Thursday, April 28, 2016

Is There a Place for those with Same Sex Attraction in the Church?

I was once asked by a student if I was "pro-gay" or "anti-gay." My simple, but emphatic response was, and still is, "I'm pro human being."

What most wouldn't realize is that response is perfectly in line with the teaching of the Catholic Church. Consider paragraph 2358 of the Catechism:

"The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition." (emphasis added)

People on all sides have a hard time with the "hate the sin, love the sinner." The only option seems to be love both or hate both. The Catholic Church is perfectly happy with the slightly more complex, slightly messier "both/and" approach that is one of the hallmarks of Catholic thought.

We are called first and foremost to love the sinner--any sinner. At the same time we call sinners to accept the challenges (crosses) of our situations and states in life. This includes me. As a married man, I have challenges and temptations that are the normal stuff of life in a Fallen world. My Church calls me to embrace those challenges and, with God's grace, allow them to lead me to a fullness of life I would miss out on if I refuse to take them up.

Our brothers and sisters with same-sex attraction are called to share in this life too. Without question they face different and probably heavier challenges than most of us. I'd like to think the possibilities and promises are just as great.

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