What The Catholic Church Really Believes About Homosexuality

28 June 2015
In my quest for spiritual awareness, I've been keeping an eye on a few Catholic websites and forums lately. As you might expect, they're none too happy about the SCOTUS decision legalising same sex marriage across the United States. They're unhappy because homosexuality is unnatural and evil and disgusting, right? Actually, no. I used to believe that was the Church's stance on homosexuality; I was wrong. It's something quite else entirely; however, I wouldn't be expecting Pope Francis to be rocking the rainbow vestments any time soon. Let's go to the official teaching of the Church, 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,141 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”142 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. (2333) 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. (2347)

There's some of your "love the sinner, hate the sin" stuff right there. Catholicism teaches that having homosexual attraction is not  a sin, acting on it is. Gay people are apparently meant to live celibate (and very likely lonely and frustrating) lives as an example of piety to the rest of us, because...God made them that way. Because, somehow, this or this or this is against the natural order of things, and children need a mother and a father according to the institution which in my home nation of Ireland for decades took children away from their unmarried mothers and raised them institutions, when they weren't selling them to America or neglecting them to death and dumping the bodies in unmarked graves.

I digress.

Anyway, it is never going to change. Catholics believe that the Church cannot change; any change to what they believe is the Church as Jesus ordained it would mean it was no longer the Catholic church. But they're still worried that this means end times are upon us, that God will finally lose his patience with our sinful ways (he was completely cool with the Holocaust, but this gay marriage thing really ticks him off). It's all a little weird - God made you gay and that's okay, but act on it and you're going to hell. Crazy, but that's how it goes. I think I might see what those Uniting folk are up to instead.

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