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Yolanda Smith wrote:

Hi, guys —

We are Catholic and my child is going to a Christian school. She was told that gay people were going to Hell.

  • Is this true?
  • Doesn't God love us all?

Yolanda

  { Were these Christian teachers correct in saying that gay people are going to Hell? }

Mike replied:

Dear Yolanda,

We have to first correctly re-affirm as the Catechism teaches that, "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."

Even you know this based on the natural law build into you. Men were made for women and women were made for men to promote future families and societies.

I believe much of the acceptance of homosexual acts are based on a lack of catechesis within the Church or a turning away from the Church by those who wish to choose a different lifestyle over morals. The main focus of the homosexual lifestyle is pleasure rather than sacrifice as in Christian marriage.

This is what the Catechism has to say on the issue:

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

That said, no one has the right to make judgments on a group of people. Any final judgment is reserved solely for Our Lord alone. You have to take each situation on an individual by individual basis.

No one is condoning homosexual activity but you have to treat each person and what they are aware of at the time. If they do know homosexual activity is a grave sin, yet do it anyway, they gravely risk their salvation.

I'm sure my colleagues will chime in if I've missed anything.

Hope this helps,

Mike

Eric replied:

Yolanda —

God loves all people, because God is love. God even loves his enemies (as he commands us to) and those who are steadfastly opposed to him. He loves Hitler, and Stalin, and pedophiles, and prostitutes, and murderers of the most ghastly sort. This, however, is not to say that everyone is going to heaven. Some don't want to spend an eternity with God by their own choice. And we can do things that sever us from our relationship with God. Just as committing adultery can sever the relationship between spouses by that very fact (although they remain married), so certain sins, we call them "mortal sins", are a deliberate choice on the part of the individual to do something they know is gravely against God's law.

Those with same-sex attraction are loved by God like everyone else. They deserve our compassion and understanding. Same-sex attraction is not a sin; it is a disorder and tends toward sin, but it is not a sin itself.

Homosexual behavior, however, is a sin, and a grave one. Those who participate in it freely, knowingly, and deliberately separate themselves from God. However, we cannot judge hearts;
if there is something lacking in the free, deliberate, or knowing nature of the act, then it does not separate someone from God. Only God knows the heart and what they've been through and what their state of mind is. There may be some psychological reason that prevents them from freely engaging in the act. Compulsions and addictions are good examples.

So we can say that homosexual behavior is a grave sin which, like many other sins, such as:

  • pre-marital sex
  • adultery
  • abortion
  • contraception, and
  • missing Mass on Sundays

can separate us from God eternally. But there is always mercy available from God for those who, moved by grace, turn from sin and toward him; he is the merciful God who loves mankind.

Eric

Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
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