to let go a lot of things of this world. It also brought me to the point of realizing that I am to love those who I “might not want to love”, and that the most profound showing of love is to genuinely pray for the well-being of someone’s soul. I found that after this turning point, I was much more at peace, and that I “had my life back”. Meaning, the anger and hurt, no longer festered inside of me. Rather, I was free. Forgiveness set me free to enter a new chapter of my life. But it was God’s love that motivated me to forgive.
What are some sources to give to people to learn about the Church’s teachings on same-sex attractions?
I would start by first inviting people to regularly attend the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I know this might not seem related, but within that Sacrament, we experience the Grace of God in a profound way – even if we don’t “feel” it. In that Sacrament, we humble ourselves to share our shortcomings with a person (acting in persona Christi), but it is through that act of humility, motivated by our love of Christ, that our hearts begin to soften to others. This matters greatly so that as we come to learn about the topic of homosexuality as a whole, we can do it while being more aligned to the heart of Christ. The angle by which we approach this topic will influence how we internalize our understanding of it. Thus, frequent and regular Reconciliation is the first “source” I would “give to people” (really, it is God who gives this to us).
Following that, the next thing to do would be to recognize that resources in which the fullness of Catholic Church teaching is not capable of being reflected, are resources that might be “good”, but should never be considered “enough”. These would be resources in which there is no distinction made between ones non-specifically chosen attractions and or inclinations, and one’s specifically chosen way of self-identifying and defining themselves. In other words, resources in which words like “gay”, “straight”, “heterosexual”, “homosexual”, “transgender”, “bisexual”, “queer”, or any of the “ex” labels (like “ex-gay”), are not clarified to make the distinction between our non-specifically chosen attractions and or inclinations, and how we specifically choose to self-identify and define ourselves. If you find a resource that does not consider those to be distinct, you know that within it, the fullness of Catholic truth cannot be reflected, and thus, you should keep that in mind when assessing the resource and what (or how much) it has to offer.
As well, if those sorts of terms are used as nouns, in effect to say “Gays and Straights”, as in “Gay-Straight Alliance” (prevalent in Canadian culture), we would know right away that the resource is using those terms as a means of defining people, which is counter to Church teaching because defining ourselves first and foremost according to those terms (according to one facet of our creation) is to not define ourselves first and foremost according to our relationship with God (our infinite Creator). That is, to define ourselves and each other in that way, is to embrace and ascribe unchaste identities, which contribute to ourselves and others coming to develop an unchaste self-concept.
It is important to note that resources in which those clarifications are not made, there still might be a great deal of value in reading and understanding. They may correspond to the state of someone’s heart in a way that reaches them in a more profound level. All we need to do is recognize that there is a spectrum from the absence of truth to the fullness of truth, and if we are sincere about understanding the Catholic Church, we must continually strive to grasp greater degrees of truth. Of course, this is a journey, and we are simply starting from wherever we are starting from.
There a number of good resources out there on this topic, but it is not possible to list them all. However, with your understanding of the difference between non-specifically chosen attractions and or inclinations and specifically chosen way of self-identifying and defining ourselves, and with your understanding of the role and significance of identity ascribed and embraced (as it pertains to how we perceive we should pursue fruition), you will be able to assess resources more effectively, and thus be more likely to continue on your journey towards deeper truth and understanding.
It can all be summed up like this: it is our job to present the truth upheld by the Catholic Church, in a way that becomes the reason why someone might want to grow in deeper relationship with Jesus Christ within the Catholic Church. No resource can do that, better than you, the person. That is why you are the first resource. Beyond that, I would contact Courage International for resources that have been approved and vetted. Courage International is the only ministry in the world that has the blessing of the Vatican, for its work with persons like me. There are many other groups that try to claim Catholicity, but all you have to do is examine whether or not they uphold the idea that we should grow in a chaste self-concept. You will find they do not. Courage however does, and within it, receives us where we are, and invites us to walk together along this road to deeper understanding – where we come to grow on our own terms. They don’t put a box around us, in fact they lift it off of us. The resources the use also reflect that – the love of Christ, and the journey together.
Is there a difference between saying someone “is gay” and saying someone “has same-sex attractions”?
Yes there is definitely a difference. We so flippantly say the former, when we should be saying something more like the latter. The former is where we ascribe an unchaste identity label onto a person. This contributes to the social-practice of embracing unchaste identity labels – which when wholeheartedly embraced (whatever the attraction), influence a person’s journey towards fulfillment to be more anchored on their coming to fruition within that identity. When we say the latter, we elevate (correctly) personhood to be greater than sexuality, and we clarify in our language that we are specifically talking about a person’s non-specifically chosen attractions. This reflects a greater degree of truth than saying someone “is gay” or “is straight“, because when we speak in those terms, we mesh together that which is not specifically chosen (attractions) and that which is specifically chosen (the notion of identity embraced – even if it not yet embraced by that particular person).
Further, to say someone “has” a particular attraction, embeds the notion of permanence. However, as any sexual-minority advocacy group will tell you, sexual attractions and inclinations are fluid – they move along a spectrum. While we don’t specifically choose them, we do make decisions in our life that will influence them (for example looking at pornography has a profound effect on sexual appetite). Because sexuality is fluid (different from sex which is XX or XY), and is something we experience as a part of the human experience, it is far more prudent to speak in terms of “attractions experienced”, as opposed to something you “have”. When we speak in terms of “attractions experienced”, it also deteriorates the notion of permanence. It is ironic how there can be mobility between sexual attractions and or inclinations among the sexual minority categories, but there cannot (so the world says) be mobility towards “opposite sex attractions”. Yet there can be mobility to “bisexuality” which contains opposite-sex attractions.
This approach of the world as you can probably easily see, is illogical – and we cannot reflect honesty about who we are, when we embrace an illogical position about who we are. The point being is that just because a person experiences xyz attractions today, it does not mean they will experience xyz attractions for their whole life. It would be imprudent to claim this to be true, when everything about neuroscience speaks against it (our brains are consistently changing in structure based on what we do in our lives). That is why it is most prudent to annihilate the concept of “permanence” when referring to any form of sexual attractions or inclinations experienced, and we can do that by no longer speaking in terms of sexual attractions and or inclinations being something we “have”.
Also, saying “have” can be misleading with regards to how people might perceive our approach. This matters because how people perceive us might influence whether they are open or closed to us. Think about it. You “have” cancer. You “have” AIDS. You “have” the flu. If we say someone “has” same-sex attractions, we need to know that many people will perceive that we are lumping that in along with other ills of the world. Whether you think it is accurate to do so or not, needs to come in second to the reality that if you do this, there will people who will close themselves to you, or even become hostile towards you. While we know that is a part of being a faithful Catholic in a world that is hostile to Catholicism that does not mean we must limit ourselves to approaches that are of that fashion. If there is a better way to evangelize, use it. That is why we need to have the precision of a surgeon with our language and approach when evangelizing on this topic.
What does the Church teach and what have you learned about how to live out chastity as someone who experiences same-sex attractions? What about marriage?
The Church upholds that chastity is the way to a joyful life – and that we are all called to live chastely, regardless of our attractions and or inclinations, and regardless of our state in life (married or single). That means there is such a thing as chaste sexuality (and don’t get that mistaken with a boring sex life – imagine how awesome it would be to share the fullness of yourself in a fully self-sacrificial way, for the Glory of God – without being a subject of someone’s lust, and without being used to merely satisfy a person’s carnal desire). How awesome would it be to engage in a purely chaste sexual oneness, with your spouse, with whom you have committed to honor God, while fully inspired by the infinite love and fulfillment of God? If God has it in the cards that I should have a spouse, that would be the type of sexual relationship it would be. Why settle for less? I have been used, and I have been the user – some of you know first-hand, that “it is never enough”…and that is why we keep looking for more when in that cycle. Why settle for less, when you can choose to pursue a holy and chaste relationship!
What about marriage? God will only call us into chaste relationships. My number one concern is uniting my heart to the heart of Christ. If God decides to place a woman onto my heart (which I am open to – I cannot put parameters on what God can do), I know that this said person (if she exists) I will be able to get to know through the heart of Christ, unified in his service at the foot of the cross. And I’m good with that. If you were to have a spouse, wouldn’t you want them to be unified to Christ as well? And that is why I am patient, and am okay with the potential reality that that might not occur. Why? Because my life is for God – and this was a joyful self-offering. I live out my vocation, in joyful chastity, open to His calling for me. Will there be marriage? I don’t know – but I don’t have to know. I just have to trust that He has a plan. So far, that trust has never let me down, and in fact has blown away my expectations over and over again. It is for that reason, I am not concerned about that (or many other things of this world). Marriage would be great, but God’s plan (whatever it is – and which may include marriage), is greater.
What do you think about a full chaste relationship between two same-sex persons? Will that be considered a wrong relationship?
A fully chaste relationship between persons is what the Church calls all of us to enter! Same-sex or opposite sex! However, the fact that you asked this question makes me think that the virtue of chastity needs to be clarified. Simply remember this: there is physical chastity, emotional chastity, and also a chaste identity (which leads to a chaste self-concept). A relationship between two people of the same-sex that is fully open to the virtue of chastity is an awesome thing, because within that relationship, they will be seeing themselves wholeheartedly first and foremost in relationship with God, and thus will encourage each other to pursue fruition within that identity (of being a beloved son or daughter of the Most High – which means to grow in the virtues of chastity, humility, and obedience (recognizing that the 2000 year old Church has more wisdom than… you).
However, we all know Christians who are saying that they can be “gay and Christian” – and while their are half way correct (they can experience same-sex attractions and live authentically Christian lives), they are also halfway incorrect, in that you cannot be closed to a chaste identity (by wholeheartedly embracing the gay identity) and still claim to be fully Christian. Rather, to be closed to a chaste identity (and thus a chaste self-concept), is to be closed to the fullness of Christianity. That is a specific choice. However, the notion that those who wholeheartedly self-identify according to their sexual attractions and or inclinations are “not good Christians” is a very dangerous (and inaccurate) notion – for people will be as good of a Christian as they know how – once they know Christ. Once a person comes to know Christ to a deeper degree, they will be motivated to be open to growing in the virtue of chastity, and that will be reflected within their way of self-identifying and their resulting self-concept. One cannot serve two masters – he who promotes that which is unchaste, and He who promotes that which is chaste.
In short, we all need to grow in our understanding of chastity, and then live the joy of that virtue, so that people will see it not as a punishment, but as a freedom – or as a way out of an unfulfilling cycle (with our concept of fulfillment of course being attached to how we truly see ourselves – which reveals our earthly attachments (or lack thereof). Chaste same-sex relationships are awesome. I love my same-sex friends…chastely, and we are united in our sharing of our greatest concern, which is the health and well-being of our souls – which is why we pray to continue to grow in that virtue and others. It’s a joyful life, but I can imagine how difficult it would be for someone to understand it, had they not walked the walk, or experienced the joy.
Yes, you are misinterpreting. As much as society tries to paint it as otherwise, the Catholic Church receives all of us wherever we are at in our lives, in whatever way we choose to self-identity and define ourselves, and whatever our attractions or inclinations might actually be. Society seems to try to paint it as otherwise because the Church does not affirm us in ways that further invest us into identities that are centered on anything other than first and foremost our relationship with God.
No questions. Beautiful story. Thank you for sharing! Thank you for being open to my journey. God bless you!
I’m a Catholic male and same-sex attractions are a part of my story. However, I know I’m called to marriage – with a woman. Boom!
Problem: Many think it’s not possible and that I’m deceiving myself. This disheartening response reflects a closedness to what God could write on our hearts, and those who simply label me as “bisexual” reveal a closedness to my story. See, this is not about sexuality, but rather about God, and how He can transform our hearts.
In The Beginning…
In 2007, I came to desire a Holy Sexuality (thank you Christopher West!) and for the first time, I opened my heart to chastity. In short, I went from considering same-sex relationships to Adoring the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus Christ began to bring surprise after surprise!
About a year ago, God boldly wrote on my heart to pursue friendship with a particular woman. With courage that I had never before seen from my inner being, that is what I did.
In our time together and apart, there were signal graces. It was fun and inspiring, but also life-altering in holy and profoundly virtuous ways. That is how I knew (and know) it was from God. I came to truly hope that she might be my future wife.
I was very attracted to her and knew I was called to protect her honor in all ways possible, and to pray for her. Over time, we grew together in holiness, and revealed our hearts to each other bit by bit amongst laughter, smiles, and eventually the occasional small kiss on the cheek.
I loved her in the way God was calling me to love her at that time, and I began to fall in love with her as well. She brought great joy into my heart, while drawing me closer to Christ.
Then one night, while I was home alone praying the Rosary, God wrote His question onto my heart. He asked “Would you sacrifice for her?”
“Yes, Lord, of course I would”, I responded.
He followed, “Would you sacrifice her for her? [Do you love her to the point where you would be willing to sacrifice the potential reality of ever having her as your wife, for the sake of her soul, and the Glory of the Kingdom?]”
With this realization of what God was asking, I reluctantly (while knowing it was right) said “Yes Lord… I would”.
It was as though a showering of grace occurred that moment.
Shortly after, she knew in her heart that we couldn’t go on as is. I know this was of God, because there were fruits of increased virtue – for both of us. Today I know God wrote this on her heart because I was not fully listening to what He was writing on mine at the time. Regardless, His grace brought me to love her enough to honor God’s plan above mine, and that brought the peace of Christ in my heart to a whole new level. Throughout this process, God healed my heartache and I grew in ways I never imagined.
Today I see that our friendship was a tiny foretaste of Heaven in that is was founded on virtue, and was rooted in our mutual love of Christ-above-self. If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t change a thing about it – including the heartache, for that helped unite my heart to our Lord Jesus Christ in a whole new way!
But wait! This is joyful story! It reflects the wonder of God and the power of His grace! He wrote her onto my heart when the world said it could never happen! Though my vocation may be marriage, religious life, or single life, today my hope has been restored that God could author a holy marriage with a woman in my future, if it be in His Will.
Her name… actually means “hope”. How awesome is that!
A wise friend once told me “Marriage is not for happiness, but rather for holiness… and it is through holiness that we begin to taste the joy that God invites us all to experience.”
With that on my heart, how can I keep from singing!
Now… who shall I sing with?
Thank you Jesus and Mama Mary!
Love you all,
Part I of this article can be read here.
I am a Catholic male, and same-sex attractions are a part of my story. However, does that mean I am destined to be alone? I don’t think it does, and I invite you to open your heart to my voice.
It’s All About Virtue…
Like many others, I often tried to convince myself that I could live my prior unchaste life “just one last time” before really committing to Christ. However, that “one last time” never seemed to arrive. It took a transformation of heart, by the grace and mercy of God, to move beyond that cycle.
The Specific Choice
I had to ask myself what I really wanted more in life – the temporary and fleeting rush of unchaste activity, or a chaste heart prepared for a future spouse – if that be in God’s plan. The answer is the latter. I have already come to know that unchaste activity is not fulfilling, while the pursuit of a chaste heart is fulfilling. However, people try to discredit and or take pity on people like me because they believe it is our nature “to be gay“, and thus in striving to live chastely, we are denying our nature.
Their reality seems to be anchored on the truth-inhibiting idea that people simply “are gay” or “are straight” (or are somewhere in between).
The fact is: We Are More.
Infinite Love and Infinite Possibility
People like me don’t seem to fit into most people’s perception of reality. Some are charitable in their attempt to make us fit their reality, while others are not – often twisting our words, or claiming that we are self-hating and or delusional. In either case, what is revealed is that many are not yet able to consider the fact that regardless of the attractions and or inclinations we might experience, hearts that are open to growing in the virtue of chastity can be forged together, by God, for the glory of God.
Could a person like me have a person of the opposite sex placed on my heart for chaste spousalship? Absolutely – and I find hope in this because one day I hope to be a good husband and father (married to a female). When I “came out”, my hopes of this were dashed, but in opening myself to growing in virtue, I have begun to have hope again.
The Longings Of My Heart
Over time, the longings of my heart have transformed to be oriented towards that which is pleasing to God; that is, that which is virtuous. If chaste spousalship is in His plan for me, then I will be able to pursue the longings of my heart – with my future spouse, within a chaste and holy relationship. By the grace of God, today I have the self-control to be patient while God prepares me for this encounter – should it be in His plan. How awesome would it be to have the longings of the heart fulfilled in a way that amplifies virtue! If chaste spousalship is not in His plan for me, I know I’m still better off for my efforts to strive to grow in virtue, because the joy and fellowship that I experience on account of those efforts is greater than what I ever before knew was possible!
Why Christ and Why Virtue?
Two people unified in the Heart of Christ (and thus who are open to growing in virtue) are able to offer to each other more than themselves. This is because they would be first and foremost abiding in His infinite love, which would permit them to offer His infinite love to one another. Without Christ’s infinite love, we would be left to give each other at best only our finite selves. However, for as long as the infinite is greater than the finite, I am compelled by my own commitment to self-honesty, to embrace the truth that whether or not there is a spouse in my future, if I simply want to love more profoundly, I must stay rooted in Christ with a continuous openness to grow in His virtue.
Would I like to be a spouse/husband/father one day? Of course! But… pursuing those desires needs to always come second to responding to God’s calling for me.
And… I’m at peace with that.