Check out what the catechism says marriage is, and use that as a starting point. All of Catholic sexual morality originates in the nature of marriage and the unitive and procreative dimensions of the marital act.
For addressing any SSA people who may be in attendance (and it is safe to assume there is at least a few people)
A good source for you to read would be Washed and Waiting by Wesley Hill. He is Anglican but his experiences are relatively universal for SSA Christians. A big point that needs to be driven home that is to let SSA Christians know that they are not alone, the struggle does not make them less of a Christian, we know that they did not choose to have this cross.
It would also help to address the issue with Christian and secular culture almost idolizing marriage while pretty much ignoring all celibate vocations and devaluing friendship.
A large portion of LGBT know the church is against SSM. However, many do not understand the distinction between the acts and the inclination. Many don’t really feel like they are even welcome within the church.
For a person to decide to live within accordance of Church teaching which may include a celibate life, they need to see that path as sustainable and possible. Many of them have not had good interactions with Christians so are generally resistant to even interacting with them (or sadly hostile/defensive towards them).
For general biblical views and Catholic Sexual Morality:
For general biblical views, work from theology of the body to explain Catholic sexual morality which would include things why contraceptions are also considered amoral. Also maybe include why divorce/remarrige (without anullment) is considered sinful. Try not to separate heterosexual sin issues from homosexual sin issues. In both cases there are ways in which one can fall short of God’s path for them (too often the perception is that heterosexual sins are viewed as less bad and more or less given a free pass while homosexual ones are focused on).
Calling it “SSA”," or “same sex attraction,” is inevitably going to confuse a lot of people and you will inevitably have to explain what you mean. The Catechism is very clear on what it’s called - homosexuality:
2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm
If you want to talk about “SSA”, then that’s an entirely different matter because everyone with “SSA” denies they’re homosexual, and they wouldn’t understand what you’re talking about since “SSA” – a term that still hasn’t caught on to the general population – isn’t in the Catechism.
“SSA” people, or homosexuals? Because “SSA people” deny they’re homosexual, that’s going to confuse a lot of people: e.g., “But I’m gay – I don’t have SSA,” that sort of thing. Guaranteed to confuse a lot of people.
You have one issue here. Most secular people use homosexuality to refer to the state of being attracted to others of the same sex (and not the actual sexual acts). So, if you are going to use that, you have to be aware of that difference. So if you would say Church teaching is that homosexuality is a sin (meaning that same sex sexual acts are sinful) others are going to hear and interpret to mean that having same sex attraction is sinful which is not Church teaching.
Irregardless of what language the Catechism uses (to be clear the speaking about the language and not the message), it is important that the general public does not have the same language or understanding of that language so further explanation or synonym terms are needed. Just like there is a need to explain “intrinsically disordered” and other related terms mean. So I find it easier to talk about same sex sexual acts (lustful thoughts or physical actions) and same sex attraction is easier since homosexuality itself has multiple definitions (plus avoiding labels here hopefully to prevent any connotation for people who take umbrage with certain words).
The issue for gay is that some people view it as having a particular connotation meaning the individual has a particular worldview (i.e. same sex sexual acts are okay and they themselves are sexually active). So for certain people, regardless of the message hearing the term ‘gay’ is basically a political term for them and will shut them down from hearing the rest of the message. Additionally, there are certain homosexual people, who for very reasons, reject the term gay (so I was trying to be respectful of that). Also, I generally use SSA on this forum simply because I don’t desire have to explain what I mean 1000 times if I use the term gay.
To me, SSA is shorthand for a person who experiences sexual attraction to others of the same sex while gay would refer to experience that attraction with no or little attraction to the opposite sex. For me, SSA and gay are interchangeable but in a 101 talk like this I would probably suggest avoiding both terms since both have baggage to them (or use both terms and mention how some prefer one over the other and not have a discussion about labels since that isn’t really conducive to a 101 talk).
Every person can have has Same Sex Attraction to some degree due to original sin. Some more than others.
People should live chaste lives despite SSA, its not impossible like the world will say.
I would talk about the evil of the Homosexual agenda that is infiltrating our society and normalizing it. They even want to teach it in the schools as something normal. They want to teach it in the history books. Beware of politicians that support this.
Same sex attraction IS disordered. That doesnt mean the people are disordered unless they give in to the SSA/acts.
People with strong Same Sex attraction should not be unjustly discriminated against. People with SSA want to fit in with the rest of society. Verbal or physical abuse to someone with SSA is what I think the Catechism is talking about. This does not mean that we are not to speak the truth! Calling sodomy sodomy as in Holy Scripture is not discrimination.
The evil of Pornography and SSA are linked.
Same Sex Acts are grave matter and mortally sinful if done with full knowledge and full consent.
Same Sex Acts are not natural. God designed the body a certain way.
The promotion of SSA if continued can and will destroy the society. As with contraception & abortion, homosexuality will lower the birth rate and that in turn will lower vocations to religious life.
In my opinion it is scandalous and sinful to use language like “we support LGBT!” or flying the rainbow flag. Supporting SSA in any way only worsens the person with SSA condition.
Then there is the whole issue of Religious Freedom where Catholic Businesses and Institutions and Christian Churches are being forced by the government to go along with the Homosexual Agenda.
Pray that the Bishops and our Holy Father speak out about this!
(1) :aok: :tiphat: My #1 advice by far is to pretend as if someone in the room is homosexual. This might already be the case and you may already know it. But if you do not, plan the talk as if you are talking to someone who has same-sex attraction and is struggling with the church’s teaching. That is what I would want.
Naturally, this does not mean you hide the plain teaching of the church on the issue. But it does mean you talk sensitively, you listen, you put yourself into the other person’s shoes, and you recognize the complexity of an issue that affects real people.
(2) And when you talk about homosexuality, do not elevate it as a disordered attraction to lust. That is part of it, but for many people, it is a small aspect of it. Homosexual persons do not just have an attraction to commit a certain sexual act with certain people: Even more than this, these people feel a deep, inherent orientation to form relationship with people of the same sex. Emotionally-fulfilling, love-filled, and familial-oriented relationships. Not everyone feels this way in the same way, but I am willing to bet any gay person attending church has those same desires.
(3) :console: Follow the way of Pope Francis as laid out in his Apostolic Exhortation on the family. Every person is different and must be accompanied. Simply relaying the church’s teaching as black-and-white moral doctrine will be of no avail. A pastoral approach considers the current place of the individual and realizes that not all people will perceive and achieve the truth and holiness in the same way, at the same level, and at the same time. The gay person active in a destructive and promiscuous lifestyle, a young boy first noticing his homosexual orientation, and a faithful gay couple who attend church are all at different stages and must be approached differently. The good from any individual’s situation must be highlighted.
(4) :banghead: All of these considerations so far are just as important as actually laying out the church’s sexual morality. Because if that is all you express, you will be preaching to the choir. No homosexual person wants to hear how his or her acts are deemed sinful or his orientation/attractions are “inherently disordered” — not because they are necessarily opposed to the truth, but because that is often ALL they hear from Christians! And when you actually present the church’s teaching, you must also keep it in the larger perspective of what exactly marriage is. That any sexual act not open to procreation and outside of marriage is immoral.
(5) :grouphug: Very important!!! Remember the complexity of the issue. I have rolled my eyes so many times at “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” presentations of the issue. That is, when people simply express the teaching as if the Catholic stance is obvious and apparent to all. Remember that the reality is there exist gay people and others who do not easily fit within the norm of the Christian perspective on marriage and sexuality. Not everyone easily follows the Catholic narrative of marriage and man and woman’s complementarity — whether intellectually, or their own experiences make it hard to accept.
(6) :hug1: Suggest that the intimacy and closeness homosexual individuals want is not a bad thing! It is our dumb modern culture that over-sexualizes everything: Any and all close relationships must somehow involve sex. But the truth is, God made us for relationship. “It is not good for man to be alone,” as the Genesis poetically states. So make the distinction between close, intimate, personal relationships and friendships with sexual activity, which is intimately connected with bringing new life into the world.
(7) :heaven: Above all, we are made for intimacy with Christ, and this intimacy with God is available to all through prayer and especially the Eucharist, which are the appetizers of the love we are made that will be fully realized in heaven.
While Catholic theology has its own use of “natural,” this will often be hard for people to understand. Homosexual people experience their deep-felt attractions to be “part” of them. They experience them naturally. So this point has to be carefully explained. Obviously, God allows these people to have these experiences for some reason. Catholic theology would say that God does not make anyone gay; rather, original sin and its effects lead to all kinds of disorders. But one may still question how homosexual attraction is a natural consequence of the Fall.
I’m never sure what to make of the “God allows…” statements. Evidently, everything that happens in the universe, every good act, every heinous and evil act, every random event is “allowed” by God. I’m not to sure speculating case by case on God’s reasoning , or even contemplating on the ‘fact’ of his allowing all these things, is at all fruitful. Other than to contemplate what sense the world would make were God routinely “interfering”.
A 1-2 hour presentation on a complex, challenging and sensitive subject such as this seems a very tall order indeed for lay persons without relevant expertise.
I would suggest any presentation content should be quite brief, and focus on a very few basic principles. 1ke’s suggestion regarding the film may be a good one. The film is about 40 mins so there can then be discussion time. Perhaps study that film closely, and then think about what you might present to accompany it (if anything) and how you could guide a subsequent discussion.
I think that gets complicated and expressing it like that is only part of the overall equation.
You could express it as God allows bad things to happen and that good can come from it. You could also express it as a result of living in a broken and fallen world.
With regards to disordered sexual attractions they do represent a personal cross for a someone to bear. With any cross, one could mention some of the grace and good that comes from carrying that cross and following Christ: a more complete awareness of one’s dependence on God, a better understanding of the need for mercy and to be merciful, it can be a humbling experience, a better understanding of the need for compassion and to be compassionate, etc. So while the good is not specific to any one cross, a cross/burden one endures can have grace.
I think one of the most important things is you need to say that God loves LGBT people. While it might seem strange, mentioning that until recently the Church hasn’t done a good
job of reaching out to LGBT people might do a lot of good for any LGBT people in the room.