People with same sex attractions and companionship


#1

Hello!

I have been struggling with an idea that I have encountered among some Catholic friends and I honestly don’t know what I think about it. I have reached my own conclusion for now, but it is subject to change depending on what I find out about what the Church teaches about this exactly. I’m still being formed, so I don’t profess that I know everything about what the Church teaches. I’ll present what conclusion I have reached so far. Tell me what you think and if this would be in agreement with Church teaching. I have encountered so many different responses from people.

This idea that I came across states that if a Catholic person with same sex attractions finds another Catholic person with same sex attractions that they find themselves connecting with on a deep spiritual level, then it is okay for them to live together as a couple as long as they never have sexual relations. They can each help bear the other’s cross and support each other since they both deal with the same objective disorder (as the Church refers to when talking about same sex attractions…I think)?

From what the church teaches, I have learned that people with same sex attractions are called to a life of celibacy and chastity as are all of us who remain single. Celibacy meaning that you never get married and chastity meaning you never have sexual relations with anyone (are those the correct definitions)? There are four different vocations and I believe that single is one of them. I interpret single to mean what it says. It means not involved in any romantic relationship. Romantic as in the “I want to marry you” sort of thing. A person is totally devoted to Christ and his Church.

When this was being described to me, the term “couple” was used. I have a problem with that term. I interpret that to mean a romantic “dating” relationship which leads to the vocation of marriage. I always thought that people of the same sex cannot date because that is a prerequisite for the vocation of marriage. So, there is no such thing as same sex dating just like there is no such thing as same sex marriage because dating leads to marriage. Does that make sense?

The Catechism describes that people with same sex attractions can find support from “disinterested friendship” and I think that’s where this idea I’ve encountered is coming from. What does the Church mean by “disinterested”? I interpret “disinterested” to mean non-sexual and purely platonic. So, if a Catholic person with same sex attractions found another Catholic person with same sex attractions and had a deep spiritual friendship with them and it was completely non-sexual (no lustful thoughts/sexual relations/physical expressions that lead to sex like making out), then I think they could live together as long as they were absolutely certain that they were not interested in each other sexually. They would also probably have to get permission from someone. I honestly think this could only be accomplished in extraordinary circumstances.

Where my confusion begins is that this could also be applied to a man and a woman with opposite sex attractions. Would it be okay for them to live together then if it was platonic and a deep spiritual relationship?

Does this make sense? Does the church say anything specifically about these types of situations?

I’m so confused.

I hope I do not sound hateful or not understanding towards people with SSA.

Thanks! :slight_smile:


#2

You do not sound hateful or misunderstanding at all. I believe the Church would say such an arrangement could lead to temptation or promote scandal (bad example) to others.
What does everyone else think?


#3

Catechism:

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.

scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s2c2a6.htm#IV

Friendships are always important for all persons.

Disinterested friendships -not relationships of a romantic nature (and avoiding near occasions of such…)…not “couples” or ‘dating’…

Nor would I suggest “sharing a living place” (near occasions…scandal…etc)


#4

Sharing a living space would be an example of scandal. It would be similar to a man sharing a living space with a woman who he is not related to.

Peace,
Ed


#5

So I take it then that an individual that has SSA should only live alone?*

(I take it that living with family would be acceptable, though in the West, it is highly unlikely that such a situation would come to pass for adults.)


#6

Just a clarification.
Chastity either excludes or moderates the indulgence of the sexual appetite.
Celibate refrains from sex in order to have a higher degree of chastity.

Married couples still practice chastity when the marital act is with love, open to life, etc.

Although some unmarried people could live together chastely, as has already been mentioned it could cause scandal to others so it should be avoided. More importantly, most likely they are living in an occasion of sin, which means they are willingly putting a temptation in front of them every day. How can we honestly ask God in the Lord’s Prayer to “lead us not into temptation”, when we intentionally put ourselves in a situation that leads to temptation. These living arrangements really should be avoided if at all possible and if unavoidable, should be changed as soon as possible. This applies to heterosexual and homosexual alike.

Most likely a strictly homosexual could live with a strictly heterosexual (or some other combination) without any problems, but it’s all kind of a case by case basis. As long as there is no temptation for all parties involved and they should have input from their priest or spiritual director etc…


#7

I don’t think a Christian person with SSA has to live alone. I think that if they find another Christian friend with SSA or OSA who understands their situation and who they connect with on a deep spiritual level, then they can live together platonically and there is no scandal since it is platonic. But, I’m still not fully understanding what the Church defines as scandal.

I start to get hesitant when they are self described as a “couple” or are living together in the romantic sense. They may not be having sex, but if they are attracted to each other in a “I would marry you if I could” sort of way then that might be a problem.

Like I said, though, I’m still trying to figure out what I believe about it and I may be wrong. :shrug:


#8

This helped. Thank you. :thumbsup:


#9

Two persons who are with SSA - can be a source of temptation and near occasion of sin for each other -and a source sf scandal (especially today! – when if they are known to have SSA it will be presumed they are a couple).


#10

That assumption is false which leads to a false conclusion.

Little has been said about it.

[quote=St. Josemaria Escriva]As long as the opinion you expressed was orthodox there is no reason to be upset, even though the malice of whoever heard you caused him to be scandalized. For his scandal is pharisaical.
[/quote]


#11

Yes and he would agree I think with what I noted above. Just read his works.

Scandal in such cases would be authentic scandal not pharisaical.


#12

Such was indeed the correct conclusion.

Dating and being a “couple” is for persons of opposite gender.

As is marriage and becoming parents.


#13

That assumption is false which leads to a false conclusion.

Could you please elaborate? How is it a false assumption to say that dating leads to the vocation of marriage? To me, dating before the vocation of marriage would be the same as whatever preparations occur before the vocation of the priesthood. It wouldn’t make sense for a woman to go through the same preparations as a man would because women can’t be priests. In a similar way, it wouldn’t make sense for two men or two women to date or see one another romantically because they can’t get married. But, I DO believe that two people with SSA can have a close, platonic friendship and support one another since they both have SSA and know what it’s like.

I hope I’m making sense and not being confusing.


#14

Such was indeed the correct conclusion.

Dating and being a “couple” is for persons of opposite gender.

As is marriage and becoming parents.


#15

The lay understanding of scandal is far broader than the actual theological definition of it.

When did people being scandalized because of specious assumptions become authentic assumptions?

It’s perfectly possible for them to use the term couple with a definition that predates Shakespeare to refer to themselves in a way relatively close to how it is used today.

I was referring to couple therefore dating logic although my hasty post did not convey that. Also dating doesn’t necessarily lead to or towards marriage, that’d be courtship. Also men used to go on things similar to that which we refer to as dates until less than a century ago.

Being a couple is for person of opposite gender because being a couple is for person of opposite gender therefore being a couple is for person of opposite gender and not for person of same gender.
A+ logic.


#16

Why scandal? Are you assuming that other people know these two people have SSA? :confused:

Why would you assume that?


#17

THIS is the confusion.

People often think that a gay man deals with other men like straight men deal with women. But that is false. There is a real and basic need for same-sex friendship, built into our natures as men. This is true of straight men no less than gay men. A man without close male friends is a very poor man.

In contrast, a man doesn’t really need close female friends. (And a woman doesn’t really need close male friends).

A man who lives with other men has the opportunity to meet his need for friendship. Living together is not necessary for such a thing, of course, but it might be helpful.

Here’s a principle though: if an gay man is *looking *for another gay man to live with, that is a problem. The need for friendship is not sexual, so it shouldn’t matter to us whether our friends are attracted to other men. If an gay man is happy enough living with a straight man – or 5 straight men – but the opportunity doesn’t present itself, then (with pastoral counsel) I don’t see a problem with him prayerfully deciding to live with another gay man.


#18

I see what you are saying and it makes sense. I major in English Literature, so I know that modern society’s understanding of terms like “couple”, “romantic”, “friendship”, etc. have changed dramatically. Men and women did have wonderful non-sexual relationships with each other back in the day and it was considered normal for a man or woman to share a close bond with a person of the same sex. If a person didn’t have a close bond with a person of the same sex, he or she probably would have been considered odd because these bonds were thought of as another healthy pre-req before marriage. Some of these people did live together and it was completely non-sexual and there was no temptation whatsoever because society wasn’t yelling at them to have sex constantly. So, within that context, two people of the same sex with SSA probably could have lived together and faced little to no temptation.

Unfortunately, this context no longer exists because society thinks of sex and same sex relationships differently. Sex is no longer thought of as procreative, but solely about bonding and gaining greater intimacy (which obviously isn’t the only part of sex according to the Church). So, two people who live together with SSA are often assumed to be having sex. I’m not saying that it’s okay for people to make these assumptions, but it would also be unwise for two people with SSA to lead people to believe these assumptions by using out of date terms to describe their relationship.

Christians also need to be careful because they don’t want other Christians to assume that anyone with SSA can live with a same sex friend who also has SSA. As someone said earlier, they need to ask permission from their spiritual director or talk to their priest (case by case basis and what not). Within the context of today, it would be hard for two people with SSA to live together when society is making false assumptions and telling everyone to have sex. It might be a big temptation.

I wish I could say that people should just get over it and stop assuming that sex MUST be happening. But until our society becomes less sex obsessed (which seems unlikely) it’s best to avoid terms like “romantic”, “couple”, etc. and just describe wonderful, deep, loving, platonic relationships between two people of the same sex as a “friendship” when talking to other people who won’t understand.

My generation, Millennials, are not well versed in Shakespearean vocabulary unfortunately. :frowning:

I hope this wasn’t a big and confusing mess to read.


#19

Yes, yes! This makes sense. Thank you for clarifying! :thumbsup:


#20

What I noted stands. Have a splendid day.


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