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Stefan Decarlo wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have a few questions and I want to get a better understanding of Church methods and practices.

What do you recommend for reading?

Stefan

  { Looking for recommended reading and what to tell my homosexual friend? }

Eric replied:

Hi, Stefan —

I'm not sure what your goal is in reading material. You can certainly start with our site by searching the Knowledge base by keyword.

If you want online reading material, check out:

If you want some books, it would depend on what kind of questions you have and what you want to learn. If you want CDs, http://www.saintjoe.com has good CDs, especially Scott Hahn's material.

If you want more web material, go to:

When you're done reading all that come back and we'll give you more. :-)

Eric

Mike replied:

Hi, Stefan —

I'd also recommend checking out our recommended reading section.

It helps you and supports our web site a bit as well.

Hope this helps,

Mike

Stefan replied:

Ah, I was indeed vague. Thanks for all the link references.

I suppose the issue had me a bit tense, so I guess I'll just ask what was on my mind.

I have a male friend who has recently told me he may be romantically interested in another man.

He seems confident about it, although he's feigning to be confused. I think he is gay.

I understand the Church's stance on this is fairly strict. I just don't know what to think.
He's always been a good Christian. He doesn't seem to be acknowledging how this affects his beliefs.

I don't know if it's even wrong or right. If he seems happy about it, should I be happy for him too or remind him that the Bible, condemns this decision?

Thank you for your time and consideration for this question.

Stefan

Eric replied:

Hi, Stefan —

Thanks for following up. Sorry for the delay in the response; I started to reply but then forgot about my open email and just now found the draft.

This issue must be treated with great pastoral sensitivity and care. On the one hand, homosexual acts, we believe, are intrinsically wrong and can never be accepted. On the other hand, the inclination, while intrinsically disordered, is not sinful. In other words, a man with same sex attraction is not thereby going to Hell unless he actually acts, knowingly, deliberately, and unrepentantly, on his desires.

Much is made about whether people are born with this inclination or not. Some are adamant that they are and cannot help it. Others are equally insistent that it is learned. In my opinion, I am familiar with both cases. In any case this does not affect it's morality; people can be born with afflictions such as alcoholism, kleptomania, psychopathy, or pedophilia; this does not give them free reign to satisfy their desires.

The church's teaching (following the teaching of Christ) is expressed mainly in two places: A document called:

On The Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons — [Vatican version]

and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

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,140 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."141 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.

The key to understanding Christ's teaching on homosexuality is to understand Christ's teaching on marriage. Marriage is an icon of God's relationship with us. Christ, the Eternal Other, is the Bridegroom, and his Church is the Bride. He is the male principle, who imparts life to his spouse; the Church is the female principle, who receives the divine life, conceives and bears fruit.

The human body is designed in such a way as to express this mystery, and to unite husband and wife together into one flesh. To be somewhat blunt, conjugal love is not about entertaining yourself, nor is it about how you feel (I am being delicate here). What you feel is important, but it would be as wrong (if not more so) to indulge in sex just for that reason as it would be to eat purely for the taste. It's like eating the whipped cream or butter only without eating the food it normally sits on.

The purpose of conjugal love, from a strictly biological perspective, is for reproduction.
(This doesn't mean that every act has to be exclusively reproductive, any more than you can't eat dessert without whipped cream; only that it has to be according to its nature open to reproduction. The other purpose of conjugal union, which is psychic, is the union of the two spouses.) The love of husband for wife is intended to be united together to conceive a third person so that third person is the fruit of their love. This imitates the divine economy where Christ the Bridegroom gives his divine life to the Church who conceives and bears fruit the fruit of holiness. Thus any sex act, homosexual or heterosexual, which is not both unitative (uniting the spouses) and procreative (open to life in its nature, that is, where fertility is not deliberately thwarted), is immoral.

This is certainly a difficult situation for people with same-sex attraction (SSA), particularly if it is exclusive. But we must obey Christ. It's a heroic act. (And let's not forget that the homosexual lifestyle is very self-destructive psychologically and health-wise.) Often SSA is rooted in a shame and a broken relationship with the father growing up during key periods in one's life. The man with SSA fails to fully identify with his father due to a trauma of some sort. Boys want more than anything to be like their fathers and have their approval. When one or both of these situations is thwarted by shame imparted by the father, and, typically, when the son is of a sensitive temperament, he is often ripe for SSA.

Dr. Joseph Nicolosi has had a lot of success in treating individuals with SSA. He says about:

  • 30% of clients become functional heterosexuals
  • 30% receive some remission of SSA, and
  • 30% receive no remission from SSA.

If you want to contact him, his number is 818-789-6944.

Best wishes,

Eric

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