He came out to me in an email. I’ve known him for years, long enough that I can’t remember when we first met, and we were recently emailing back and forth about our lives, our futures-the kind of stuff separated friends discuss. Along the way he mentioned, in an aside, that he had some - lingering troubles he had to work his way through. My reply asked for an explanation-and that’s when he told me.(1)
It is a sad fact of the preeminent fashion in apologetical circles today that some Christians are willing to ignore not only sound science, but Tradition and Sacred Scripture in their destructive support of those sad individuals who have addled themselves with same-sex desires. The obsequious flattery using such buzzwords as “courageous” and “brave” abounds in reference to those who embrace an ethic of sexual suppression, imagining this to be a virtue. The article linked to here is yet another example of this twisted fawning some are wont to lavish on those with same-sex attraction, apparently ignorant of the reinforcing effect it has on the pathology.
In the article, writer Ryan T. Anderson relates the story of an individual he refers to as “Chris.” Chris, it seems, experiences same-sex attractions to the point that they have found a target in an old friend from high school. Chris claims never to have acted on these desires but that he is nevertheless beset by “fantasies and lusts he didn’t want.” (2) Anderson makes a point of Chris “[crying] daily for the first two years of his same-sex attractions,” (3) in a naked attempt to arouse in the reader the misguided sympathy that he himself has fallen victim to. At this point Anderson condemns, among other things, ”the lack of support the Church provides,” and laments the tragedy of his friend having to endure his struggle in solitude. (4)
Anderson ought to be reminded that “homosexuals may seek or provoke situations in which they can experience themselves as tragic heroes.” (5) Encouraging this sort of behavior by acknowledging it in an article awash in tear-jerking depictions of its subject does nothing to aid that subject’s progression along his “unique path to holiness” (6) but rather enables and may do far more to hinder it.
Then there is the twisting of the chastity that Anderson engages in as a way of constructing a platform upon which to praise his friend. For the orthodox, “chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being.” (7) One cannot integrate a sexuality perverted against its design into the unity of man anymore than one can incorporate blasphemy into the mass. Further, by linking chastity with his friend’s decision merely to suppress the sexuality Anderson encourages a sort of unrealism about the nature of the sexual drive. Indeed,
. . . one of the most dangerous forms of this unrealism is to think that one can live without sexuality. This is the old heresy of manicheism or albigensianism which long ago led to terrible sexual excesses on the part of those who sought to be absolutely pure. These misguided heretics are a reminder that one of the most dangerous sexual unrealisms is the pretense that humans can be angels. (8)
Further, in contemplating his friend’s claims not to have indulged his sick sexual appetite, Anderson ought to bear in mind the inherent attraction to dishonesty that lies at the heart of same-sex attraction. “[T]he homosexual who wants to overcome his seeking homosexual contacts [lies] to his therapist and to himself.” (9) This grim reality of the nature of same-sex attraction merits a healthy dose of skepticism from the orthodox.
This pathetic individual that Anderson introduces us to needs to be told to grow up and to stop fixating on his own imagined trials. He must come to realize that telling anyone about crying every day for extended periods of time is nothing more than a way to garner sympathy for himself. He should have been told to stop blubbering like an infant and become the man God created him to be: the man whose appetites conform to the design of his body; the man who bears his difficulties in silence with the virtue of patience; the man who will accept the grace of God so that his errant attractions cease.
(1) Anderson, Ryan T. “Struggling Alone.” First Things. Feb. 2007. First Things. Available online at: firstthings.com/article.php3?id_article=5413
(5) Aardweg, Gerard van den. The Battle for Normality: A Guide for (Self-) Therapy for Homosexuality. San Francisco, CA: Ignatius, 1997. p. 65.
(7) Catechism of the Catholic Church. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1993. ¶ 2337. Available online at:
(8) Groeschel, Benedict J. The Courage to be Chaste. Mawah: Paulist Press, 1985. p. 35.
(9) Aardweg, Gerard van den. p. 59.