From time to time I have been approached by an anxious parent who is concerned their son or daughter is same sex attracted.
Usually, their enquiry is centred around the Church’s teaching on their situation. Are they required to condemn their child’s behaviour? Should they oblige their child to seek counselling? Or, if the facts are more established, should they refuse to meet their child’s partner? Should they cut off contact with their child?
Until now, I’ve emphasised the primacy of love, and referred them to the Encourage apostolate. It’s advice which is always met with relief. I think it crosses people’s minds that they must choose between their child and their faith.
Now I’ve got an additional resource I can draw on. I have no idea how many of those parents I spoke to contacted Encourage. That may be something of an intimidating step. An excellent intermediary might be reading an article whose title says it all: My Catholic kid is gay! Now what?
Not only is the author a mother, but she’s also a Catholic with an ongoing same-sex attraction. As you can imagine, she writes with a lot of insight and authority. A sample:
The single greatest thing we must do if our child struggles with SSA is keep the relationship loving and open. If we worked hard while raising our child to ensure he understands the Church’s teaching about sexuality, then more preaching will only drive a wedge between you and you’ll lose the Catholic influence you could have on his life. When our children have chosen the wrong path, we need to fight their sin with prayer and sacrifice, NOT words.
To my mind, it strikes a perfect balance of compassion, supernatural outlook, and fidelity to our Lord’s teachings. See for yourself.
The EnCourage sister website is Courage http://www.courage.cam.org.au/ … I learnt so much when building it a few years ago now and was amazed at the information that I had never heard of before. It was very insightful and should be distributed more widely. Great post Fr J 🙂
Fr John – Congratulations! This is a very good topic and I hope it reaches those who are most in need. I posted a topic on 11th July, 2012 on my blog – David was a Gay but with counselling and help in India, he is healed – Christ is the Answer! I am going to post another small article on ‘Gay’ and I will recommend the ‘Entourage’ webpage to them. Thanks!
Perhaps father, you might want to refer SSA people to this blog of a catholic guy who has SSA but strives to live a good catholic life. It’s quite interesting…
First and foremost,homosexual relationships are an abomination before the Lord. It is the ultimate insult and contraception in its extreme form. Even when a woman in a hetrosexual relationship takes or uses a contraceptive method, conception is still possible. However homosexual and lesbian relationships take this to the utmost extreme because conception is impossible, they cut God out completely. Homosexuals als o have shorter life expectancy as studys have shown it is detrimental to their health, mentally physically and spritually. Having said all that hatred for our fellow neighbor is not Christlike as Christ said love thy neighbor, one must be aware of the situation of the individual presenting with the disorder, it may be abuse, or lack of affection from the same sex parent, bullying by peers as one displays talent in areas deemed more feminin or masculine. Also there is a difference between those that struggle with SSA and those who practice or live in a homosexual relationship. Fathers spend time with your sons, and mothers your daughters, this I cannot stress enough, but mostly pray for your children, and teach them Christ is the Way the Truth and the Life.
Cathy, I’d very much love to see the studies that you refer to when you say that homosexuals have shorter life expectancies and that they are physically and mentally deprived. I’d like to also point out the fallacy in your diagnosis of homosexuality as a disorder stemming from the reasons you described. As a gay young man, I have never been abused, my relationship with both of my parents is and has always been very strong and I’ve never been bullied for my perceived masculinity (or lack thereof).
I value your opinions and beliefs on the subject, but I do feel responsible for ensuring that people unfamiliar with homosexuality are not misled by phantom studies or false information.
As far as the linked article is concerned, I found it a very interesting read. It’s very positive to see encouragement in a loving and reinforcing manner. I found some of the language mildly patronising; particularly the tired “love the sinner, not the sin” curtain that many Christians hide behind while judging people left right and center (not that this was necessarily one of those instances).
This is certainly a topic that I would encourage any parent to consider and talk about with friends, priests, church members and indeed their children (gay or not). The simple truth is that for any young person struggling with their own sexuality, the biggest hurdle they face is not society’s or the church’s reaction, but the reaction from their parents and families. If there can be love and understanding instilled in that relationship from the get-go, this could prevent them from turning their backs on the church and from God (assuming they hold strong beliefs in the first place).
For the record, I don’t consider myself Catholic (though I was “raised” as one, my reasons are numerous and have nothing to do with my sexuality), but I’m very interested in the church’s continuing efforts to repair the image of a homophobic and unaccepting community in regards to this particular topic.
Dont you realise in using the term ‘homophobic’, you are doing precisely what you accuse others of.
I think Cathys link was a good article and opens up ones eyes to the truth of a lifestyle that is far, far from the trendy image presented in the mainstream media.
It is about time the Church community stood up to the blantant lies pedled by pro-homosexual lobby groups.
I think, Gareth, that Harry is doing just the thing you suggest we all do. That is, standing up to one of the blatant lies peddled by the gay lobby: that the Catholic Church is homophobic. Harry himself used that word only in relation to the Church’s image — he hasn’t accused Cathy or anyone else of actually being homophobic.
I’d like to see some of those studies myself, that you’ve cited Cathy. I know they’re out there. I heard similar claims from one my seminary professors, who is both a priest and a clinical psychologist. But he was careful to say that there is no official Catholic teaching on the causes of same sex attraction, and our knowledge of the causes is still at a theoretical and hypothetical level. As a matter of fact, he was insistent on the point, because he didn’t want us to conflate Catholic moral teaching which is morally certain, with psychological theories which are not yet empirically verified.
Thanks Father, that is what I meant! I know from personal experience that the church (which is, for me, the community of people I personally know who belong to the church and their representatives in the hierarchy) is not inherently homophobic, but can and has come across that way to some people. I don’t necessarily agree that it’s over-reaction by a “pro-gay lobby”, but often passionate rebuttal by anti-discriminatory communities who are very sensitive to the topic. Both parties are guilty of intolerance and aggression at times, but I’m not about to fan the flames here.
I simply don’t like to see arguments supported by questionable studies and vague statements, as it brings nothing to an already sensitive and personal topic for many people.
regarding the health risks and shortened life expectancy of those who practice homosexual behavior, hope this answers your questions. http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/homosexuality/ho0075.html
I am impressed with your blog John. Topics, format, colour. Will look forward to reading it all and will comment, either on line or when I see you at ‘National Council of Priests.’
I am reading Geoffrey Blainey’s ‘A Short History of Christianity’ I like the way Blainey writes and learning much. Brother Norm informed me of Paul Johnson’s 1976 book of the same subject. Have you read any of these?
Post from good blogger on the same, or at least similar, topic:
In short, for a young man to remain pure is very, very difficult – but not impossible.
Here is a helpful link regarding the health risks and shortened life expectancy of those who practice homosexual behavior, hope this answers your questions. http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/homosexuality/ho0075.html
Good effort, yeah.
Thank you. The study paints a very grim picture of homosexual behavior and the risks involved. It’s not as trendy as society likes to think.
From the official Catechism of the Catholic Church:
Chastity and homosexuality
2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
2358 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.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.