“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.” ~ William Shakespeare
One of the biggest issues I had with accepting my sexuality was that I did not know that the Catholic Church believes people who have “same sex attractions” are born that way. I sometimes wonder if I would have known this, I wouldn’t have had so many issues with dealing with my sexuality. I don’t think I would have been so concerned with ending up in the wrong place once I leave this world. It was years after I started having issues with accepting my sexuality that I discovered that truth. The truth that the Catholic Church teaches people are born with “same sex attractions”. These feeling of “homosexual tendencies” were not wrong; I was not going to go to Hell for having them. These feelings were the feelings God intended me to have. I was born a gay Catholic.
This blog posting isn’t about my past. It isn’t about whether a person is born being attracted to someone the same gender as they are. This isn’t about if having fantasies of someone of the same sex is right or wrong. It isn’t about whether or not having a relationship with someone of the same sex as you are is a sin. These topics and more I’m sure will be discussed in future blog postings on this site. What this posting is about is the names the Catholic Church uses to address members of the Catholic Church who are gay. It is about the two phrases I used above, “same sex attraction” and “homosexual tendencies”.
About two years ago I was at a local gay bar. I was sitting there minding my own business when this gentleman walked over to me and started struck up a conversation. We talked for a little while and he asked me what I was doing the following day. I informed him I was going to church. He asked what church and I told him. He know of the church I was going to attend mass at and pointed out that he used to be Catholic. He went on to tell me that now he doesn’t know what religion he is. He felt alienated from the Catholic Church because he was gay. He was now a lost soul not sure what he believed anymore.
During the course of our discussion, I did point out to him that the Catholic Church does believe that people are born gay, but I really didn’t go into much detail about it. Partly because I was still coming to terms with being a gay Catholic and the other part being my anxiety when I meet new people. If the Catholic Church was to address its members whom have “same sex attractions” as gay Catholics, would this gentleman know what religion he practices now? Would he have been living a different lifestyle then he was? Would he have been closer to God if he was taught by the Church that he was born gay?
William Shakespeare had it right when he pointed out that no matter what you call a rose, it would still smell as sweet. A name is only a name. So my questions are: Why doesn’t the Catholic Church use the term gay when it addressing the issues of homosexuality? Why must they use terms like individuals with “same sex attractions” or “homosexual tendencies”? What would be the harm is saying an individual is gay when speaking of those whom are attracted to the same gender as they are? Would people with “same sex attractions” be more willing to listen to what the Catholic Church is saying on how one with these attractions is suppose to live their lives?
I don’t really know the answers to any of these questions. If you want to express your opinions or thoughts on these questions or anything else I said here, please do so by posting a comment below. If you have any questions yourself related to this topic, please post them there as well. By doing so you just may help out someone accepting the fact that God did make him/her gay and that the Catholic Church teaches people are born with “same sex attractions”. I for one do not care for the terms “same sex attractions”, “homosexual tendencies”, or another other way to avoid addressing people who see themselves as being gay as referring to them as being gay. I am a gay Catholic.
The United State Conference of Catholic Bishops has put together a report on Ministering to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination. This file is in a .pdf format and requires Adobe Reader to view. The link to the Ministry to Persons with Homosexual Inclination can also be found in the Link section of this site.