Do pro-LGBT and "anti"-LGBT Christians often talk past each other?


#1

Traditional Christians, like many Catholics, are focused on the question of homosexuality as an orientation towards acts — sexual acts, in particular. Therefore, the conversation almost always revolves around the “intrinsically disordered” or “objectively evil” nature of same-sex sexual activity. This how Vatican documents often speak of it, for example.

Pro-LGBT Christians, even Catholics who accept traditional church teaching, are not focusing on homosexuality as orientation to specific sexual acts, but rather as a much larger function of a person’s personality. In a sense, they go by the motto: A person is more than their sexuality, and sexuality is more than sexual acts.

And so this latter group objects to over-simplifications of the issue. And the need to listen and accompany becomes paramount.

This divide happens even in the Catholic Church — EVEN between people who want to maintain traditional Catholic moral teaching. But the dialogue gets harsh, and people end up speaking past each other. At least, this is how I have come to see the cultural reality in the church today.

Do you think this is one of the major causes of the intellectual, spiritual, and pastoral conflict when dealing with homosexuality and related issues (“LGBT”)?


#2

What is your question?


#3

In thread title; and in last sentence.


#4

Chastity and homosexuality

[2357] 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,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142 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.

[2358] 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.

[2359] 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.

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm


#5

I think a lot of the problem is that pro-gay Christians are usually arguing from a secular viewpoint when trying to justify the acceptance of homosexual acts, whereas Christians who view homosexual acts as sinful are usually arguing from a theological standpoint, using the bible (and in the case of Catholicism, Tradition). There are essentially no theological arguments in favor of gay marriage in the bible so pro-gay Christians have to fall back on modern secular arguments to make their point (e.g., it’s not hurting anyone else, it’s not the government’s business, etc.). It’s very hard to dialogue with each other when you’re speaking two different languages.


#6

I agree with most of this.

However, I don’t even mean to go that far: secular vs. Christian. However, that is one way to look at it.

Instead, I’m talking about well-meaning Christians on both sides who are simply looking at homosexuality itself from two different angles: One side tends to focus on the acts themselves, the other tends to be more person-focused/relational sense.

This also means that one side thinks the best course of action is to promote chastity, while the other side thinks it’s best to find ways to consider other aspects of the person’s needs – like relationship, love, intimacy, community, etc — and not merely sexual activity.

Again, it goes back to whether you are thinking of homosexuality chiefly in terms of desire to have sex, or a more general and more encompassing direction of how one finds his/her desires to love, have relationship, etc. — or even what it means for a homosexual person when same-sex activity is off limits (e.g., how do you live in relationship? how do you have a self-giving life? etc.)


#7

I think you have already hindered fruitful conversation by choosing the terms “pro-LGBT” and “anti-LGBT”. It sets up an adversarial aspect to the discussion that need not be there.

The Catholic Christian viewpoint should be one of viewing everyone as created in God’s image first and foremost. That means we all start out at the same place.

We ALL have our crosses that we must bear and we ALL need God’s grace to do it.

From a Catholic Christian point of view, we are not defined by our crosses. Those crosses may have a major impact on our lives, but they are not the most important thing about us. The most important thing about us is that we are loved by God and made to love and worship him.

Love is not just a feeling. It is an action. It is the sacrificing of ourselves for another. We are, therefore, called to sacrifice our desire, our will, so that we might follow God’s will. In following his will, we will find true happiness and true joy.

Where does the church fit in? It helps us along the path to holiness. It meets us whereever we are and offers us sustenance and strength for the journey. It does this through the sacraments, through instruction in faith and morals, and through prayer.

The teachings of the church are sometimes hard just as the teaching of Christ are sometimes hard, but if we learn to unite our will with God’s will, if we let go and dwell in the presence of God and His loving embrace, we can begin to see the beauty of the plan He has laid out for us.

One foot in front of the other, bearing our cross and responding to grace. This is what the church teaches. It does not teach pro or anti LGBT.


#8

To answer your question OP, yes. We cannot really decide on how best to minister to people with SSA if we cannot agree on how much of a person and their lives their SSA should encompass. Let’s decide on that first.


#9

I think you have already hindered fruitful conversation by choosing the terms “pro-LGBT” and “anti-LGBT”. It sets up an adversarial aspect to the discussion that need not be there.

But most people know what this means (in the sense of the question I’m asking). Besides, object to the terms if you want, but I go on in the OP to describe what I’m meaning.

Wouldn’t you agree that most people of the former camp (as I have been describing them first) tend not to prefer “LGBT”? That’s part of why I put “anti-” in quotes in the thread, because this group would not really acknowledge the experiences of LGBT people in this framework.

But it is precisely the latter group (as I have been describing them second so far) that, because they look at homosexuality (for example) as MORE than just specific sexual acts, that they can say someone is “gay” in more than just a “active homosexual” way.

Hence the communication problem.

The former group wants “gay” to mean a person who seeks same-sex activity. The latter group wants “gay” to mean someone whose personal orientation means more than just tendency to sexual acts.

So you see, to go along with your criticism: Traditional Christians don’t favor “LGBT” or “gay” because it sounds like you’re saying God pre-programmed some people for disordered sexual activity, which is “intrinsically disordered” or morally evil. But this isn’t how the other camp necessarily frames the issue, because they are NOT merely focusing on same-sex sexual activity.


#10

As a Catholic Christian-----I LOVE all people but loving someone doesn’t mean I have to agree with everything they believe.

Disagreeing with someone doesn’t mean I hate them.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again------This is for ALL Catholics:

ALL single Catholics whether heterosexual or homosexual MUST remain chaste.

ALL married Catholics MUST remain chaste in their marriage and true to their marriage vows.

All Catholic Clergy, Consecrated Religious Brothers or Sisters MUST remain celibate (UNLESS they were previously married, not Catholic converted to Catholicism and became Priests after their Conversion to the Catholic Church—or Deacons who were previously married before they became deacons)


#11

I met a married Catholic priest but he had kids and was married before he converted. Was a priest in some other denomination.


#12

Huh? :thinking:


#13

I would say all are called to chastity and that everyone has legitimate needs for relationships that need to be filled in a healthy way. I experience SSA, and I’ve been practicing chastity and have found a loving Catholic community to be in. I’ve told a few people about it and have never been treated different because of it, we all struggle with something.


#14

I don’t think it’s a question of talking past each other. From the point of view of a Catholic, all homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. Now, we can spend time thinking about the lives of people with SSA, but that’s their baby to worry about. They can have lifelong companions, roommates, friends etc. Nobody’s stopping them from having normal relationships. We don’t need to spend time sorting out their lives or their identities when there are serious problems in the world like famine in Yemen, food shortages due to the dictatorship in Venezuela etc… All this LGBT stuff is just fodder for bored people in first world countries to munch on.


#15

“Pro” and “anti” is reductionist and forces one to make assertions like the quote above.

I think you’ll find that there are quite a few Catholics that hold the position of the catechism which states that we don’t know how people come to be same-sex attracted. What we do know is that same-sex sexual acts are contrary to the nature and purpose of sex ( i.e. objectively disordered).

It does not follow that affirmation of this teaching means that we “merely focus on same-sex sexual activity” as you suggest. Rather, I think you will find that many of us have empathy and understanding for our friends, family, and neighbors who struggle with this inclination. Additionally, we understand, as the church teaches, that the inclination itself is not a sin, and that people with these inclinations deserve the same love, respect, and compassion as anyone else. In fact, you will find that out of love (willing the best for another), we desire that people struggling to bear this cross would readjust their focus so that the cross will be easier to bear.

There is a saying that is very apt here: God knows our sins, but calls us by our name. The devil knows our name, but calls us by our sin.

It is secular society that suggests that, if you are same-sex attracted, your sexuality should be the defining factor about who you are. However, scripture, tradition, and the magisterium tell us the the defining factor about who we are is that we are made in God’s image and that we are loved by Him and made to love and worship him. If you define yourself this way, it puts you in a position to be able to (by God’s grace through the sacraments) willingly sacrifice your own will in order to say yes to God’s will. And, in saying yes, there is an opportunity to form meaningful bonds, and relationships, and opportunities to do the will of God that will lead one to feeling authentically fulfilled, and truly joyful.


#16

No.

I think it comes down to one thing. People who identify as “LGBT” want to live a certain way. Some of them want to do that with the blessing of the Church. Many gay people are happy to obey the Church’s commandments and try their best to do this. They are not the issue.

I mean there’s all this talk of the lack of “LGBT ministry” in the Church. but lets be real, any genuine ministry needs to come from the perspective that homosexual acts are wrong. You have people like James Martin going on about “reaching out” to LGBT people, but at the end of the day the issue isn’t the Church, it’s society’s widespread acceptance of homosexuality and gender theory. (And prettymuch any immoral action you can think of in the name of “choice”.


#17

In short people don’t want to hear the truth.


#18

And sexuality is also a defining factor for most straight people about who they are. I think that most people want to fall in love, maybe get married and even raise a family and sex and sexuality play an important part in all of that. Almost no one dreams of living a sexless existence for the rest of their life.


#19

And sometimes in life, you don’t get what you want. I would say that many, many people do not get what they want in this department. There are single people who never meet someone to marry. There are priests who must remain celibate for their whole lives. There are couples in which the husband is unable to perform. There are wives who cannot risk their health for another baby and who end up having to live celibately. And there are people with same-sex attractions who cannot marry or have children in the Catholic way.


#20

I can’t think of any instance where society suggested to me that the the defining factor about me was my status as a heterosexual.

Now, I can think of instances where society has tried to suggest to me that certain sinful behavior was required in order to meet and find a mate ie promiscuity. Or social pressure to date. Is that what you mean? If so, I wouldn’t put that in the same category as out and proud movements, etc.


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