Did you know that the Catholic Church actually cares about homosexuals? I even feel confident saying that we love them a lot. I sincerely hope that no one has ever made you think otherwise because they were sorely misled and misinformed . . . and probably unhappy too because of this faulty way of thinking.
However, I've heard so many people attack what they think the Catholic Church is saying about homosexuality and gay marriage that I want to clear things up a bit.
Here's what I (based on what the Catholic Church teaches) would say to these common questions (and accusations). Now I know that not everyone is going to agree, but I hope everyone can understand that the Church is always looking out for our souls and trying to help us get to heaven and become saints.
These teachings are hard to accept, but they come from love.
When is the Church going to come around and accept gay marriage?
Well . . . never. You see, the Church's teachings and beliefs can't 'evolve' like some other people's can. God created the Sacrament of Marriage the way it is (between one man and one woman) for a reason and it's not up to us to change what God has established, and which we know through Scripture and the Traditions of the Church.
Because men and women were created different and unique, they each bring something totally different and unique to a marriage. These differences are complementary and help to make a marriage healthy and holy — both for the couple and for the children.
Speaking of children, they're a pretty big part of what marriage is all about. When a couple has sex inside of the Sacrament of Marriage, God made it to be for two purposes: babies and bonding — or in more official terms, procreation and unity. (That's what naturally happens when a couple has sex, right?)
When one of those two components is taken away it degrades the nature of sex. A degradation of the nature of sex, something we do with our bodies, also degrades us as people. We are made of a body and soul and you cannot separate the two; what you do with your body matters to your soul.
If you willfully and purposefully take away the bonding nature of sex through an act of rape or sexual abuse — that violates the nature of sex, and violates the person.
If you willfully and purposefully take out the procreative aspect of sex by homosexual acts or contraception, it also violates the nature of sex and therefore violates the person. It goes against what God made sex for and what God made us for.
So you're saying gay people can't love each other?
No, that's not what I'm saying. The Church says they can't love each other as a man and woman united in Marriage can love each other. That does not mean they can't have a deep friendship-type love.
True love means to will the good of the beloved.
What is the good of the beloved? It is to always act with our ultimate end in mind — eternal happiness in heaven. We have to look out for each other's souls since we are all brothers and sisters.
Both heterosexual and homosexual people are called to live a life of virtue, a life of chastity, because we're all called to be saints. Contrary to what many believe, the highest expression of love for someone is not to have sex with them (CCC 2359).
In a document from the Catholic Bishops about homosexuality, they say:
'It would not be wise for persons with a homosexual inclination to seek friendship exclusively among persons with the same inclination. They should seek to form stable friendships among both homosexuals and heterosexuals . . . A homosexual person can have an abiding relationship with another homosexual without genital sexual expression. Indeed the deeper need of any human is for friendship rather than genital expression.'
You see, sex is supposed to mirror Christ's love for us and be free, faithful, fruitful, and total — this is only possible in the Sacrament of Marriage. When the procreative side of sex is removed — like it is in homosexual sex — it has become reduced to pleasure and the couple is only using each other.
Is love merely use? No!
If a person with same-sex attraction acts upon their desire with a partner it's not a true expression of love because it's not caring for the other person's soul. Our sexuality makes sense in light of the opposite sex. Adam needed Eve in order to 'be fertile and multiply' (Genesis 1:28).
Someone who has same-sex attraction can absolutely love others, but that does not have to be through sexual expression.
Then you're a bigot. Why do you hate gays?
Hate gays? I have friends who are homosexual so when someone says this to me, I can't help but smile in disbelief. The Catholic Church is so loving and accepting of everyone because we're all children of God and made in the image and likeness of God. There may be people within the Church who have acted with hatred toward a person with same-sex attraction, but that does not reflect what the Church as a whole teaches.
The Church loves us so much; you can trust that any of the 'rules' or what seem like 'restrictions' are for our benefit, and the benefit of our souls and our ultimate happiness in heaven.
It's like a parent who says to their child 'don't touch the stove,' or 'don't run into the street after your ball.' The child may get angry and say, 'You must hate me, and I hate you!' but we know the parent is laying out those rules because he or she knows what is best and has an obligation to speak the truth to their child.
You know that saying, 'love the sinner, hate the sin'? It refers to every single person! It's how we view every person in the Catholic Church, not just those with same-sex attraction.
I will love and care for someone who is addicted to drugs, but I don't love what they're doing and I won't enable them to continue to harm themselves. It's the same for someone who is a liar. Or who steals. Or someone who is adulterous, or who looks at porn. These sins are harmful and unhealthy.
We all have a cross to carry (CCC 2358). We all have sins that we struggle with and that tempt us. I shouldn't lust after someone of the opposite sex, just like someone with same-sex attraction shouldn't lust after someone of the same sex.
We don't hate gays; we love souls.
Do gay people go to hell?
I can tell you with absolute certainty that people do not go to hell because of their sexual orientation. We were all made by God and He loves each of us the same; He wants us all to be in heaven with Him. Since God is all-loving He has given us free will so that we can choose to love Him or not. Individuals go to hell if they choose to turn away from God and cut themselves off from His love through unrepented mortal sins.
Being gay is not a mortal sin; acting out on it with full knowledge is. Just like being heterosexual is not a mortal sin, but you can sin mortally by acting out on it in certain ways.
Why can't gay people receive communion?
Again, it's not being gay that inhibits a person from being able to receive the Eucharist. We believe that you have to be in a 'state of grace' (that means to be on good terms with God and not have any mortal sins on your soul) to receive Communion.
So just like if I were to commit a mortal sin I couldn't go up for communion, the same is true for someone who is acting on their same-sex attraction.
Want to read more about God’s plan for your sexuality? Check out these blogs!
- Male & Female: What’s the Point?
- God Made Sex (and He Made it Sacred)
- After the Vows: Sex Within Marriage
- Real Sex & Respect
- Catholic, Gay, and Doing Fine
Editor’s Note: Although the terms “gay,” “lesbian,” and/or “homosexual” are used freely in popular culture, the Catholic Church encourages us to use the phrase “person with homosexual inclination” in order to acknowledge the dignity of the human person, whose identity isn’t found in their sexual orientation but rather in their Creator (CCC 2357-2358). We, at Life Teen, wholeheartedly accept this distinction and emphatically agree with the Church that our humanity is not to be solely defined by one’s sexuality, inclinations, or desires.
Bearing this in mind, when you occasionally notice that we use a phrase like “gay” or “lesbian” in a blog or other piece, understand that it is in an effort to engage popular culture where it is, in order to engage souls and walk them into the transformative light of Christ’s truth. The soil of the mind and heart must be tilled if the seed of God’s truth is to find fertile soil to take root. It is never our intention to reduce a person to their sexual orientation, even as we seek to call all people to lives of joy-filled chastity.