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.