Just so that everyone knows, the following postulation concerns an hypothetical marriage. A man is engaged to a woman, he finds himself sexually attracted to her and feels thus able to consummate what will soon become their marriage. But he has a dark secret: he has struggled with same-sex attraction his whole life. He has never completely acted out on it, has never perversely “courted” any man, much less ever committed the dreadful sin of Sodom. My question is, should he ever bother to reveal this to his fiancee? It seems that it would be rather awkward for him to reveal something, not to mention the distress it would cause his lady. Furthermore, if he does not reveal this secret, has he been engaging in deception, and thus developing grounds for nullity should he ever attempt marriage with this woman? I would greatly appreciate if someone here who is an expert in Canon Law to chime in on this matter, but everyone of course is welcome to the conversation. Okay, have at it.
Don’t mistake silence for deception. The man is trying to overcome a difficult and perpetual temptation, and he doesn’t need extra burden, nor the scorn society gives these people. Many gay or lesbian followers choose to become chaste rather than lie with a person they could never honestly be attracted to.
SSA is a dealbreaker for some people. For others, its something that can be worked out. If the hypothetical man doesn’t come clean before the wedding he could very well be entering into an invalid marriage. Full knowledge and consent are required to enter into a valid marriage and obviously the hypothetical female half of the couple cannot fully and freely consent to marriage with this man while being unaware of his true nature. Pretending to be heterosexual while actually being bisexual or homosexual is nothing short of fraud.
Fraud (Canon 1098)
You or your spouse was intentionally deceived about the presence or absence of a
quality in the other. The reason for this deception was to obtain consent to marriage.
FWIW, I don’t see SSA as a dark secret or anything a potential mate would necessarily need to be distressed by. SSA is fairly common among both sexes to some degree or another. Lots of bisexuals have good marriages.
My view is you can’t keep a lid on this forever. Some day it will come out. It may come out in behaviour, from the frustration of having a basic desire repressed for so long (e.g. addiction, alcoholism, nastiness), or eventually the person may fall to the temptation.
Often it’s in one’s fifties that this occurs. And it doesn’t matter how pious one is. Nor is it related to SSA alone but other disorders as well.
It doesn’t have to lead to sinful behaviour, but it’s something I think will have to be acknowledged, and a loving spouse will have to support the other in handling the temptation. Deep dark secrets can do really nasty things.
Being attracted to the same gender is not a disorder.
It is a disorder, I have it. It is deviant, dysfunctional, and distressing, which is the basis of one.
Having SSA, I would say one should absolutely tell ones fiancée. She’s going to be an intimate best friend and partner the rest of her life, she deserves to know and it would be incredibly helpful to the one she marries.
The latter is what’s tough, and tougher even if one has to keep it a dark secret and can’t even talk to anyone about it. A good Catholic-friendly therapist would be of help, but I do think a spouse will figure it out eventually, and years of hiding it can really shake a spouse’s trust if (s)he finds out about it after many years.
I would hope that someone who has a history of same-sex attraction would be getting some spiritual and psychological counseling before even becoming engaged.
And that kind of medical history is something a spouse is going to learn about. My rule is, if a potential spouse (or an actual spouse) is going to eventually learn about an unsettling issue, then then it should be divulged proactively.
I support what the pope says, in that it’s a trial, and a test in resisting temptation. I think Go- May intend lifelong celibacy for gay/lesbian people. Go- would never give people something more than they could handle. Monks and nuns achieve lifelong chadtity, im going to assume it’s possible for the layperson too.
However, as a man of science and reason as well, I don’t believe the condition to be a disorder, but more a biological pheonomenon. Homosexual behavior isn’t just displayed in humans, but in about 1500 species of animals, including our closest relatives, the primates.
The desire for same sex isn’t sinful in and of itself, but said by many the act itself is. I pray for the families that disown their children because of this.
For me, it would majorly depend on whether or not the spouse can be truly affectionate towards the other one. Catholicism is not a gnostic religion; it does not consider matter & physicality to be irrelevant or, worse yet, a bad thing. What you do with your soul affects your body and what you do with your body affects your soul. It is objectively harmful for two spouses in an ordinary spousal relationship not to be sexually attracted with one another. The gift of bodily union is a reflection of the gift of the mystical communion among the whole Church, as well as an individual’s union & participation with the life of the Trinity. It may be a problem that a spouse is attracted to the same sex, but if they are also attracted to their spouse, then theoretically it doesn’t present any greater challenge than the common challenge of any spouse honoring their fidelity. It might even be less of a challenge in this respect, since adultery with the opposite sex is more accessible than adultery with homosexual intentions (although these days that might not be true).
If the person is struggling with having any physical attraction, then it’s a much bigger problem. If this was concealed it would be a grounds for an invalid marriage. A radically homosexual person can enter into a valid marriage, consummate the marriage, bear children, love their children, grow old and die having lived a virtuous life. There is nothing about being homosexual that makes any of this impossible, especially in a time and place where the culture isn’t hypersexualized. That doesn’t mean it is necessarily the ideal vocation though.
Unfortunately, because of the present flood of infidelity, fornication, pornography, etc., secular liberal culture (not the Church) has made SSA unnecessarily harder to bear than what it ought to be.
There are also many drugs and chemicals doctors can prescribe out there that would assist gay or lesbians that want to turn their life over to The Lord. It’s in effect, a a chemical, non amputative castration, rendering the sinful desires non existent. If your brain isn’t receiving the sex hormones, then you don’t want it and can be free. These are drugs that some municipalities force convicted pedophiles and rapists to take. What greater show of faith, other than dying in his namesake, than voluntarily giving up one of the life’s greatest temptations. If you don’t want the aid of medicine, there are numerous chastity devices out there you can employ, then you could surrender the key to a father or pastor (whatever your denomination), but you would still have to bat away the sinful thoughts in your heart.
Please stay on topic. Thank you all.
Well, if this man is sexually attracted to the woman he is to marry, it really isn’t that big of a deal if he experiences attraction to other men. Honestly, I don’t know whether he really needs to tell his wife-to-be, but if he did, and she wasn’t able to deal with it despite the fact that he is sexually attracted to her, then she may not really love him in the first place. Just a guess, I really don’t know.
I could see myself being in this situation. I am definitely attracted to other men, but I am also sexually attracted to women, so I’m trying to think what I would do. I could see myself telling her, because if she really loved me, she could definitely be a source of support for me. I suppose when I really think about this, there shouldn’t be a problem with the man telling his fiancee that he is sexually attracted to other men. After all, we all have our own disordered desires. That being said, if being sexually attracted to other men is weighing on him, and it really bothers him, he should be seeking the help of a good Catholic counselor and/or psychologist. Or even a priest. If this is the case, then he shouldn’t be going into marriage without it being at least somewhat worked out.