The Dangers of Homosexuality
The Dangers of Homosexuality
By Mary Beth Bonacci
I have heard that the Church is against homosexuality. If so, why are some homosexuals still Catholic?
I'm thinking that I haven't been "controversial" in a while. It's been months since I've read one single letter about me in the letters to the editor. Makes me wonder if people are still reading the column.
Well, what better way to rectify that than to take on a subject like homosexuality? No matter what I say, I'm probably bound to offend someone.
Seriously, I've never dealt with the subject in this forum before, and judging by the questions I'm asked on the road, it's time. The subject is on a lot of people's minds.
We have to start with a very important distinction. There is a difference between having a homosexual orientation and engaging in homosexual activity. Having a homosexual orientation just means that a person is sexually attracted primarily to people of their own sex. It is not something they choose, but rather something that has happened to them. Homosexual activity, on the other hand, means actually doing sexual things with someone of the same sex.
The Church is not, repeat not, against people who have this orientation, or any other people. Remember that everyone is created in the image and likeness of God, and that He is madly in love with every single person He created. That includes all people who have a homosexual orientation. The Church is Christ's presence on earth. Our job, then, is the same; to love each and every person with the all-encompassing love of Christ. No exceptions.
No one really knows exactly why some people develop a sexual attraction to people of the same sex. Some theories say that there are biological or genetic causes, others say a homosexual orientation is developmental, happening as a result of circumstances in a person's early life.
Either way, it is not a sin to be attracted to someone of the same sex. It can't be a sin, because it isn't freely chosen. A sin is something a person decides to do. An attraction, whether to the same sex or to the opposite sex, is something that happens involuntarily, not something chosen.
The Church is, however, opposed to homosexual activity -- doing sexual things with someone of the same sex. This opposition comes not out of condemnation, but out of love and concern for the persons involved. Homosexual activity is dangerous to those who practice it, on several levels. It is obviously dangerous physically. AIDS has killed hundreds of thousands of homosexual men in the past 15 years. The condom is even less effective in homosexual activity than it is in heterosexual activity. Homosexual activity can also lead to other diseases.
Homosexual activity is also dangerous spiritually. God designed sex to be used in the context of marriage, for a man and a woman to give themselves to each other and bring a family into the world. To use the sexual function any other way is a sin. All sin, including homosexual activity, cuts a person off from God. It is choosing our own way over His way. Morality is God's instruction manual, and going against it hurts us, and hurts our relationship with Him.
People who have a homosexual orientation are, in one way, no different than the rest of us. Because of original sin, we are all inclined, in one way or another, to be attracted to activities which are sinful. For some people, that attraction may be to abuse substances like drugs or alcohol. For others, it may be to heterosexual abuses of the gift of sexuality. The person with a homosexual orientation has to fight temptation in the same way we all do.
People with a homosexual orientation are called to live chastity just like the rest of us. There are thousands upon thousands of men and women in the Church who are striving to do just that, despite a homosexual orientation. There is even an organization called Courage which is dedicated to supporting these men and women and to help them grow in chastity and holiness.
Lest the letters start pouring in, calling me a homophobe or a hate monger, know this: Some of my dearest friends, some of the people I love most in the world, are gay. It's because I love them that I wish they weren't living that lifestyle. I don't judge their souls -- God does. But I do care very much about what happens to them -- physically and spiritually.
For more information about Courage, call their national office at (212) 421-0426.
Bonacci is a frequent lecturer on chastity.
This article appeared in the April 24, 1996 issue of "The Arlington Catholic Herald."
Courtesy of the "Arlington Catholic Herald" diocesan newspaper of the Arlington (VA) diocese. For subscription information, call 1-800-377-0511 or write 200 North Glebe Road, Suite 607 Arlington, VA 22203.
Copyright (c) 1996 EWTN