After learning that my son is gay I have lost my faith; is there a way back?

I’m 48. I was baptized Catholic as a infant, went to Catholic school through the 8th grade and, went to a Jesuit University. I have never experienced any of the Catholic trauma that some claim. I have always found my faith and Church to be a source of love and comfort.

Until about a year and a half ago.

A year an a half ago I found out my 21 year old son is gay. This was not something I ever expected to deal with in my life, so one of the things I did was talk to my parish priest. My parish priest was formerly the Vicar General of my local diocese. My priest provided me with good council. I followed most of what he suggested which helped me provide loving support of my son and wife.

The problem I’m having is that he also suggested that I join a “support” group called PFLAG (www.pflag.org). Take a look and see if you think I should join this group. I did not think so. My priest also told me that science had learned a lot about sexual orientation in recent years and if homosexuality is not a choice, it is not a sin.

The upshot of all of this is that I have lost my faith. If sin is subjective and situational why do I need a savior? What is the point of Catholic faith?

Look, I’m a sinner. I used to go to confession at least four times a year. At times I felt that this was a bit silly since I could record one of my confessions and just play it in confession every time I went. My weaknesses don’t change. I don’t think most people’s do. Not hiding from my sin and understanding my weaknesses helped me avoid the near occasion of sin.

My priest (the former Vicar General) tells me this does not apply to my son.

Well I haven’t been to Mass since the last time I spoke to my priest. I don’t see the point. If it was not for my brothers in the Knights of Columbus I would have no association with the Church at all. I miss it, but I have lost my faith. I just can’t fake it.

Is there a path back? I sure can’t find it.

Dear friend,

From his advice, the fact that your parish priest was the vicar general of your diocese only suggests that he was a poor choice for the job. The vicar general of a diocese must first of all be faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church. He definitely is not. That web site he gave you is not Catholic. He should have given you this Catholic web site: couragerc.net/Encourage.html

Same sex attraction in itself is not a sin. But the Church teaches that the genital acting out of such an orientation is a sinful a choice. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that such acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to natural law and are not open to the gift of life (#2357). That your priest gave you gravely false information should not keep you from responding to the love that God showed us on Good Friday. His misinformation does not nullify the passion, which is at the very core of our faith as Catholics. The Mass simply brings that reality which transcends time, into our lives in a concrete way. The body and blood separated from from each other, under the appearances of bread and wine, speaks to the fact that He actually died for us.

The fact that we remain weak and commit the same sins over again does not give us the slightest insight to the state of our souls. Only the Lord knows that. That we are continually reminded that we are weak and need His help is actually good for us. We so easily try to not need Him—and we will always desperately need Him. I will send you privately a reflection on His passion that can help you focus. Feel free to write me privately. You are in my prayers.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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