I think this issue is one of those issues where you can find many difference viewpoints on homosexuality and what the Church teaches. As I pointed out in my earlier posting, that the United State Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) stated that one’s sexuality comes about through “multiple factors—genetic, hormonal, psychological—that may give rise to it. Generally, homosexual orientation is experienced as a given, not as something freely chosen.” Bass was kind of enough to point out to me the response to that letter that was written by then Cardinal Ratzinger. Catholicc also pointed out where in the Catechism of the Catholic Church it teaches what Cardinal Ratzinger pointed out in his letter, which is the Vatican and the Catechism state that homosexuality is an “objectively disordered”. As Catholicc also pointed out, I may have stuck my foot in my mouth somewhat by not investigating further into the teaching of the Church. I read what the Bishops wrote and accepted that as the Church teachings, seeing they are ones that are partly in charge of leading and teaching members of the Catholic faith in the right direction.
That said, I still personally agree with the USCCB that one’s sexuality develops from a range of factors. “In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association (APA) removed homosexuality as a disorder from the Sexual Deviancy section of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the DSM-II. The World Health Organization’s ICD-9 (1977) listed homosexuality as a mental illness, and in 1990, a resolution was adopted to remove it in the ICD-10 (1993).” (Found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexual#Psychology). Here we see that major medical organizations have recently stated that they do not believe there is any evidence to suggest that homosexuality is a disorder. I think understand this is very important for this reason. At one point the Church told us that the world was flat. According the New Advent website, the reason for this error was due to lack of data. I point this out because “not until the late nineteenth century is the word ‘homosexuality’ accepted as a term of language intended to describe the permanent condition of a fixed group of people, namely, ‘homosexuals’”. (Courage and the Cross: The Problem of Same Sex Attraction by Rev. Paul N. Check). One could argue that due to lack of data on the subject of homosexuality, the Church teachings on the reason for one being gay is in error. I do believe that the Catholic Church will change their stance on why a person is a homosexual sometime in the future to that of what the USBCC stated.
Now, I think it’s important to say that Bass, Catholicc (I assume), and myself actually agree on the Church teachings on how a person whom is gay and Catholic should live their life, which is chaste. I think the only real difference is we disagree on why a person is gay. I believe it’s just the way a person is born. They believe that it is an objectively disordered. But there really isn’t an argument on how one should live their lives being a gay Catholic. Even if the Church changes its stance on why a person is gay, I don’t feel that it would really change the way a person whom is gay is called to live their lives.
I also feel that my comments and some of the other people comments were not really focused on answering the individual’s question who started this thread. Even though it is important to point out where the Bible and the Church teaches that it is wrong to engage in homosexual acts, I don’t think really anyone has done a good job and explaining how one can live their lives as a gay Catholic. (Note: I didn’t read all of the 200+ posting on this thread). Let’s face it, whether it’s because it’s the way we are born or because it’s a disorder, being attracted to individuals of the same sex isn’t one’s choice. What is a choice is how one lives their live.
This is just what I have discovered being both gay and Catholic. I don’t know Bass, Catholicc or any other person that posted on this topic on this site, so I can’t really speak for them. I can only speak for myself. I don’t know how many people posted on this thread have dealt with trying to discover the truth about living one’s life as being gay and Catholic. It isn’t very easy. You have the Church on one hand telling you that there is something wrong with you, a “disorder” (which could be why I accept the USBCC teaching over the Catechism teaching). On the other hand you have what society is expressing about living your life as being “gay”. I always had a hard time trying to be part of the “gay scene” because I really didn’t feel that was for me. At the same time, there is very little in the Catholic Church for a person to find others dealing with similar issues and experiences. Recently I started to attend a group called Courage. The problem with this is I have to drive 45 minutes to attend this group; there is nothing closer to me. Without going into many more details about my life due to this already being a long posting, I just want to point out that dealing with being gay and Catholic at the same time isn’t an easy task.
Also I would like to try to bring this posting back to the topic that started this thread, which has to do with gay marriage. I think what many people over look with is issue is that people that are dealing with being gay and Catholic don’t want to live their lives alone, which really isn’t any difference then what “heterosexual” people want. Where the difference is is how the Church teaches how to obtain this. There are many publications, articles, doctrines on how heterosexual individuals can obtain this, which for most part is through marriage. If you look at many of the Church teachings on homosexual living, it’s focuses on the sin of engaging in homosexual acts. There is very little to show how a person whom is gay and Catholic should live their lives, just plenty of information on ways not to live one’s life.
As I mentioned above, I recently started attending Courage. The Father that runs the group wrote a pamphlet that expresses many things that I found very important, including how one can obtain intimate relationship with others without engaging in a sinful way or going against the Church teachings. He wrote a Chapter in this pamphlet title “A Life of Supportive Companionship and Chaste Intimacy” that explains the important tasks in life of building rich and diverse circle of supportive friends. He says that these friends – “individuals who can and will honor your integrity and support your commitment to faith and virtue. Such friends and companions support and encourage you to love successfully and fully what God has called you to love. They share your sorrows, they stand by you in your struggles, and they rejoice in your accomplishment and when good things come to you.”
This priest also point out in the Chapter entitled “A Life of Human Warmth and Tenderness, Rich with Right-Ordered Affection” that “Saint Paul understood that there are a range of physical expressions of affection between people – men and women, men and men, and women and women – that can be both tender and chaste. Among these are hand on the shoulder, a touch on the arm, sitting close to one another, holding hands, a hug, a kiss on the check or the forehead. American culture is notoriously ignorant of them, and even when aware of them, amazingly poor in wanting to understand or embrace them. American society is so hyper-sexualized that every act of human tenderness or affection is immediately distorted into a ‘statement of genital relationship.’ This is devastating to a healthy human community. A great many of the other cultures of the world are not as poor as we are in this regard. Catholics in these cultures are just as Catholic as Catholics in our own. The point is that the Word of God does not preclude physical expressions of affection between people, even of the same sex; nor does the Word of God look upon them as morally suspect or dangerous in themselves. A child would die without physical affection. Adults shrivel emotionally and fail physically in its absence.”
I don’t think I could express it better than this Priest has done here. Within our own culture and others, we believe that being physical (touching, holding hands, etc…) is only for those married or dating. When in fact it is something we all need, the touch of others. I believe that is one of the main reason gay individuals are looking to get married, our culture teaches that in order to have what is needed, you have to be married, or at least dating someone.
Maybe instead of engaging in an argument of what the Church teaches about homosexuality, we should focus more on building bridges and friendship with individuals whom are gay. Have you hugged a gay Catholic today or any other person today?