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SoLost wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have some questions about homosexuality that no one really seems to have clear answers for.

  • Are there references to homosexuality in the New Testament at all?

Many people disregard Leviticus because, in addition to homosexuality, it also forbids eating shellfish on the same page, and just about everyone had lobsters, clams, or shrimp.

  • So is homosexuality mentioned elsewhere in the Old Testament?
  • Also, how exactly does the Church define homosexuality?
  • Is it the feelings and desires, or is it the actions of having sex with the same gender?

It's now a common fact, in medicine and science, that a lot of attraction is based on chemical reactions which is not in a person's control. That said, I understand acting on those desires is different.

  • Does the Church disapprove of the flashes of thoughts and longings a homosexual may have, or just disapprove of the sex?
  • What is one supposed to do if they have such thoughts?
    • beg forgiveness every time a person they are attracted to happens to walk by?

That would make it rather hard to live in an urban area!

  • What does the Church recommend as a cure for homosexuality beyond prayer and hoping God will change thoughts you can't control or stop?
  • I know the Church feels marriage is between a man and a women but what if two people of the same gender wished to be soulmates?
  • If they didn't go in for the sexual acts, is it permissible for such people to spend their lives together?

Just some questions that have been playing through my head, and I was curious what you guys would have to say.

SoLost

  { Is homosexuality mentioned anywhere in the Old or New Testament and when is it a sin? }

Mike replied:

Dear SoLost —

First, what our group thinks is not important. We just strive to pass on what the Catholic Church officially teaches in a effort to teach, catechize, and clarify any misperceptions people may have.

You said:

  • So is homosexuality mentioned elsewhere in the Old Testament?
  • Is it the feelings and desires, or is it the actions of having sex with the same gender?

You may want to bookmark my Scripture Passages web page and share it with your friends:

http://www.AskACatholic.com/ScripturePassages

It gives you biblical passages for various Catholic teachings. From that page it states:

Homosexuality

Catholic Note:

Scripture clearly describes homosexual acts as abominations. The city of Sodom (Genesis 18-19) was not destroyed for its lack of hospitality to the angels of the Lord. It was destroyed for its homosexual depravity. The Church teaches that homosexual acts are "intrinsically disordered", yet the Church also calls us to embrace homosexuals with love and to encourage them to live life's of chastity.

Regardless of the source of homosexual inclinations, which the Church says are "objectively disordered", the "urges" themselves are not sinful. For most people, these urges constitute trails which must be resisted like any other temptation. In short, the Church teaches us to hate the sin of homosexual acts, but to love the sinners who engage in those acts. See more about the Church's teachings in CCC 2357-2359.

Other Old and New Testament passages:

Genesis 1
Complementarily of sexes reflects God's inner unity.
Genesis 2
Transmission of life through total self donation where the two become one flesh.
Genesis 19
God destroys Sodom for its homosexual perversions.
Leviticus 18:22
"You shall not lie with a male as with a woman."
(cut off from people — verse 29)
Leviticus 20:13
If man lies with a man, they shall be put to death for their abominable deed.
Romans 1:24-27
"... handed them over to impurity ... mutual degradation of their bodies" ... "female exchange natural relations for unnatural ... Males did shameful things with males"
1 Corinthians 6:9-10
"neither ... boy prostitutes nor sodomites ... will inherit the kingdom" (active homosexuals won't inherit the kingdom of God)
1 Timothy 1:10
those who engage in such acts called "sinners" ... are opposed to sound teaching."

You said:

  • Also, how exactly does the Church define homosexuality?

From the Catechism:

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, (cf. Genesis 191-29; Romans 124-27; 1 Corinthians 6:10; 1 Timothy 1:10.) 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.

You said:

  • What does the Church recommend as a cure for homosexuality beyond prayer and hoping God will change thoughts you can't control or stop?

The Church offers a few other references:

There is also a specific apostolate that the Church blesses for them:

Courage

In my personal opinion, the biggest portion of the problem where "you can't control or stop [thoughts]", has to do with trying not to put yourself in a situation where you would be open to these thoughts but it is very hard these days because our culture is so sex-saturated.

In a college or university setting, this can be very difficult.

You said:

  • I know the Church feels marriage is between a man and a women but what if two people of the same gender wished to be soul mates?

Both man and woman were created to give life.

  1. Most people find others of the opposite sex and do this very well. It's both man and woman's nature to want to procreate; that's just naturally what we do. I know one family that has 14 children and the mother appears to be very happy with her life.
  2. Others aren't able to find a suitable mate, but strive to either:
    • give spiritual life and advice to others on their faith journeys, or
    • give prayer support, which is the foundational support for all the Church's work.

The Lord has created our bodies and attached certain levels of pleasure for certain bodily activities for a purpose.

  • Many times going to the bathroom can bring pleasure because if we didn't get rid of the toxic waste from our bodies, we would die.
  • The same goes for eating food and drinking. The Lord has attached pleasure to eating and drinking because if we didn't eat or drink, with time, we would die.
  • Despite these two pleasures, he has attached his greatest pleasure to that which creates a new life and further propagates our Christian culture.

When (two men) or (two women) decide to be life-long friends, "not soul mates", they have decided to take the greatest pleasure God has given their bodies, and extinguish the life potential they have from within. They exchange life-giving pleasure where their own being can bring forth new life (life where their unique DNA is extended to future generations), for a temporary pleasure that gives no life.

You said:

  • If they didn't go in for sexual acts, is it permissible for such people to spend their lives together?

The after effects of original sin still exist. It's called concupiscence.

  • Do you seriously think two non-religious woman who have decided to be "life-long" friends, will never have a sexual thought pass between each other?

    < I don't think so. >

In this culture, chastity can be difficult, but we have to step back and remember, that Jesus was a man like us in all things but sin so He understands our struggles.

All he asks is, if this is a difficult area for you, just go to Confession on Saturday. No one will judge you and everything said in the Confessional is sealed from the public.

I hope this helps,

Mike

John replied:

Dear SoLost —

Homosexuality is expressly prohibited in the Old Testament and in the New Testament.

  1. In the Old Testament, look in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. It doesn't use the word, but it talks about the act.
  2. In the New Testament, see Romans Chapter 1 starting in verse 17 and read on.

Temptation is not sin, so the disordered desire is not sin. However, if you embrace the desire, fantasize about it, and act on it, it becomes sin. It's like any other sin. If you see something that a neighbor owns and you say, "Gee that's awesome, I'd like one of those." You're not in sin but if you begin to envy your neighbor and covet whatever he has, then you've crossed the line.

If someone of the opposite sex attracts you, it's not sin. It means you're body is working the way it was designed to but if you linger on that and make the person an object of your lust, then you're in sin.

Obviously, if you go further and have sex with that person, assuming it's not your spouse, then you are in sin.

John

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