Monday, 2 July 2012

A Homosexual Pastoral Problem


NB. IT IS AT THE REQUEST OF THE MOTHER (SO AS TO HELP OTHERS IN A SIMILAR  SITUATION) AND WITH THE AGREEMENT OF THE YOUNG PERSON INVOLVED, THAT I SHARE THE FOLLOWING.

I recently had a devout Catholic parent ask me to speak to her teenage son. He is about to leave school and has told his mother that he is gay; that this is one of the reasons he has not attended Mass over the last year.  His mother has spoken to him about the Church’s position but he blocks her arguments with, “It’s legal now, and everyone has the right to fall in love. Anyway, they have a special Mass for gays in Westminster and Jesus said not to judge”. In desperation she asked him to meet with me. Surprisingly he agreed.  I began by asking him to tell me his story, then asked why he thought it was OK to live a homosexual lifestyle. He told me his (Catholic) High School studies had presented him with several moral questions: abortion, divorce, homosexuality etc., where they were asked to share their own opinions.  Given that the formation of youth these days is predominantly via the media, it was not surprising that the youngsters followed the reasoning of the world.

Thus began a discussion of the meaning of authentic sex as opposed to sexual acts; on Truth and subjective ‘truth’, and on what Jesus really meant when He said ‘Do not judge’. In my most mild tone of voice I explained that the person is not judged, but the act must be -and for the sake of the person’s union with God.  He then asked, “So if the Church says only the act is wrong, does that mean I can have a relationship as long as I don’t have sex?” Strictly speaking the answer is yes, which I gave. But his next question was more difficult: “So can we share a home if we don’t have sex?” This answer is, as I explained, a qualified yes since it puts one in a situation where sin is all but facilitated, could cause scandal, and would require heroic virtue. “Yes, but it’s possible isn’t it? And I could still go to Communion.” I had to answer, “With the grace of God, yes it’s possible, but not ideal: it’s like putting a kleptomaniac in a shop all alone –can you tell me nothing is going to happen? I have to remind you it takes heroic virtue, and while you might think you can do it sitting here, the reality of it might be very hard”. Sadly I believe he left holding onto, “I can have a relationship and even share a life with someone as long as there is no sex”, not with an understanding of homosexuality as a disorder of sexuality, nor the difficulty of his house-sharing goal.  While I had spoken the truth, all I could do was leave it with him, but I shall pray for him and for his family, and for all in their situation.  What a sad state of play that we have created a generation who equate good and evil with what is legal and illegal, and not with the Gospel.

37 comments:

  1. I read your account with great sympathy. The gulf between civil law and natural law seems to grow wider everyday as "rationalism" and "compassion" vie for dominance over morality. It is now considered compassionate to promote love that will always be closed to the gift of life just as it is seen as compassionate to liberate one person from responsibility for another's life and well being whether this is in the womb or on the death bed.
    It is also unfortunate that there are few if any examples of heroic virtue in the context of understanding homosexuality. I am not aware of any hagiography that highlights this struggle. St Benoit Joseph Labre is the patron saint of all single men and also of those suffering mental health problems as well as those searching for a vocation. Directing a young man's heart is difficult and relying on rational argument is difficult and probably unreliable. Our Lord did not compel or force individuals to holiness. Many must have heard him speak and left unmoved; he spoke powerfully of the experience of the prodigal son and of his fate when he returned home. Here is perhaps the strongest direction that we should pray and hope for the lost. The father did not imprison his son but let him go to return.
    There is a particular anxiety for a young man in this situation because of the very real physical, psychological and moral harm that such a relationship poses and also because of the overwhelming effect that desire has over the senses and thoughts of otherwise rational individuals. Love will overcome everything and in this case I mean the virtuous love of family and friends for the young man rather than the feelings he describes as love for his partner.
    Please strive to assure him of this. I know that it can be difficult to think of the such relationships without disgust but this is an a natural response born of many factors. Please do not ostracise this young man and do encourage him to continue to practise his faith. Remind him that the Sacrament of Reconciliation is there and available for frequent use and that having a regular confessor is of immense help in such situations despite the superficial attraction of anonymity that "shopping around" offers.
    Finally, I would encourage him to engage in as many healthy activities as possible to surround himself with good friends and to avoid closing the door to positive experiences

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  2. Prudence and compassion are of course vital, but instead of following his lead it may have been more helpful to challenge him directly. After all, his eternal destiny is at stake?

    Firstly, I would make him aware of the basics of the faith. To begin with, like all teenagers, especially those that have experienced the Catholic education system, he is clearly submerged in the 'I'. This is no flippant point, many Catholics of our generation assume that today's young adults possess a certain level of self-awareness, this is not necessarily true. Introducing him to the idea that what he says and how he acts has both an indirect and direct effect on 'others' sometimes has a profound effect on such young men.

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    1. I allowed him to lead in telling 'his story', so to speak, but I was very clear about the danger in which he would place his soul, which is why I engaged him is a discussion about the nature of subjective and objective truth and the "I, Me, Myself" of relativism. Unfortunately he seems to have been affirmed in this by his so-called Catholic education where teaching was geared towards passing examinations set by secular authorities. I have encouraged him to keep up his prayers (though he says he has not prayed for years) and to come to Mass (but he says it is boring) and to find good Catholic fiends (but he says he is only comfortable with gays). It is very hard to get the Truth heard by young people when they (and indeed their parents and grandparents) have spent c. forty years receiving Non-directive pastoral care and hearing from pulpits and schools the adages ‘Do not judge’ and ‘God loves you as you are’ –without the rejoinder that He loves them too much to leave them there.

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  3. I am dismayed by your arrogance. Since when did the Church teach that we ought to view "homosexuality as a disorder of sexuality"? I think you are straying from the facts here. Similarly, your suggestion that a homosexual person living with another is analogous to a person suffering from kleptomania not only belies your ignorance of mental health but rather clearly shows your prejudiced view of the realities faced by many gay Catholics. Heroic virtue does exist. Bitter and twisted clerical attitudes serve only to show me how closeted many priests have had to become to cope with their own sexual frustrations.

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    1. The Catholic Church has taught homosexuality is wrong from the days of scripture (1.Cor.6v9) and re-iterated it in the Roman Catechism (On the 6th Commandment) following Trent, and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2357 and 2358) after Vatican II. The analogy used is, I think, simple and plain: do not put temptation in one’s way. We ought not to push any analogy too far, such as into mental health issues, as this can distort their plain implication. Bitterness is not the prevailing attitude but concern for a soul. Sexual frustration is a negative way to label self-control and sublimation, which stands as a confrontation of today’s attitude of giving in to our basic instincts; of being controlled by our urges rather than our intelligence.

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    2. Who is arrogant? Perhaps I should have asked: Look who's talking. By the way who are you, Mr/Ms/Sir/Ma'am Anon Ny Mous? I'm Anonymous 2... hehe

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    3. Thank you, Anonymous 2.
      God bless you and yours.

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  4. Speaking as the parent of the child in question, I can confirm that my son knows what effect his actions have on others indirectly and directly. I can also say that because of the personality that my son has it certainly wouldn't have helped to challenge him harshly as he would have got up and walked out. I know for a fact that Father Dickson has handled this situation extremely well as my son doesn't care who it is if he didn't want to listen he wouldn't. To be honest you could have knocked me down with a feather when he agreed immediately to talk with Father. All I can do now is pray very hard for God’s grace to get through to him.

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    1. Sally I shall keep him in my prayers. Would that all mother's of sons who have carry this particular cross were as concerned and loving as yourself.

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  5. Father, You know the young man in question, I do not but I have difficulty with your kleptomania analogy, kleptomania is an uncontrollable desire to steal.
    Although controlling one's sexual orientation may well be impossible, controlling the expression of it is, not superhuman, but merely what humans do, most of the time.

    I see many heterosexual couples who for one reason or another have to control their sexual desire, maybe more easily when they are older than in the first flush of youthful passion.
    Humanae Vitae presumes that we are in control of our sexuality, not it in control of us. Though temptation is increased by proximity, and although this young man has a disordered sexuality, in so far as he is a homosexual, it seems wrong to suggest that he will have an uncontrollable "mania" as far as his sexuality is concerned.

    Indeed many heterosexuals may be "disordered" to some degree in their sexuality, an interest in some form of fetish, for example, they are still capable of overcoming this.

    Heroic virtue is actually part of being a Christian, it is not rare, as celibates, we live it and witness it personally in our own lives. But you are right that this young man needs the sacraments and a healthy prayer life, to know the love of Christ, in order to be heroic. Without Christ there can be little heroism. What is also important is that he learns to deal with loneliness, which unless it is dealt with effectively saps heroism.

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    1. Thank you for your comment Father. The analogy with kleptomania seems not to have been well chosen. But analogies can be pushed too far and as you will imagine, the whole conversation could not be recounted. The analogy was presented simply as a back-up to me saying ‘stay out of temptations way’, when the claim was made that “I just can’t help myself Father. It’s the way I am”.

      I agree that Humanae Vitae presents us as being in control of our sexuality, but to some degree this seems true also of those suffering from kleptomania since the Mayo Clinic treats it with psychotherapy and medications (though there are, I gather, relapses) and there are self-help groups in the form of Alcoholics Anonymous, which might equate with the ‘Courage’ groups. As such I don’t feel the analogy is totally off-key. It is sometimes difficult in pastoral encounter to be as precise as one would like. I’m not sure such heroic virtue is common. My presentation was as required for the designation of ‘Venerable’ by the Church, so as to show that holiness is possible for the homosexual person.

      Our celibacy as priests is, I feel, not as tested as that of a young man seeking to live with a partner to whom he is emotionally bonded and physically attracted, though I agree: one must still exercise the will even as a solitary celibate! I doubt I could live celibacy as faithfully if I shared a home with a woman to whom I was emotionally bonded and physically attracted.

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    2. Father,
      Thank you for your reply, yes the immanent danger for this young man is his emotional and physical attraction, it is easier to to keep a genii in a bottle but rather difficult to get it back once released. You are of course right that the problematic issues are of emotional bonding and sexual attraction and at the age of seventeen falling into culture that is hedonistic and destructive, and probably he doesn't quite understand that is actually what he is choosing, it is part of the package.

      Your answer is quite right but my point is simply that "Heroic Virtue" is part of Christian living, choosing a life of self control is possible but it sounds as if this young man has already chosen a life shaped by popular culture rather than Christ.
      Yes, you are right about celibacy too.

      I am grateful to you and to this young man for this post, in concerns so many today.

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    3. Dear Fathers, both of you are correct and have responded very compassionately to this situation.

      However, I think the living together in chaste friendship works best with ssa persons who may have been in relationship but find themselves called to conversion, or find themselves able to accept Church teaching on sexuality and wish to re-order their lives accordingly - in this they can become a support to one another. For this to happen however, there needs to be some sort of emotional, sexual maturity, as well as conviction regarding Catholic teaching and the understanding that ssa is objectively disordered.

      Unfortunately, this maturity is often lacking in a young man educated in the liberal - permissive, pro-choice environment of today's Catholic and secularized education system. Indeed it would require heroic virtue and great maturity to live like that.

      Fr. Dickson, you did what you could. God bless both you and Fr. Blake, prayers for both of you in your ministry, as well as the young man who sounds as if he is very much enchanted by world.

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    4. I think Mr Nelson’s the point about sexual and emotional maturity has been lost on so many today. This is a very young man experiencing ssa, so his emotional and sexual maturity is likely still progressing. Sadly, today’s permissive society aims at getting him to accept ssa as an inevitable life-long orientation, and as Peter Tatchel recently noted, sexual attraction can fluctuate throughout life -as such it is certainly not set in stone at 16 or 17 years and to propose that it is, as some commentators seem to think, is rather naive.

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  6. Perhaps the insights of two faithful Catholics -- one male, one female -- who deal with their own same-sex attraction on a daily basis may be helpful.

    http://sexualauthenticity.blogspot.com/

    and

    http://www.stevegershom.com/

    of course, the young man can always take advantage of the Church's ministry to women and men with same-sex attraction. Courage (in the USA) and Encourage (in the UK, I beleive).

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  7. I find it rather disconcerting to find the background of this blog to be.....or am I mistaken?....a marijuana leaf?

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    1. I rushed to Gooogle images of marijiana leaves to see if you were right since I have -as you might guess- no experience of marijuana leaves. I don't think it is such a leaf -Deo Gratias! or maybe I am wrong..?

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  8. When I trained as a priest, I was always made very aware of the primacy of understanding and listening in pastoral situations such as the one you have described. I remember some of my most respected and learned professors taking a very dim view of those who spewed out dogma in such situations. Your assertion that the church has always taught that "homosexuality is wrong" is inaccurate. The Church's condemnation has always been about the sexual act - it has specifically not been about the orientation. Let us not pretend for one moment that we do anyone a service by failing properly to make known in word and deed the Church's pastoral concern for the homosexual person. Surely a little less dogma and a little more understanding is not too much to ask.

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    1. I stand corrected: the homosexual act is, of course, what is unacceptable to the Church and incompatible with her Gospel. I do hope the summary of my talk with this young man demonstrates my clarity on this point more clearly than my above reply. I presume it was because I presented the act as unacceptable that he left feeling he could share a flat with a loved one.

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  9. The young man asked whether he could share a house etc with another man. As Father said, this is problematic. I suggest that this course of action is advisable only if there is grave reason.

    The young man also mentioned what he'd been told at school, and the existence of a "gay friendly" Mass.

    I suggest that he needs to be told the facts - that the Church's teaching is clearly set out in the Catechism and other magisterial documents, that lots of people are in rebellion against this teaching, and that lots of others acquiesce in this rebellion. And that it's his choice whether to accept the teachings of Christ and His Church.

    And, of course, to be encouraged to keep praying, whatever his choice. One of the worst things is just to walk away and stop the conversation with God.

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  10. Father, I appreciate your willingness to share some of the details of this challenging pastoral encounter. I more commonly hear the argument that since kissing, cuddling, and holding hands are not necessarily sins in an unmarried couple (it is genital sexual activity outside of the bonds of marriage that's a no-no), by extension, would kissing, cuddling, holding hands among unmarried men not also not be a sin.

    I don't think he was asking your judgment on real estate matters; I think he was dancing around the topic of the church's perspective on non-genital-sexual expressions of affection.

    With gratitude for your candor and insights,
    Giuseppe

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    1. Giuseppe,

      Thank you for your comment, and for your question...This is such a complicated area upon which to comment, but what I say will apply to unmarried, heterosexual couples too.

      While a kiss may not be sexual (we might kiss our mom or Dad), or a hug (we hug family and friends) cuddles and kisses in the context of a relationship where there is physical attraction ignites feelings and desires we might not easily overcome. Such situations are ones in which sin may not yet be present but in which it is made more likely, which are likely occasions of sin. so I would counsel against getting into them and point out the attendant danger: it can be a bit like seeing how close to the edge of a cliff we can get before we fall off (I must try to stay clear of analogies as they get me into bother!). The stimulation of feelings and desires is particularly troublesome for men since we get aroused almost instantly, which is not the case for women whose arousal is more gradual. Still, in either gender, the feelings are stimulated and the more frequently we engage in such kisses and cuddles, the more the desire will linger in our minds and the more powerful the urge may become. All in all then, I would counsel against such kisses and cuddles.

      Hand-holding does not spring to mind as a serious threat to maintaining one’s continence. In some cultures holding hands within the gender is nothing out of the ordinary and denotes/encourages no sexual attraction at all. If the individuals find it does lead to a desire for intimate hugs and kisses, they may have already set foot on a slippery slope -remembering that individuals differ in their personal strengths and depth of faith.

      Another priest may have better insight but in truth, it is easier to work with known individuals where the whole issue can be properly explored; probably over several sessions.
      I hope this reply is useful to you.

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    2. If hand-holding, hugs and kisses are illicit what are gay men and lesbians supposed to do for tactile input. Does the Catholic Church maintain that SSA persons do not need tactile input? It is a daunting prospect for a young man of sixteen or seventeen to contemplate an entire lifetime of only chaste hand shakes or indifferent pats on the back. "Starved for affection" isn't drivel; it describes a real emotional phenomenon. Is this the due and payable for being a lesbian Catholic or a Catholic gay man, the sacrifice of psychological normalcy? What does Rome expect them to do? They can't get married, they can't adopt children, they can't have a romantic affair, they can't enter a seminary and they can't work in a parish setting unless they keep their sexual orientation a secret. What can they do to access physical intimacy?

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    3. Thanks for the comment Joe; please forgive the late reply.
      Of course the Church does not maintain that SSA persons do not need or should not have tactile input; hand-holding and hugs are not sinful since they are not, of themselves, a misuse of the procreative faculty. But they do harbour a difficulty in that hugs can become 'cuddling', and cuddling can bring arousal which may be difficult to control. I would say take care about hugging and be aware of its dangers.
      I can hear the blocks in life you see for SSA persons regarding marriage, adoptions, entering seminary etc. I would not have said that SSA persons cannot work in a parish without hiding their sexual orientation though; I think it may be something they should share with their pastor and could share with their close friends whom they can turn to in their struggles. In my experience things which are hidden gain a kind of power that can overwhelm the person, so making ones sexual orientation known might be necessary and helpful. Catholic support groups for SSA people, such as 'Courage', are well worth accessing since they allow those with SSA to support one another in their struggles in an atmosphere of faith.
      I don't for a moment underestimate anyone's struggle to live a celibate life -after all, priests and consecrated religious cannot have romantic relationships but still need to feel cared for and get the occasional hug from loving, trustworthy friends --and especially from family, where there is no real risk of hugs leading to arousal and sex. Exclusion of active homosexual activity does not equate to exclusion of all physical contact.

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  11. Fr. Dickson and "mom",
    Thank you Fr. For your courage, speaking the truth in love, and continuing the dialogue. While its easy to pick apart a written comment, it's much more difficult to prayerfully speak with someone on such a difficult topic, rendered even more so by our current social trends and teachings. As a sister to a homosexual brother, I wonder if anyone spoke thusly to him before his death. He was my best friend and I pray for him every time he crosses my mind, which after 35 years is still frequent. May god bless you and your effort. And thank you "mom" for sharing this journey.

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    1. Shelley,
      Thank you so much for your comment. I am so sorry to hear of your brother's death and can feel the pain of your loss. I often tell people that time doesn't heal, as they say it does; it just helps us to cope with the gap. I too hope your brother found someone who would listen, understand and advise from the love of Christ, and keep that same love present in their pastoral encounter. God bless you. A prayer will be offered (privately) for you, your brother and all in such need at my next offering of Holy Mass.

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    2. Shelley thank you for your comments above I appreciate your support. I will pray for your brother and you and your family God Bless you

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  12. I am sorry to say, Father, from your narrative it sounds like you missed an opportunity to teach him about the near occasion of sin: any situation that tempts us to do wrong we must avoid. Alcoholics can't go to bars, recovering addicts can't be around friends who use, etc. He may have friendships with people where no possibility of temptation exists (i.e. a female friend or heterosexual neighbor). However, cohabiting with a male who also has same sex attraction is a near occasion of sin that leads to an immoral act, so the answer should be NO, he must avoid it. He must also avoid sexual fondling of others, reading porn magazines, masturbating and crusing gay bars. Also you could have explained that we are ALL called to chastity regardless of orientation, and the only holy use of sex is through marriage. Heterosexual Catholics are called to the same sacrifice of self-control!

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    1. I am sorry to say that this is very narrow-minded.

      As a human being, I know that masturbation and other activities which the Church finds so appalling frequently form part of the experience of our the sexual lives of many men, women, single, married, Religious and clergy alike.

      Heads are very much in the sand if we continue to deny this and see it as 'always sinful.' We Christians CAN and DO enjoy sexual lives outside marriage. We are NOT all heading to hell because of it. We do risk creating a form of hell on earth if we continue to deny the breadth of sexual experience which is wholesome, remains in right relationship with others and harms nobody.

      Though droves of young people are rejecting wholesale the approaches of the Church to teaching on sexual ethics and mores, many continue to preach the sermon of Little Bo Peep; in vain, I fear. I strongly believe (as does the Church) that God calls us to holiness through nature, not outside of or despite it. However embattled your hard and fast approach, young people and those adults who find themselves increasingly ostracised by unfeeling dogma and an ever-increasing mask of universal certainty, will NOT come home wagging their tails behind them.

      I have had exposure within internal and public forums to the pain which is caused by dogmatic exhortation. I only hope that those who are always so ready to assert their passionate views on here about Church teaching are a little more sympathetic when they meet their fellow human beings who are honest with them about their own struggles and - indeed - joyful discoveries of their own sexual experience.

      "The glory of God is man fully alive", ... not "man reading the Catechism of the Church"!

      I am fully clear - God is love; often, our promotion of dogma is not love.

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    2. I do not think the Church finds masturbation or other sexual acts outside of marriage ‘appalling’, in my understanding she rejects them as disordered expressions of the sexual act, an act which is seen as complete self-giving of the man and woman in a fruitful union of mind, heart and body; an act geared toward procreation. ‘Appalling’ is, I think, a caricature of the Church’s understanding.

      Certainly the struggle with correct ordering of sexual impulses is common to all men and women, single, married, religious, priest etc., but just as we must struggle to order our impulses of anger etc., I suggest we also need to struggle to order our sexual impulses. Not every impulse we have is positive and good.

      Young people may well be rejecting the Church’s understanding of sexuality, but because they have been taught to do this by a secular society which sees man as just another animal. The Church has a higher understanding of man than that, advising us to order our lives by reason and intellect rather than instinct and impulse. She does so for the sake of our souls, placing the gaining of eternal happiness with God above that of gaining temporary pleasures in this passing world.

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    3. Humility is a gift from God.

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  13. As the mother of a daughter who struggles with a same sex attraction, I Love my daughter, as I Love all my children, and my only desire is that she learn to develop healthy and Holy relationships that are grounded in authentic Love. As her mother, I have watched my daughter grow and develop over the years and recognize that her disordered inclination was greatly influenced by a date rape that occurred during her freshman year of College. Her "friends" helped to convince her, as she continued to be traumatized, that she could be "gay". The fact that she was athletic led several "friends" to conclude that this was more likely the reason she was traumatized and did not welcome the advances of the young man on the night of the date.
    My daughter is a beautiful young lady who has developed a disordered inclination. Like every disordered inclination, some are more serious , and difficult to overcome. My daughter is currently involved in a relationship which Leaves me heartbroken because I know that one cannot be involved in a disordered sexual relationship without engaging in acts that are demeaning but that most of society condones as being acts of Love. To suggest that an inclination to engage in certain behavior is genetic and thus immutable, is a lie from the start. This lie has destroyed my entire family, casting doubts on all of us as to the essence of authentic Love, as my husband and children, although they claim they wish my daughter was not gay, have embraced and accepted her inclination as a permanent part of her personhood rather than a disordered sexual inclination, and I have become a burden on my family because I recognize that Love is not possessive, nor is it coercive, nor does it serve to manipulate for the purpose of self-gratification, Love exists in relationship and desires the Good of one's beloved. Only God defines what is Good, because God is The Perfect Communion of Love, The Blessed Trinity. May The Light of Love lead to healing for all of us.

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment. It sounds as though you feel very isolated within your family, and I hope you will allow me to say that I feel the sadness of that for you. I will remember your daughter, yourself and your family in my Rosary, asking the Blessed Mother to obtain any healing your family might need.

      You don’t say if your family have told you that you are a burden to them, or whether you feel you are a burden. In any event, I would advise you not to accept the label of being a burden: you are a light to your family, and being a light in a darkened world is a burden that you will carry, as does anyone who is a light-bearer.

      Your daughter’s experience is tragic and bound to be traumatic for her, and indeed for you and for all who genuinely care about her. Sadly, her friends did not advise her very well. In a certain sense they seem to have assisted her in giving in to the trauma; it does not mean we are gay because we are traumatised by rape; feeling traumatised is always a natural reaction to rape.

      Sadly, society has been conditioned to think that homosexuality is normal, as the saying ‘born that way’ implies. Your family seem to have been influenced by this, but there is also the possibility that their emotional bond with your daughter impedes their ability to challenge her for fear of hurting her further, or even of losing her love. Your understanding of love as non-possessive, non-coercive, and non-manipulative but rather the will to seek the true good of the beloved, is a fine and sound understanding. You are right of course; to say a gay person is intrinsically, permanently gay in their personhood, leaves no room for growth in maturity, self-understanding or grace. Plainly put, no gay gene has been identified that would make one intrinsically, permanently gay. This link may be helpful to you on this topic:

      http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2007/mlowery_homosexuality1_jun07.asp

      Thank you again for your comment. I do hope you have a good priest around to support you and your family.

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    2. Although I know of many good priests, unfortunately, my family is divided on this issue because some of the members of my family have been conditioned to believe that sexual inclinations are immutable. By giving personhood to sexual inclinations, it makes it appear that our sexual inclinations are a permanent part of our personhood. There are many different types of disordered inclinations, including disordered sexual inclinations, some more difficult than others to overcome.

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  14. dear fr dickson
    if i came to you in confession and you said i was wrong to be in a gay relationship, i would be forced to wonder what God is all about.
    I am created and loved by the same God as you and your male catechist friend. I am fearfully and wonderfully made, like the Psalmist.
    Like you, when I die, I shall face the throne of judgement. And without saying a word, I shall open my heart full of names.
    Yours, I hope, shall be amongst them.
    Pray for me as I will for you.

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    1. Thank you for your comment, and for your prayers. I will pray for you. In all honesty, I don’t understand how being informed that homosexual acts are outside of God’s design would make anyone wonder what God is about, since it is for love of the person whose soul is damaged by homosexual acts that a priest directs one to celibacy. What is important in life is a faithful, valuing friendship. Sex acts do not need to be part of this. In fact, while not having such a friendship can be damaging to us emotionally, the absence of sex is not. We do ourselves a disservice when we equate sex with love and personal fulfilment.

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