A reader of my columns, whom I’ll call “Smith Jones,” recently wrote in an email (edited):
We’ve corresponded before and I’ve always enjoyed your editorials. However, I’m always distressed when reading your attacks on gays.
As Pope Francis recently said, ‘Who am I to judge?’ We all believe God created everyone, white and black, different color eyes and hair, straight, gay and bisexual. If this lifestyle is wrong, then God made a mistake, which I certainly believe He didn’t! And I think it is utterly outlandish that gays should be expected not to live out their God-given sexuality.
I certainly do not believe in promiscuity in whatever one’s orientation is, but a firm and mutually loving commitment between two people is, in my opinion, a beautiful thing. I’m not for these couples adopting children, because I’m certain they would (sadly) be ridiculed by their peers. Thankfully, mature people’s attitudes toward gays have radically changed and continue to change. And this change is certainly among a large percentage of practicing Catholics as well, myself included.
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I think when we get to heaven, we may well be very surprised who is and who isn’t there! Again, Matt, I do enjoy your columns mostly. I just don’t like that you’re always targeting gay people, your brothers and sisters in Christ.
Thank you for your note. I have to respectfully disagree that I’m ‘targeting gay people.’ What I’m speaking out against is the homosexualist agenda that is so pervasive in our culture.
Also, the Church has always taught that homosexual acts are seriously sinful. Having same-sex attraction per se isn’t sinful, but it’s disordered—the result of original sin. We all have our sinful inclinations as a result of original sin. So, no, God doesn’t make mistakes; it’s the result of original sin.
Pope Francis has in no way changed Church teaching, nor could he in matters of faith and morals. What he said was completely in line with Church teaching. It’s all in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Smith Jones responded:
I’m totally familiar with the Church’s teachings in many areas, this being one of them. I fully understand what Pope Francis has said, but it’s the first time I’ve ever heard any pope reach out with such understanding of what gay people, especially those who are sincere Catholics, go through.
And he was totally correct: He (the same for any human being) is not the judge; only God is. I think a lot of people rely on the love, understanding and mercy of God to deal with this. So many issues—human issues—are far beyond what the Catholic Church teaches.
So for my part, Matt, I agree to disagree. I still plan to read and, hopefully, mostly enjoy your columns.
Regarding homosexuality, the following is the official teaching the Catholic Church (from the Catechism of the Catholic Church):
Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
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