“The Gay Issue”: Objections and Clarifications

I have received a number of excellent criticisms and comments about my posts.

This is my seventh post in a series on understanding same sex attraction. The other six posts are:

On Terminology
Within Catholicism
Newman and Michelangelo
Broadening Same-Sex-Attraction
Learning from the Pro-Life Movement
Notre Dame’s Plan

As I have been writing for this series, I have received a number of excellent criticisms and comments about my posts. Here, I will address some of them. These are certainly not all of them, and I look forward to more thoughtful critiques in the future.

First, a note on my authority. In my second post, I provide interpretations of various sections of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. My interpretation is at variance with popular interpretations. Both the popular interpretations and my interpretations are just interpretations. I am not the teaching authority of the Church; nor do I have the right to claim that my interpretations are the interpretations that everyone must follow. I do, however, believe that the popular interpretations contain notable flaws and that my interpretations of these passages are more helpful and more consistent with the intellectual tradition of the 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

5 comments on ““The Gay Issue”: Objections and Clarifications

  1. I find your choice to equate emotional attraction to sexual attraction to be a grave mistake and one that is especially harmful for women. Because this is an idea propagated within our culture young women (and sometimes young men, older women…) can be involved in unsafe or unhealthy relationships because when they felt an emotional attraction to someone they thought it must also mean a sexual involvement – or vice versa.

    I think that it also minimizes the extent and the sacredness of intimacy. Emotional attraction and emotional intimacy do not necessitate sexual attraction or sexual intimacy. In fact, to be able to recognize and nurture these feelings outside of sexual relationships can only expand universal love in the world.


    • I don’t mean to “equate” emotional attraction to sexual attraction, although I see where you are coming from. Perhaps I am not sufficiently clear in that passage. I mean to indicate that emotional attraction can be a form of sexual attraction. It’s interesting that many Christians have developed an idea of “emotional chastity”- a form of chastity that, for some, is the female counterpart to “physical chastity” for men. One woman described it to me by saying that women need to be more cautious in becoming emotionally attached to men, that both physical AND emotional intimacies need to be taken more seriously.


      • Yes, that is clearer and, I think more precise.

        However, I think the two thoughts are still related. Women do frequently feel as if they need to be more cautious in their emotional attachments, but what if we were all taught to be more conscious of and gentle with relationships themselves, including friendships? If our culture separated the two more carefully, we could develop emotional attachments that were not confused with sexual attachments (and the understanding that intimacy and sex are not the same things), thus avoiding a lot of pain and confusion.

        Keep up the great writing! I will be following it.


  2. Pingback: Newman, and the development of Catholic teaching on abortion and homosexuality | Ideas of a University

  3. Pingback: A Theory of Sexual Attraction: Part 2 | Ideas of a University

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