A young couple on our street are getting married soon.
I wish this issue were easier, too. It's a whole lot easier dealing with it in the abstract: "homosexual acts are always wrong" (but my own sexuality is an expression of God's love for us), and "enforced - not optional - lifelong chastity isn't that hard" (but I don't have to live with it myself). It's much harder to deal with in the concrete: would you want to tell your child that s/he could never have the kind of relationship you have with your spouse, or that God made them and loves them the way they are, but condemns them if they follow through on the way they are made?
One of the important things for me in dealing with this is making sure that the Church's stand on homosexual relationships doesn't drive my kids away from God. So far it hasn't seemed to, but it would be very possible, even from the most well-meaning people.
Case in point: in the spring my 14yo and I sat with the RE Director to review how well I'd homeschooled my DD for confirmation. This was right after the Miss Universe flap, where the top contestant had just said she thought gay marriage was wrong. Practically the first thing out of the RE Director's mouth (directed to my DD) was, "Wasn't that brave and courageous of her? And it cost her the crown to tell the truth." Now, this had nothing whatsoever to do with the sacrament of confirmation, it was idle chatter; Miss California's opinions are no more important than anyone else's; and the RE Director had *no idea* of whether she might be talking to an adolescent who was confused over sexual identity issues. It was so careless and smug - as if there could be no other way of thinking about it - and that is the sort of thoughtless comment that can drive young people away from the Church and possibly God.
Your RE director example is exactly why I think the only response can be to focus on God's love for them. There are enough influences out there that focus on the other stuff.
I didn't mean to imply that it would be easy -- just that it isn't impossible. While I have no experience with the lifelong part, I have had plenty of experience with abstinence. And while I know that I'm more the exception than the rule, I am glad that my parents didn't have a "she's going to anyway, this is a lost cause" attitude toward teaching me about sexual morality.
Honestly, Kelly, I don't know what I'd tell my child, so I'm sorry if I came off sounding like I had answers. I don't at all, which is why I'm trying to find my own middle ground.
You didn't sound that way at all, Polly. I always appreciate your thoughtful responses. In fact, everyone who's responded about this has been gracious.
If you believe, as I do, that homosexuality is not the result of conditioning or sin, but rather a matter of innate orientation (As it is reflected in the natural world with animals, which also perform homosexual acts), then indeed the Church's definition of marriage as confined only to man and woman is narrow. It is not wrong, it is just not broad enough. Perhaps we are coming to an Age where the Holy Spirit will reveal to us the purpose of homosexual union. Jesus said the Holy Spirit would reveal all things in time, when we were ready. Perhaps the Church will eventually broaden its definition of marriage to include the loving, committed union of two same-sex adults.
Of course, procreation under those circumstances is impossible. But I am quite familiar with the Church's definition of marriage, and it would seem that it could include a same-sex couple if the procreation of children necessity were excluded. There are, after all, many couples who are infertile, or incapable of conceiving for medical reasons, and they still have a sacramental marriage.
My husband and I recently read the late Pope John Paul II's "Theology of the Body," and one of his most profound insights was that the highest form of love--that which most mimics love within the Holy Trinity--is the love within the Sacrament of Marriage. Naturally, he was talking about the union of man and woman. But the type of love itself does not change if the two persons are of the same sex. I believe it is the love and commitment here that is important, not the gender. The Church just hasn't reached that far as of yet. Love is always of God, in my opinion. It comes from Him, it flows from Him, and it IS Him. As Scripture says, nothing He has created is bad or wrong. Therefore, if someone is created homosexual, there is a purpose and a vocation for that person within his or her sexual boundaries. God made that person that way, in my opinion. It is not the result of sin or conditioning, as I said before. Therefore, through a loving and committed union, why can't homosexual persons also experience the Sacrament of Marriage?
It is something that I don't understand either, but I have a feeling perhaps in time, the Church may add to its stance, without negating what it already teaches on marriage, as it has done with other issues.
<"I'd argue that adultery is far more insidious.">
I totally agree with you!! Adultery breaks up homes, reeks of betrayal, destroys trust and breaks hearts (including any children involved). . Very interesting response, Polly, as usual! I also agree with you about chastity, but I wonder if, in fact, that is not a vocation unto itself. Does being homosexual preclude one, in God's eyes, to lifelong celibacy? It doesn't seem to. And that is what is confusing. After all, isn't the vocation of celibacy meant to be one of channeling one's sexual feelings/desires toward God, rather than man/woman? And also a vocation of denial for reparation? It is hard for me to believe that all homosexuals are called to this particular aesthetic and monastic-type vocation. . . But of course, I could be wrong, since I cannot read God's intent ;)
Without trying to stir up controversy and debate, I do know that if one of my children turns out to be homosexual, my husband and I will do our very best to direct that child to a loving, committed relationship just as we would with all of our children. We would not try to force them to look only at a celibate vocation. That is just unrealistic. And we would love them unconditionally, and accept their chosen partner as we would any son- or daughter-in-law.
I also agree with you that the hatred and bigotry in our society against homosexuals is absolutely abhorrent. There is no hatred quite as great, it seems. And that is a great sin.
Sofia, thank you for your thoughtful and kind response. You and I are in full agreement on this subject.
What a beautiful picture of you, Michael and the girls!
Just for lurkers that may be here... the Catholic Church teaches (and my gut says will always teach) that homosexual relationships are wrong.....
being a homosexual is not wrong... but acting on the feelings is wrong....
Wife to Scott
Mom to: Madeleine, James, Abigail, Theresa & John
Mom to: Madeleine, James,