The Catholic Church and gay sex

The Catholic Church has been under strong pressure to follow western civilization and normalize moral issues such as homosexualitycontraceptionabortionsex before marriage, sex outside of marriagedivorceporn and masturbation, etc. There is not much mainstream debate on these topics anymore and many Christian denominations have followed the culture, only to see their congregations diminish.

The same sex issue is incredibly complex. Here we'll discuss the church's historically poor treatment of people with same sex attraction and perhaps lay out a new way forward. If you are gay or lesbian, God loves you, just as much as he loves anyone else.

The Church needs to provide a safe space for LGBTQs who want to explore chastity

Denial is not healthy. Those who are same sex attracted need to have a place to share feelings and experiences. Since the 70s, LGBTQ community centers have had "coming out right" groups where people with same sex attraction share their experiences of telling friends, family, co-workers, and associates about their sexual attractions. It was based on a 5 step model of coming out.

5 steps of coming out at LGBTQ community centers are: 1) Denial that one has same sex attractions 2) Admitting to self that one has same sex attractions. 3) Disclosing to others that one has same sex attractions. 4) Socialization with others who have same sex attactions. 5) Acceptance and integration into the LGBTQ community.

We at Catholic Bridge think the first three steps above are moving towards health, the 4th step is a pivotal decision point, and the 5th step (above) leaves the same sex attracted person worse off than before they started. There is a kind of denial which is unhealthier than being "in the closet." It is the denial of God's call to chastity for everyone, regardless of orientation.

In the LGBTQ community, there is a sentiment that anyone who practices chastity is in denial. We suggest it is the exact opposite. Chastity is total ownership of our human condition, and a total acceptance of our sexuality and God's ability to keep us chaste. He is actually quite good at that and without him it's almost impossible.

This is how we think it could be for those who are pursuing Truth.

the 5 steps of coming out of gay denial towards chastity. Denial that one has same sex attractions., Admitting to self that one has same sex attractions. Disclosing to others who are supportive of chastity, that one has same sex attractions. Socialization with others who have same sex attactions who want to explore chastity.

We modified Step 4, to disclose to others who are supportive of chastity, socialization with other same sex attracted people who want chastity. In step 5, we suggest acceptance and integration into the Church community, rather than the LGBTQ community.

Christians need to provide a clean, welcoming, "no-sex" space, where men and women who have had, or still have, "same sex" attraction can explore God's gift of chastity in an environment that is supporting, loving and free of the "yuck!" factor around sexual issues.

Welcoming people with same sex attraction is the Church's duty and responsibility. We cannot leave this to the LGBTQ community, because paradoxically, sex is not the answer to same sex attraction.

There is a much deeper longing in the human heart than romantic love. St. Augustine said "Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee."

The LGBTQ community as a secular "religion"

The Pope made a distinction between people with same sex attraction and the "gay lobby" (LGBTQ community) which is a political entity.

When we encounter a gay person, we must make the distinction between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of a lobby, because lobbies are not good. They are bad ... we must be brothers, this is the first matter. There is another problem, is to form a lobby of those who have this tendency ... This is the most serious problem for me... Pope Francis, July 28, 2013

Many people experience transitory same sex attractions at some point of their lives, or throughout their lives, and may find themselves at various times drawn to the LGBTQ community, which welcomes anyone with same sex attractions.

The LGBTQ community is like a big funnel drawing all those with sexual attractions outside of the norm.

Once someone has identified with the LGBTQ community and begun the socialization process, there is an expectation upon them to accept LGBTQ tenets such as:

  • Anybody with gay tendencies should join the LGBTQ community
  • Same sex attracted people should have sex
  • There are no rules of sexual conduct except consent, ANYTHING else goes
  • Human sexual instinct should have precedence over external (or internal) moral values
  • Gender is fluid and not a God given characteristic with which we are born
  • An important way to raise your self esteem is to convince friends, family and society that having sex with people of the same gender is emotionally and physically healthy.
  • Never accept outside criticism of the community
  • Anyone who leaves the community is in denial, and has unresolved psychological problems and/or suffers from religious guilt
  • Anyone who questions these tenets publicly is a "hater" and a "judgmental bigot" who needs to be socially punished
  • Parents who attempt to intervene in their child's gender identification or choices, regardless of the child's age, are abusive and should lose their children. (That is a law in Ontario, enacted under a Premier who left her husband for her lesbian lover.)

The LGBTQ community welcomes anyone who decides to transition into their community because of same sex attractions, but is very judgmental of anyone who leaves it because of choice, spiritual experience, or opposite sex attractions. In a way, it has the characteristics of a fundamentalist religion, with sex as a sort of sacred sacrament that is central.

Is Change Possible?

There are many reasons why Evangelical "change" ministries such as "Exodus" failed. A fundamental problem was they didn't understand that the individual has to fully accept the truth about one's ongoing attractions as a basic step toward healing. In Exodus. there was an expectation that they would get married to someone of the opposite sex and not struggle with same sex attractions anymore. Thankfully, the Catholic ministry for people with same sex attractions, "Courage" has not made that mistake. It also stays out of political issues and focuses on individuals.

The Church differentiates transitory same sex tendencies from deep-seated same sex attractions. It is much more likely that those with transitory same sex attractions will pursue a natural marriage to someone of the opposite sex. Regarding those with deep seated attractions, we don't want to limit God, the Church says this.

...The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is 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.

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. (Catechism 2357-2359)

Why does the Church say "no" to unnatural sex?

  • The Biblical evidence: cover to cover the Bible presents gay sex as a problem, which is why there has been so much work by activists to try to re-frame the Bible, or worse make it illegal.
  • The historical evidence: Saints, mystics, and the fathers of the Church, throughout history are consistent about gay sex. Many gave their lives in the defense and pursuit of truth, and had no good reason to "toe the line" with the Church or their culture.
  • The biological evidence, "Natural Law" says that things in God's Creation should be used according to their purpose. (i.e., Gay sex does not follow any natural or biological law.)
  • The ecclesiastical evidence: Christian charity is to try to help people overcome obstacles to spiritual growth for their own eternal good and for the good of those they influence. That's the Church's mission as commanded by Christ, and whenever and wherever the Church drifts from that mission, it suffers.

One of our team spent 18 months "Out" in the LGBTQ community and learned from inside, that the gay communities in New York, San Francisco, Las Angeles, Montreal and Toronto are not healthy. After 25 years of abstaining from all relations and serving the poor, he is married to a wonderful woman and has a child. He is healthy, working, and productive, does not take any medications, and experiences much joy in life. There are numerous Catholics who have walked this path through the organization Courage.

Are Christians intolerant, judgmental bigots?

Some Christians, including some Catholics, are intolerant judgmental bigots. Just like some gay men and lesbians are judgmental, intolerant bigots. One of our team was at a party for a co-worker who was gay, and was yelled at by a gay activist who told him to throw out his "magic book of medieval myths." His partner told him to calm down.

Statistics provided by the Gay Community about life expectancy, addiction and sexual health issues

Canada's largest gay paper XTRA reported, "Canada's health care system is homophobic, says group, Six queers file human rights complaint", Julia Garro, Xtra Tuesday, February 17, 2009."

"Now that we can get married everyone assumes that we don't have any issues ... A lot of the deaths that occur in our community are hidden ... Those of us who are working on the front lines see them and I'm tired of watching my community die."

The following are stats found in the article:
  • Life expectancy of gay/bisexual men in Canada is 20 years less than the average; that is 55 years.
  • GLB people commit suicide at rates from 2 to 13.9 times more often than average.
  • GLB people have smoking rates 1.3 to 3 times higher than average.
  • GLB people have rates of alcoholism 1.4 to 7 times higher than average.
  • GLB people have rates of illicit drug use 1.6 to 19 times higher than average.
  • GLB people show rates of depression 1.8 to 3 times higher than average.
  • Gay and bisexual men (MSM) comprise 76.1% of AIDS cases.
  • Gay and bisexual men (MSM) comprise 54% of new HIV infections each year.
  • If one uses Statistics Canada figure of 1.7% of GLB becoming infected, that is 26 times higher than average.
  • GLB people are at a higher risk for anal cancers.
  • Lesbians have higher rates of breast cancer

For the exact quotes, please see pages 3 and 4 of the HRC complaint.

This is a tragedy. Each and every human being has an inherent dignity and value. Some say the cause of these stats is that gay men have delayed adolescence as a result of "coming out" late (i.e., in their 30's). They ask "Does your gay age match your chronological age?"  However, there is no indication that it slows down after 5 years of coming out as when adolescents grow out of their teens. In places like San Francisco and the Netherlands where gay sex is normalized stats are worse. The scientific community says discrimination alone does not account for the entire disparity in rates of anxiety, depression, suicide, substance abuse, intimate partner violence. The most effective protection against STI's is chastity, but that is generally ridiculed in the LGBTQ community as denial or religious guilt.

How does the Church explain same sex attraction? 

The Catechism says:

". . .Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained." (section 2357)

Psychiatrists can't explain same sex attraction. Before "Stonewall" in 1969 1, the LGBTQ community was divided about whether homosexuality is a disability. After much lobbying by the LGBTQ community, including the storming of a 1972 San Francisco psychiatric convention, the Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the DSM (catalogue of disabilities) in 1973. Sometimes psychiatrists are wrong, individually and collectively. (i.e., they have among the highest divorce and suicide rates)3 The Catechism says:

Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity (Gen 19:1-29; Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 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.

How does the scientific community explain Same Sex Attraction?

The Journal – The New Atlantis, (August 23, 2016). The Journal is a well-known journal of science, technology and ethics based in Washington D.C.  This article analysed the scientific evidence of LGBTQ issues published to date in scientific journals.

The report was authored by two eminent scholars. Dr. Lawrence Mayer, a professor of psychiatry and statistics and biostatistics at Arizona State University, stated in the preface to the study that he has testified in dozens of federal and state legal proceedings strongly supporting equality and opposing discrimination for the LGBTQ Community. However, Dr. Mayer stated he supports every sentence in this report without reservation since it is about science and medicine.  He also stated he was alarmed to learn during his review of over 500 scientific articles that the LGBTQ community bears a disproportionate rate of mental health problems compared to the population as a whole.

The other author is Dr. Paul McHugh, one of the leading psychiatrists in the world. He was psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore from 1975 to 2001.  These scientists reviewed hundreds of peer reviewed studies on sexual orientation and gender identity from the biological, psychological and social sciences.  Their conclusions were as follows:

  • The belief that sexual orientation is an innate, biologically fixed human property – that people are “born that way” – is not supported by scientific evidence.
  • The belief that gender identity is an innate, fixed human property independent of biological sex – so that a person might be a ‘man trapped in a woman’s body’ or ‘a woman trapped in a man’s body’ – is not supported by scientific evidence.
  • Only a minority of children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behaviour will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood. There is no evidence that all such children should be encouraged to become transgender, much less subjected to hormone treatments or surgery. 
  • Non-heterosexual and transgender people have higher rates of mental health problems (anxiety, depression, suicide), as well as behavioral and social problems (substance abuse, intimate partner violence), than the general population. Discrimination alone does not account for the entire disparity.

Also, a top researcher for the American Psychological Association (APA), lesbian activist, Dr. Lisa Diamond, co-author-in-chief of ‘the APA Handbook’ of sexuality and psychology and one of the APA’s most respected member said that sexual orientation was “fluid” and not unchangeable.  She summarized the relevant findings in a lecture at Cornell University stating that abundant research has now established that sexual orientation – including attraction, behaviour and self-identity – is fluid for both adolescents and adults for both genders.

There have been studies to which some in the LGBTQ community have pointed to "prove" people are born gay. (i.e., "INAH-3" by Simon Levay, "Twins and Other Brothers" by Bailey & Pillar, "Xq28 Genetic Markers" by Dean Hamer). However, none of these researchers has claimed "proof" of the born gay theory. Reputable researchers admit there are many problems with these studies such as small samples sizes and inconsistent results. What these studies have shown, however, is that some people, such as identical twins, who should have been gay based on the theory, were not gay. People's sexuality is not dictated by the conditions laid out in the studies. Probably there are multiple contributing factors. We just don't know - nobody does.

"God made me gay, it is cruel for him to ask me not to act it out!"

One of the most powerful lines in the movie "Brokeback Mountain" is when Jack Twist says to Ennis "God, I wish I knew how to quit you!" Then Ennis Del Mar says, "Well, why don't you?" It was heartbreaking because we can see the genuine dilemma of a man who is "in Love" with another man. The movie leaves the question open ended, as if there is no answer. However, there is a beautiful and powerful answer. Unfortunately, Jack was not serious when he said the word "God."

Quitting anything that we are powerfully addicted to is incredibly hard. How many times have alcoholics looked at a bottle and said "God, I wish I knew how to quit you." How many times have smokers looked at a pack of cigarettes and said "God, I wish I knew how to quite you."

Some are born with a "predisposition" to homosexuality. A combination of environmental and emotional circumstances may interact with certain predispositions resulting in what we might call "gay". That is quite a bit different from being born gay as an immutable characteristic such as race or colour. Some people with a predisposition to depression become depressed, some don't. Some become depressed but after tuning their life over to Jesus, experience amazing healing and freedom from depression.

Pope Benedict coined the phrase "Dictatorship of Relativism". Relativism says, "every person's truth has the same merit."

A blind friend of ours was jogging across the street. He didn't believe a car was coming. That was his "truth," and he believed it. Unfortunately, he was wrong. A car hit him and broke his leg. (True story)

If we saw the car coming, it wouldn't be responsible for us to stay silent and think, "I won't warn him because I don't want to be intolerant and judgmental about his truth".

Not all things that feel good are truly good for us

But just because a human feels a certain way doesn't mean we are condemned to act on it. For example, there are studies that say all men are hard wired to have multiple partners. But most of us would agree that it is not appropriate for men to live that out. Most well adjusted and happy men don't. We live in a broken world. Catholics call it "original sin."

Jesus freed the woman who was going to be stoned for adultery, "Neither do I condemn you", but he also said, "from now on do not sin again" (Jn 8:11). Jesus loves us completely. He calls us to a higher standard, and sometimes that feels uncomfortable.

You don't die from not having sex. It's not like food and water. All humans have some sort of sexual struggle. We'd hardly be human if we didn't. The question is, "what are we going to do about it?" Paul comfortingly reminds us:

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Cor. 10:13).

Interpretations of the Bible that attempt to justify gay "love"

We are grateful that some people in the LGBTQ community are still reading the Bible and looking for answers to the moral dilemmas of modern man in Sacred Scripture. Please continue, the Bible is the most inspired book on the planet. The Bible covers a 5000 year period from the dawn of civilized man to the years after Christ's resurrection. From back to front, it never flinches on its strong opposition to gay sex. We have moved our section on gay sex in the Bible to its own page.

Jesus is most certainly about love. He loves everybody in the LBGTQ community every bit as much as he does every person sitting in Church. He loves each of us equally and that is 100%.

Jesus loves us just the way we are -
and He loves us too much to leave us that way!
Love does not always say "Yes".

Anyone who is a parent can understand this idea.

The LGBTQ community as a whole has abandoned the Bible

Most in the LGBTQ say the Bible is an outdated historical document coloured by its cultural context. Given that Jesus and the apostles were counter cultural to the point of death, there is no reason to believe they "caved into" social norms on homosexuality. The apostles said unnatural sex is wrong, (and that doesn't mean it is worse than other sexual sin). Many in the LGBTQ community want to ban the Bible as "hate literature." This crowd also tends to be against censorship which is a paradox.

The Bible is about God's love (Agape) for humanity and practical ways to experience that love. The Bible leads to an eternity of love with our Creator. Please, we ask you to spend time with Jesus. He loves you and wants to help.

An invitation and sources of help for LGBTQ people who want it

Courage
A Catholic organization that has helped some LGBTQ people who want to explore their relationship with Christ and who want to come into alignment with his will around sex. They are not into reparative therapy or any thing like that, they simply know that with God's love it's possible to live a happy and productive life without gay sex.

Sexaholics Anonymous
A 12 step program which has been successful at helping people maintain a chaste lifestyle free of sexual addiction. Again not into reparative therapy, just simply a way to be free of lust.

http://tavietonchoix.org/
A non-Christian site in French, Michel Lizotte.

God heals our sexuality in many different ways. He has a plan for each person. Perhaps some people will remain celibate, others will feel called to marriage with a person of the opposite sex. Many have had successful straight marriages and have had kids. Some will struggle with same sex attraction for their lifetime and will need much support to remain sexually chaste. Others will be completely freed. There is no prescription. But the common thread is that those who turn to the Lord get an amazing amount of support and freedom. Jesus really does heal. The closer we get to him, the more freedom we experience.

Scripture verses on the validity of a consecrated single life (no gay or hetero sexual relationships):

Some people are called to marriage, others to a celibate single life. Scripture often talks about this as a legitimate call from God. So don't despair if you have prayed and prayed and you are still feel you are not called to hetero marriage. Here are some Scriptures.

Matthew 19:10-12
...
his disciples said to him, "If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry." But he said to them, "Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can."

1 Cor 7:6-9
...
This I say by way of concession, not of command. I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has a particular gift from God, one having one kind and another a different kind. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain unmarried as I am. But if they are not practicing self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion.

1 Cor 7:24-35
...
In whatever condition you were called, brothers and sisters, there remain with God. Now concerning virgins, I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. I think that, in view of the impending crisis, it is well for you to remain as you are. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife... Yet those who marry will experience distress in this life, and I would spare you that. I mean, brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short; from now on, let even those who have wives be as though they had none,  but the married man is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please his wife,  and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman and the virgin are anxious about the affairs of the Lord, so that they may be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to put any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and unhindered devotion to the Lord.

1 Cor 7:38-40
...
So then, he who marries his fiancee does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better. A wife is bound as long as her husband lives. But if the husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, only in the Lord. But in my judgment she is more blessed if she remains as she is.

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Lord Jesus, let Your prayer of unity for Christians
become a reality, in Your way.
We have absolute confidence
that you can bring your people together,
we give you absolute permission to move.
Amen