I’ve recently found out that one my favorite family members is a lesbian, has a girlfriend etc. Her mother and sisters are very devout Catholics and until now I had understood her to be as well. She’s a wonderful kind, conscientious human being and I don’t want to alienate her. My kids love her. How do I continue to love her for the beautiful human she is without accepting what she’s doing? Do I say I love you, but disagree with what you’re doing? Go along to get along and pray my hardest that she decides to live a chaste lifestyle? I just can’t wrap my head around how I keep this person in my life but teach my kids that what she’s doing is wrong. I’m afraid saying nothing is a kind of acceptance of it. What about if she brings the girlfriend to family functions?
To admonish the sinner means to warn them in case they do not already know that what they are doing is wrong. Given the information you provided above regarding this person’s background and family, I highly doubt she is not aware that what she is doing is against Church teaching. I also doubt no one else in your family hasn’t already reminded her that what she is doing is illicit.
With that being said, you do not need to say anything else to her concerning her lifestyle. From here on out, your job is to love, not judge. This person’s sexual preferences and what she does behind the closed door of her bedroom is none of your business at this point. Continue to treat her and love her as you always have, and don’t focus so much on her sexuality.
If she starts talking about her girlfriend, simply leave the room or change the subject. If she directly asks you how you feel about her lifestyle, tell her that you agree with Church teaching that such behavior is immoral and that you can’t support it. But otherwise, keep your mouth shut.
If your children are still under the age of 13, there is no need to tell them that this person is gay. If her girlfriend is at a family function, simply introduce her as a friend. I highly doubt a young child would think twice about it. If your kids are in their teens, I think it would be an appropriate time to tell them the truth about this person and educate them on Church teaching. Tell them we must love her just like anyone else, because she is a sinner like the rest of us. No more, no less.
Definitely pray for her though.
I think most of us have family members who do things we don’t agree with or that seriously violate Christian morality. Adultery, cohabitation, divorce and remarriage, fornication, etc. And that’s just one person.
As it’s not your immediate family member (parent, sibling, child), and you indicate that her mother and sisters are devout Catholics, I would say they have more of a responsibility to call her out than you do.
Depending upon your relationship with her and her understanding of Church teaching, she may already know how you feel. There’s no need to remind her every single time you see her. But you don’t need to show approval for her behavior either.
(Also I agree with your other remarks.)
Thanks guys, I guess I hadn’t considered that she’s probably well aware of how I would feel about it as we were all raised the same way. It just seems like everyone these days has to be either yay-or-nay-line-in-the-sand on the issue I was afraid my relative silence on the matter would be seen as acceptance.
This is anecdotal at best, and I do not know many gay people let alone gay Catholics, but of the gay Catholics I do know, they all think that their lifestyle is good and correct, and that Catholic belief and teaching merely has to catch up with them. It’s a form of moral relativism.
There is not much one can do to change this mindset other than pray.
Anyway, how to love the sinner and not the sin was the question. I think if the person is not doing any “in your face” stuff like making out with her girlfriend in front of everyone, or pushing gay political issues, you simply treat her with the same love as any other relative who has a friend with them. You especially draw the line if she openly promotes her lifestyle to your kids. Now if you are invited to her house, and she believes she can do as she pleases regardless of who is visiting, simply don’t go.
This dilemma is part of what is watering down Catholicism. People are beginning to compromise their values in order to maintain “normal” relationships with relatives.
Theres one way - start praying daily for that person.
I pretty much agree with this advice. Unless she has directly told you, you don’t really know what she is doing. You can simply take the position that you assume she is being chaste. If she asks you about it, assure her that your position is that of Catholic Church.