Monday, December 22, 2014

More on the Church and Homosexuality

Below is a letter someone named "John" wrote me back in 2013, and I lost track of the letter.  I believe it deserves a response still - I hope "John" is still out there and sees this.

(Feb. 13, 2013)
            Thank you for your time. I have been trying to resolve an issue I have with my Church
the Catholic Church for some time now unsuccessfully. I have made the observation that the
Church has come to accept the existence of the “homosexual person”. This I believe to be an
error the Church must correct.
            I have communicated with a number of people in the Church over the past eight years
and have been unsuccessful resolving this issue. I do not judge anyone we all have the gift of
freewill and will all be judged by the Lord for our lives. However the Church does not have
freewill but has an obligation to the Lord to be consistent with the faith of our fathers and the
traditions of the Church.
            I believe that human sexuality is a very complicated issue that I am ill equipped to discuss
with any level of competence. My issue is much simpler “Church 101” if you will. Sexuality of any
kind is only involved due to the nature of the change in Church teaching. The heart of this issue is
the Church’s handling of temptation.
                        Here is what leads me to believe that the Church has accepted the existence of the
“homosexual person”.
This section of the Catechism 2357 I believe defines “homosexuality”:
“Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive
… sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex.”
            I leave out the words “or predominant” as that just makes the group size smaller and
clarifies the definition. This statement says that there is a group of people who “experience an
exclusive … sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex”. If this group has an “exclusive …
sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex” they are incapable of being attracted to people
of the opposite sex.
2359 says “Homosexual persons are called to chastity” I do not see how this is not an
acceptance of the “homosexual person” who is fundamentally different than the “heterosexual
person”. I reject this idea.
In the daily readings recently I noted that 1 Corinthians 6:9 says:

"Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be
deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor practicing

I use a Catholic translation and checked the Vatican site this quote is from the Vatican
            The implication being that there are “non-practicing homosexuals”. “fornicators nor
idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes” are not qualified as “practicing”. I do not believe
that Paul was familiar with the concept of the “homosexual person”. I do not believe it right
and just for the Church to change the Evangelists thoughts to correspond with its current
            2357 says “Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained” as far as I can tell this
is the only justification for the Churches acceptance of the “homosexual person”. To accept
something that is “unexplained” can only be done as an act of faith. As a Catholic I am
required to accept much on faith and I do. For me to accept “homosexuality” as an article
of faith it would need to be consistent with the faith of my fathers, Church history and tradition,
and in this case natural law. Since “homosexuality” is consistent with none of these I reject it as
a false premise.
Let me say I believe that psychology does wonderful things for many people. I also
believe that psychology is a soft science. Some in psychology say that God is a delusion. I
believe it is wrong to look at this with the rubric of psychology. I believe the correct lens is
morality. I believe God is not provable by design I believe God wants us to come to Him
through faith. A provable God and faith are not possible. If God is not provable then it is
reasonable to come to the conclusion that there is no God. My belief is rooted in faith and
the faith of my fathers as well as the Church. If one concludes there is no God then why is
one person’s morality better than an others and who is to say “same-sex behavior” wrong.
Since I believe in God I believe God determines morality. At my father’s funeral the Priest
said “If there is no God then life is a cruel joke”. I believe this to be true.
            In communicating with a fair number of people in the Church over eight years.
Generally they fall in two camps. Those who believe as I do that the Church has changed its
teaching and accepts the existence of the “homosexual person” and those who don’t. Those who
believe that the Church has changed its teaching for the most part think that it should. A small
subset think that the Church should accept “same sex behavior” presumably in “marriage”. Most
say the Church has not changed its teaching.
I have been looking for the rational explanation for the Church’s action unsuccessfully.
All I have found are “self-identification”, “same-sex behavior”, “group think”, “political
correctness” and “false compassion” none of which is substantial enough to change Church
teaching in my view.

              It is also clear to me that the normalization of this behavior in the secular world is well
underway. I believe that with Adam and Eve the Lord created the most basic unit of society the
family. I believe that same sex “marriage” is a direct assault on the institution. I believe that the
Churches acceptance of the “homosexual person” ties its hands while fighting this evil.

          We all face innumerable immoral temptations in our lives and of course the Church has an
obligation to update its teaching as new things are learned. “Same sex behavior” is just sinful
behavior and the Church is cruel if it continues to tell people who engage in “same sex behavior”
that they are fundamentally different. It is my belief that this is the only immoral temptation the
Church tells practitioners that they are fundamentally different than others.
One of the Bishops who was kind enough to respond wrote “you may find it helpful to
review an earlier section of the Catechism, from #355 to #421 on creation, human dignity, the fall
and redemption.  May the Holy Spirit continue to guide you in your quest for Truth. ”. When I
asked if 387 and 2357-2359 are contradictory he did not respond.

          I believe that the Church is making it harder for the lost sheep to find its way home with
this error. 387 says “Without the knowledge Revelation gives of God we cannot recognize sin
clearly and are tempted to explain it as merely a developmental flaw, a psychological weakness”.
I believe that 2357-2359 feeds this temptation. Everyone tries to rationalize their behavior. I know
that I do. I know of no other sinful behavior that the Church hands out a tool to rationalize the
sinful behavior.

If we lived in a vacuum I would be silly pursuing this but we do not. I believe the Lord
has purpose for his Church in the real world. I believe that action or lack of action by the Church
has consequence. I believe if the Church had stood up 50 years ago and properly said that the
“homosexual person” does not exist the reality of same-sex “marriage” in the secular world would
not be accepted today. I believe it is never too late to correct an error the Lord is forgiving.
            I do not believe this to be a complicated issue but an important issue. The Church has
come to accept the existence of the “homosexual person” to teach something new is a change
of teaching. I believe this a profound change of teaching. I believe the Church does not disavow
the existence of the “homosexual person”
            As a member of the Church I feel an obligation to the Lord to point out an error by the
Church if I see one. I also feel the Church has an obligation to the Lord to either correct the
error or explain my error to me the Church has done neither to date.
            I believe that acceptance of the existence of the “homosexual person” is an evil pervasive
in the world today. I believe that next to spreading the Gospel in the world standing against and
exposing evil in the world is the Church’s highest obligation to the Lord.
            If you can give a rational explanation as to why my observation is an unreasonable one
that would be helpful to me.
            Thank you again for your time.
God bless

Dear John,
First off, my apologies for not responding sooner.  I copied your letter to the blog and then got sidetracked.  Poor excuse for a serious and I believe a sincere question. 

Let me start out by saying, I share some of your concern with the casual use of terminology, I too believe it can (and likely does) confuse many out there.  "Homosexual" defines the "sexuality" of a person, it implies that such a person is active sexually and follows the "sexual preference" of those of the same sex (hereafter SSA or "Same Sex Attraction").  Just because someone has SSA does not make them a homosexual!  A homosexual is one who ACTS upon the SSA.  Likewise, a person with Opposite Sex Attraction (hereafter OSA) does not automatically equate to that person "being" heterosexual.  There are people who have SSA and OSA who choose to be "celibate," celibacy is their chosen lifestyle and more accurately describes their sexuality.

The above being said, the Catholic Church is "accepting" of SSA individuals whether they are active or not.  The Church must "accept" these sheep into the fold, if they come.  Now, for one who is active in SSA or even OSA in a pre-marital situation, is in a state of mortal sin.  They are not permitted to any of the Sacraments, save Penance (Confession/Reconciliation).  There are many "in" the Catholic Church who are "accepted" as Catholics - yet are in a state of mortal sin, which separates them from the Grace of God, and ultimately from salvation.  The Catholic Church then must be "accepting" of SSA individuals, and those who have been active in that lifestyle need to seek reconciliation with God's Grace through the means God put in place for such - they need to get themselves to the confessional and make an honest confession and a sincere act of contrition.  If the Catholic Church were not "accepting" of such individuals - the door to the confessional would be shut to them and they would be cut off from the means of reconciliation.

ANYONE who is sexually active outside the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is partaking in the sin of fornication and/or adultery.  Since same sex marriage is impossible in the Catholic Church, any homosexual is in the state of mortal sin - just the same as one who is OSA and in a sexually active relationship outside of marriage.  The Catholic Church does not accept the sin of fornication or adultery, but does accept the sinner and invites them to reconciliation.  The old adage, "love the sinner, hate the sin" rings true here for both SSA and OSA persons who have sinned in this regard.

The bottom line here is, I share your concern with the relaxed use of language.  Words mean things, but when officials in the Church (and elsewhere) use "homosexual" to describe anyone with SSA, whether active or not, it confuses matters - and persons.  The Church needs to be "accepting" of the persons - while at the same time be not accepting of the sin. 

I hope this helps.  If you have more questions, feel free to post in the comments section here.


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