Our attitude towards our proclivity to sin


#1

Hello:

I’ve heard it said many times, when discussing homosexuality, that possessing the homosexual proclivity (orientation) is not sinful. It is only when a homosexual acts on that proclivity that a sin is committed.

Theologically, I agree with this statement. However, I think that such statements are problematic, in that they tend to promote an indifferent attitude towards our sinful proclivities.

Jesus said that even our sinful thoughts need to be controlled, not just our actions: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Now, I think Jesus is warning against illicit fantasizing in this passage. However, it does somewhat suggest that our proclivity to sin is something we should be ashamed of. In other words, it makes no sense for a person to say, “I will never commit adultery, but I support and affirm this adulterous proclivity (orientation) that I was born with.”

If you are truly a repentant sinner, you will not only hate your sin but also your proclivity to sin. If I am gambler, I must not only hate the sin of gambling, but also the desire to gamble that is in me. I must do everything I can to suppress it and overcome it.

It’s the same with homosexuality, in my opinion. Possessing the orientation may not be sinful. Nevertheless, the orientation itself (just like any other orientation to sin) is something that must be rejected by all who possess it. It is something that a homosexual should keep private, and should be ashamed of, in my opinion. When I say “ashamed”, I do not mean “despair” or “self-hatred”. I mean that it is something that a homosexual should not want anyone, except their confessor or spiritual director, to know about.

Do you agree with this?


#2

kind of. but i’m not sure any non practicing homosexuals are making any statements about their proclivity, any more than i am making statements about my sinful proclivities.


#3

Gambling - or perhaps say alcoholism - is a fair example, but there are many people who struggle with such addictions who want people to know, so they can help them. An alcoholic may want people to know so they don’t invite them to meet in licenced premises, offer them a drink, gift them a bottle of alcohol, etc. They may hate their addiction, but want to share it.

Be careful in your use of the word shame. No, we need not feel any shame in anything except our actual sins.

I do tend to think it is wrong for a fairthful Catholic to identify themselves as “gay”, as if their same sex attraction is important to their sense of self, but if they wish to share with certain people that they struggle with same sex attraction, that’s a different matter.


#4

Indeed, propensity for sin is probably exactly what we go to Purgatory for.

If one has earned Purgatory, their sins are already forgiven; but the propensity to them remains part of the psyche, and must be purged before life everlasting can be fully enjoyed, ISTM.

ICXC NIKA.


#5

Very few gay people consider homosexuality to be an orientation directed at certain acts (anymore than heterosexuality is an attraction to coitus!). Thus, they would not say that it is an orientation focused on sin.

They might say it is an orientation toward non-sin, which has a characteristic temptation attached to it. Similarly, being passionate is not a sin, but passionate people are easily tempted to the sin of wrath.

I’m not so much defending this interpretation as describing it. It’s the best response I’ve seen to what you’re suggesting.


#6

If by propensity to sin, we are talking about concupiscence and our fallen nature, no, we do not go to purgatory for these things. This would include any same sex attraction not acted on.

If you mean actual sins that we have allowed to become habitual, then yes purgatory would probably be needed.


#7

Absolutely disagree for a very simple reason:

All the Gay people I know do not consider who they love, who they fall in love with, or
acting upon that love a sin. Therein lies the dilemma. Who are we to judge indeed. If everyone could for just a split second, put themselves in the other’s shoes and live and let live so to speak, this world would be a much better place.

Just because a certain religion, ANY religion, considers something to be sinful does not in fact make it 100% true, perhaps it is their truth, but we must be willing to acknowledge, respect and tolerate those who do not share that truth. It’s that simple.

We should I think, celebrate what we all know in our hearts to be true, such as “be kind/love your neighbor/love your enemy/help those in need/whatsoever you do to the least of my people” This positive “zen” attitude is what drew me to Buddhism and its elements in the first place. Respect one another, cooperate, and coexist with each other while striving for peace, harmony and love with all our brothers and sisters.


#8

Explain. :ehh:


#9

the Truth became man and walked among us. His is the example we should follow, not budda’s.


#10

That’s the great thing about the first amendment.

Now to explain more to Prodigal about “Truth”:

I do notice a very intense and heavy discussion here regarding sexual orientation and also masturbation, which is why I joined in the first place to comment.

As I said before, as a Doctor, the overwhelming consensus among medical professionals is that masturbation is completely normal, healthy and a part of growing up. This is the “Truth” we give when asked by a patient or anyone that cares to hear our opinion or advice.

So as far as an attitude towards proclivity to sin, the simple answer is a large and growing number of people and societies in general do not consider using birth control or masturbation, to name 2 prominent examples, sinning at all, thus their attitude, while seen as cavalier and defiant perhaps to those with the opposite view, is in fact the exact opposite - that being a positive, guilt free attitude about their actions which they define as not hurting anyone else.


#11

What does it mean to “define something” as not hurting anybody else? Does that mean it genuinely doesn’t hurt other people? Why do you put “truth” in quotation marks?

Can people define their own truths?


#12

perhaps you would think more about who you are hurting, if you read gloria polo ortiz’ near death experience.


#13

Hello GEddie:

The fact that our propensity to sin needs to be purged from us before we can enter heaven only further supports my argument that nobody should look upon their propensity to sin (aka their desire to commit adultery, sodomy, fornication etc.) as something that is “good” because “it is a part of me” or because “I was born this way.” Our desire to sin, just like the sin itself, is evil, in my humble opinion.

Both the propensity to commit sin (the desire to do them) and the sin itself can be overcome in this life, in my opinion For example, it is possible for an alcoholic to overcome not just the action of taking a drink but also the desire itself, if he removes himself from the sin for a long enough period of time.

In any case, my post was more about what our attitude should be towards these proclivities in this life, not what will happen to them in purgatory. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think you’re trying to suggest that because we all have a propensity to sin, me singling out the gay propensity is wrong.

But my larger point is that those Christians who have this propensity to fornicate with someone of the same sex must look upon it with disdain - in much the same way a husband should look upon his desire to commit adultery with another woman, who is tempting him, with disdain. Jesus said in the Our Father, “lead me not into temptation”.

Kleptomaniacs are born with a desire to steal, and pyromaniacs are born with a desire to burn down buildings. If I was born with either of those sinful proclivities, then I would never want anyone to know about it, except, perhaps, my priest and my psychiatrist.

Both sin, and the desire (orientation) to do them, are evil. We should desire to see both of them, if possible, purged from our being. To say that my orientation to sin is somehow acceptable, because I avoid doing the sin itself, is a form of self-deception, in my opinion.


#14

i hate my desire to sin, yet, i still desire to sin. does that make any sense? i heard father marty say that we need purgatory to be rid of these desires, before we can enter heaven, unless we can rid ourselves of them here on earth.


#15

Hmmm…this is a good argument but I don’t think it’s correct.

To say that the heterosexual orientation is the same as the homosexual orientation is like saying that the natural desire to eat food is the same as the desire to commit gluttony. The former is a normal desire, the latter is a desire to do a sin.

The heterosexual desire to have sex with a woman is not a sinful desire. But the desire or “orientation” to commit fornication - to have sex with a woman who is not your wife - *** is ***a sinful desire. The homosexual desire to have sex with a person of the same gender is also a sinful desire. And our attitude towards all our sinful desires - not just the sin itself - should be one of condemnation, avoidance, privacy and destruction, in my humble opinion.


#16

"In any case, my post was more about what our attitude should be towards these proclivities in this life, not what will happen to them in purgatory. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think you’re trying to suggest that because we all have a propensity to sin, me singling out the gay propensity is wrong. "

No, I do not say that, nor am I particularly concerned about Purgatory, except that if our propensities for sin may lead us there all the more reason to fight them now!

Indeed, because kleptomania and pyromania do not generate much popular sympathy, but gayness does; IMNAAHO all the more reason to argue against it.

ICXC NIKA


#17

The same argument could be made to justify adultery (“I love both these women…”) or incest (“I love my daughter…”)

Forget about “Who are WE to judge?”. The question you should be asking is “Who is GOD to judge?”, because He’s the one who originally said this stuff is wrong.


#18

You’re not understanding what I was saying, I think. I’m not saying that homosexuality is like heterosexuality. I’m saying that neither homosexuality nor heterosexuality are an attraction toward sex acts – they are both attractions toward people. My attraction toward Benedict Cumberbatch is not an attraction toward sex with Benedict Cumberbatch – and to claim otherwise strikes me as utterly bizarre.

The difference is this: whereas my attraction toward my wife has a virtuous sexual manifestation, my attraction toward Cumberbatch could only be sexually enacted through mortal sin.

The homosexual desire to have sex with a person of the same gender is also a sinful desire. And our attitude towards all our sinful desires - not just the sin itself - should be one of condemnation, avoidance, privacy and destruction, in my humble opinion.

I agree with this, so long as by “sinful desire”, you mean a “desire for sin”, not a desire that it is sinful to have. (The word “desire” blurs the line between temptation and lust – that’s all I’m trying to clarify. Lust is always sin, obviously).


#19

The bolded, yes, and you will find many posts on various threads which say much the same thing. But I warn you, there is soon to be an explosion because it is an ongoing issue of gays on this forum that others *must know they are gay. Do a search on “TMI” (too much information) and you’ll see exactly what *I mean. Despite the fact that the Church says we must respect and love the human person based upon their image of God, that it is actually diminishing and degrading to see them only in light of their sexual orientation, they, nevertheless, insist that we know. I suspect I know the reason why, and that it is two-fold, but I hesitate to assign my speculations to another unless the subject takes a turn in that direction. I think I understand what you are saying, but please correct me if I’m wrong. I am not proud of my particular sins and weaknesses. I struggle with them everyday and pray for a greater grace. In no way do I believe that another person, outside of family and those you mention need know such personal things about my predispositions.

In the ministry of healing and sharing, those who want to help others know that privacy must be respected and that every little bit of info that is given is a precious gift that needs to be honored. This personal sharing is an actual part of themselves and it takes risk and a great trust in order to share - unlike many homosexuals who do not keep their privacy, but are almost anxious that others know just who they are. I sometimes feel when information like this is forced upon me, it is a violation of sorts and a challenge to me just to see how I will react. I often suspect hidden motivations and compulsions.

No matter the area of my proclivity to sin, it is no one’s business unless I ask for their advice; indeed, sometimes in honoring all that is decent and God-fearing - when it is a matter of the soul, it should be contained between that soul and God and a wise spiritual director, not announced to the world.


#20

Well, excuse me for sounding like a know-it-all or something, but don’t people (most faithful Catholics at least) already know that we should hate our sinful desires? Are people really claiming that SSA is something “desirable” and not to be hated? OK, I guess I can answer my own question…now that I think of it I suppose some people who have come to terms with the fact that they have SSA “celebrate” it as part of their identity. And in that case, well, I don’t think they should do that. I think that one with SSA should accept it as a cross to bear and should willingly bear that cross.

However, I’m not sure I fully agree with your idea that one should never share one’s struggles with anyone but a priest/confessor/spiritual director. I think personal testimony can be very, very instrumental in relating to others, and in the case of homosexuality, I think it can be very useful to relate to those who have lived a life of homosexuality and think that the homosexual life is the only option. In terms of “coming out of the closet”, I have probably only cracked open the door just to stick a foot out of the closet (have only told two people, both priests, and have mentioned it a few times in these forums), and I intend to keep it that way. But I think others are legitimately inspired to reach out to individuals who have experienced the same struggles, and personally I am inspired by and admire those who have shared their experiences publicly. Going back to sharing personal struggles in general, I think it is a mistake to only speak of sin/proclivity to sin in the abstract to 99.9% of the people you meet. I don’t think one should go around to every single person they meet and have an intimate conversation about their struggles (that would be a little creepy and maybe awkward), but I do think people these days should be more vulnerable to others. That is, keeping each other accountable, sharing personal experiences, etc. These types of things can go such a long way and I think are an important part of the human experience. I mean, it is obviously always good to go speak to a good, holy priest, but that need not be the only option. In my opinion at least. I hope I made some sense. Haha.


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