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!