This is my second post on understanding “same sex attraction.” To read my first post, “On Terminology,” click here.
For those who are Catholic, the first place to look for understanding these issues is the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Catechism is “a complete summary of what Catholics throughout the world believe in common.” The text dedicates three paragraphs to “homosexuality.” These paragraphs are placed within a section on “The Vocation to Chastity.” The first paragraph describes the Catholic understanding of homosexuality. The second rejects any unjust discrimination against those with “homosexual tendencies.” The third calls homosexual persons to chastity.
The citations within these three sections demonstrate the dearth of texts within Catholicism about these issues. Only the Bible and one section of Persona Humana are cited. Many Church documents and statements discuss the pastoral care of “homosexual persons,” and there is no doubt as to the moral status of homosexual acts. However, few (if any) documents present a thorough and compelling treatment of what homosexuality is and how to understand it. Thousands of pages discuss how one is to live a faithful married life or how to be a good priest, but, so far, little treatment has been given to how to thoroughly integrate same-sex-attraction into the Christian life. Texts that attempt to discuss same-sex-attraction often merely repeat the call to chaste living and the rejection of homosexual acts. Nonetheless, much can be learned from what has been written so far. I will here primarily deal with what has been said in the Catechism of the Catholic Church…
The rest of this post can be found in my book, “I Desired You: An Intellectual Journal on Faith and Sexuality.” You can order a copy here.
Chris, you handle this issue very sensitively and adeptly. This is not a post amenable to sound-bite pull-outs (which is a compliment). Sadly, we will find many folks who ignore your explication here just because they want a port in the storm kind of position from which to pontificate. You are reading the Catechism very well here. It is meant to be taken this broadly, and Papa Benedict has himself indicated very similar ideas in his many public teachings and writings on the subject. Good work, Chris!
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