The Sin that Cries to Heaven for Vengeance

I will try to keep this brief. Colors will be used to separate the various parts below with questions in red for ease of reference.

I am a thirty year old man who is romantically attracted to other men. I have lurked on this forum for awhile so allow me to define romantic before I go any further so any who answer this question are on the same page:

Romantic in this discussion shall refer to the yearning for a relationship that goes deeper than friendship but shy of the sexual aspects of a more traditional relationship. An emotional fealty that involves a sort of honoring of a special love shared by only one other and expressed in affection including: hugging, kissing, cuddling, snuggling, nuzzling, and similarly nonsexual but more than friendly activities. In all ways outside of the sexual aspects, this relationship would mirror a traditional coupling of a man and a woman in courting and marriage. Examples of this sort of relationship might include an older couple who is incapable of sexual intercourse any longer due to a medical problem but who remain together and take care of one another all the same.

I am something of a feminine soul. Not transgender, mind you - I am happy and fully accept my male body, but my heart, mind, and soul feel more like that of a female. I have always been very maternal in the way I reason and think, very instinctual in my pursuit of spirituality, naturally very doting, and more intuitive than I am logical. Part of this is that I also have always longed for a special someone - the problem obviously being that my special someone will be another guy. I am not in a relationship and have never been with another man, despite my age. I ignored it, shoved it down, and basically focused on other things but the longing and loneliness have become quite overwhelming. While I shall not seek another, I am open to meeting someone special if that is where fate leads me, so to speak. I am also interested in reconnecting to my childhood faith, however, and still hold to the idea of absolute morality. I pray for the intercession of saints here and there as well. So I find myself at an impasse.

I understand priests give it up these sorts of relationships, but if I were heteroromantic I would not be a priest - I am not cut out for that sort of thing. This is a deep longing and not just mere fancy or lust. As such, I would be interested in seeking a chaste romantic (by *my *definition) relationship with another man. Is this possible or am I destined for hell, so to speak?

Note: I did search and find a similar question asked recently but it was very impersonally asked and the conversation devolved into an argument over the semantics behind the word “couple” among other things. As such I felt a more limited discussion was in order; one where I set definitions so as not to create any room for needless semantic arguments. No offense if you enjoyed or were a part of that thread, though - this is much more than a mere hypothetical to me so I feel compelled to ask in a more focused and directed way. It is an issue that does weigh on me and not merely a matter of philosophical whimsy, you understand.

Have you looked into the organization Courage? I was just reading about this ministry in my diocesan paper today.

I would think that might help with support for the emotional needs you feel, whether or not you are currently dealing with temptation to have homosexual sex. To get together with others who’ve likely gone through similar experiences, and be able to be open and honest, I would think would be a lifting of a great burden. :twocents:

Only God can know if someone is going to Hell and no-one should presume to tell anybody otherwise.

That said, there is no way that a romantic relationship between males is morally acceptable. You say you are happy with your male body. Very well; the gender of a person is the gender of the body, not of the feelings.

That said, those feelings must be a heavy penance when not acted on. In the grace of our Lord, you can grow toward holiness by resisting them.

God Bless and ICXC NIKA

Is there an explicit teaching to this effect, noting the OP excludes any sexual content from his definition of “romantic relationship”? **

Perhaps it will do you good to re-evaluate what you need and want in your friendships. I really think friendships are SO overlooked by adults sometimes :frowning: “best friends” are something middle school girls have, to be outgrown. I’m a grown woman, but I have very deep, loving, fulfilling friendships with my female friends. This is coming from someone who has, admittedly, had moments where I wondered if i was bisexual or biromantic. Instead of pursiong romance or sex with another female, I strengthened the bonds I had with my female friends, and it took away any disordered desires I had.

Now…I admit, it’s easier for women. Women can hug, we can kiss each others cheeks in greeting, hold hands when scared, without giving the impression that we are in a same sex relationship (of course this can vary with region) but that’s not the case with male friendships. This is a bit unfair at times I think, and must be especially hard since your emotional side seems to act a bit like a womans does

My suggestion is to realign your resire for male companionship towards deep but chaste friendships. In the traditional sense, romantic love is by definition geered towards sexual attraction, but a deep and loving friendship can hit the same emotional needs in a moral way

I am also a man attracted to other men. Let me say a few things…

First of all, the very title of this thread indicates to me that you are dealing with a lot of condemnation right now – some of it external and some of it, no doubt, internal. You need to be free of this condemnation. There are two ways to get free: (1) Run into the arms of another man, and stifle your conscience, or (2) Run into the arms of your heavenly Father, and listen to whatever He tells you. I recommend #2. :slight_smile:

Your question about deep romantic relationships with other men is interesting. I know the sort of desire you’re talking about – with me, it stems from my loneliness and my desire to experience manhood. I never really grew into being a man naturally; I felt on the outside of some “manhood club”, to which I was not admitted. And so I deeply long to be with a man, not only sexually, but in a snuggly sort of romantic way (like you describe).

I have had one romantic-type relationship with another man, although it was just through emails on the internet, so there was no actual snuggling, as it were. This relationship was not helpful to me. It’s not that we didn’t get along well together – the intimacy I had with this guy was very powerful and profound. But I needed more. In that relationship, I was looking to get something from a man that I can only get from God. I was trying to heal a wound with my own Band-Aid, instead of letting the Doctor treat me in whatever way He desired.

Right now, I feel like you are looking for loopholes in Catholic ethics. That is not an attitude of submission to the Church. Once you do come around to submitting your desires to the Lord, and to His Church, then you should by all means consider how you can pursue deep and meaningful friendships with other men. But for now, I don’t think you’re there yet.

This isn’t a question of what is right or wrong; it’s a question of what is beneficial to you, as a son of God. You need to focus on your identity as son. Romantic relationships will not help you do that, especially not now.

It seems to me that what you describe in the blue portion of your post as a romantic relationship is certainly not non-sexual. In fact, by definition I think it impossible for a romantic relationship to be non-sexual.

It depends on what you mean by sexual. Romantic relationships can definitely be non-genital, and certainly many people have romantic relationships without aiming (or perhaps even wanting) to have sex.

I tend to agree with this and I think the best thing for you would be to solidify your relationship with God. With God everything is possible and with his help and grace you can overcome those feelings and your reward would be huge. Also, I just wanted to point out something. I see you mention you feel loneliness. If you are feeling lonely no human relationship in the world is going to cure that loneliness. It is very well said that the worst reason anyone (independently of whom they feel attracted to) can get into a marriage or get into a relationship is because they are lonely and that is because it means that there is something inside you lacking, there is a void inside you and no human can fill that void only God. I would recommend you to try to work out on that loneliness feeling by yourself. Pray, go to church, try to be happy with your own self, rejoice in God’s love and be aware you are NOT alone. God is with you and he doesn’t know impossible. Look to fulfill the void I.side of you with God and you will see how you can overcome all that.

Sorry for not responding sooner and thanks for all responders. My work schedule is a bit wacky. I will respond in the order I got the messages, using color coding to separate out the various people I am responding to, for ease of seeing.

3DOCTORS

I have dealt with Courage in the past and found them not as helpful to my situation. I will admit, I dislike their reliance on old and discredited research linking homosexuality to any manner of horrible thing pulled from NARTH and the other charlatans who twist science to make people like me out to be monsters on their website. My situation is a bit different, especially now.

My issues were rarely ones that involved my lust like most guys. I had and have many gay friends who I would never have sex with because I love them too much to take advantage of them like that. Add to this a prostate infection five years back that messed up my ability to maintain arousal afterwards and here I am, for better or worse. In truth, I have never really liked sex; sure I felt arousal but sex, to me has always been used as a weapon against people I care about or a bludgeon to make otherwise sweet people I love feel ashamed. A complete curse on the soul and born of the flesh, entirely.

GEddie

I was taking some literary liberties; in truth I have little fear of death. Already been close to it many times and seen my share of it. Maybe more than my share. Regardless, I didn’t mean to come off as being flippant of fatalistic, so, my apologies.

I won’t argue that it is not immoral as I don’t know for sure but, if it is immoral, my question would be why is it immoral? What is God’s rationale? I did mention I tend to approach my faith in an intuitive way, where my conscience guides what I do and don’t view as bad. When I was in youth group in my youth and going for Confirmation I tended to ask the most questions of anyone. This wasn’t because I was trying to be a jerk but it was because I need a rationale before I will accept something as morally wrong. Same sexual contact is not open to the gift of life, hence it is immoral, for example. Romantic but nonsexual acts are never open to the gift of life and, without causal link I fail to see much evidence that they are meant to lead to sex. I would point out my original example of the older couple who is no longer capable of having sex but is capable of showing my definition of romantic love to one another.

Again, I am not trying to be difficult but I have never been one to put much stock in tradition for the sake of tradition. The Church actually does a good job of providing rationale for most things that I do agree with - if it didn’t and just leaned completely on “Because we said so” I would have walked away long ago and not looked back.

GodsLittleKayla

As far as your words on friendships, I actually couldn’t agree more. I have become something of a father figure to many guys, straight and gay, but my closest have been with my fellow gay males not because I had sex with them but because I didn’t. Many have thanked me later because every one of them came to me at a time when they were extremely vulnerable and, while other guys they had gone to in that state had sex with them, I often pulled them onto my lap or simply put an arm around them and listened to them talk. Cried with them. Got them help if I could, but never tried to save them. I come from a family of addicts so I know better than to do that; I have sent more than a small number of friends to Al Anon meetings and the like. I have many deep and chaste friendships.

I still crave deep and chaste love, however; something exclusive and something I can count on as I get older. My friends get fewer by the year as I age, finding mates, having kids, and so on. There is no place for a single guy in a world like that. I find my mind turning to questions like who will I count on as I get older? Who can I talk to when things get hard and no one else is available? Who will care for me when I get sick and who will I care for in turn? Who will give me the touch I crave; reassuring fingertips across the back when the weight of my many crosses causes me to lock up and get so tense I can barely move, as it often does? Human beings are naturally quite monogamous and complementary in the way we function. We are made to be two parts of a whole, I feel. If we weren’t, then why bother having marriage at all after kids move out? Why not leave each other and become individuals? What keeps older people together?

I want to become part of a whole, spiritually, even if doing so in terms of being one flesh is never going to be possible. God is good but God only fills so many needs to that end. God won’t hold me when I am tired, warm me when cold, caress me when down, or care for me when sick - nor should He be expected to. I would never ask that of God either; unreasonable and selfish because it would be one way. With another person, I could comfort them and provide the same for them - is that really so unreasonable?

Mind you, that isn’t a rhetorical “Gotcha!” question at the end, either. If I am unreasonable, then help me see why, please.

underacloud

a) Scandal doesn’t concern me. What the ill informed think is, ultimately, irrelevant. If the popular kids got to decide what was moral then Christ had no business speaking against the Pharisees.

b) I have heard this but the near occasion of sin is not sin. In addition, I have already been tested numerous time - I am a thirty year old man. I have had ample opportunities to have sex and have passed them all up because I recognized that the sex would be selfish and lust based; me using an emotionally distraught or confused person for my own pleasure.

c) I would, personally, disagree with kissing and the like being ordered towards sexual expression. I have been kissed by someone and recall it fondly as a show of something warm and soft, not filthy and vulgar like sex. This strikes me as something that varies with culture as well. That said, I do appreciate that this is not a one size fits all nor do I think you intend it as such, so I won’t go to much into debate on it; suffice to say, I am not like most people, I guess.

d) Whether it is disordered or not is irrelevant to it’s inherent morality. The rational that sex outside of marriage is bad because it tends to be selfish and creates the potential of a life in an unstable environment (eg outside of a marriage) is good. The rationale that sex between same sex couples is unnatural because it is not open to the gift of life is acceptable. The rational that my romantic yearnings are immoral doesn’t follow because no ones romantic yearnings are open to the gift of life in and of themselves. This isn’t me looking for loopholes - I’d have sought them sooner if I sought them at all.

As for the latter part, I am quite friendly to the offer. I will admit, I was being a bit theatric with the title and that line - I know not who goes to hell. I know I would sooner choose Hell or Eternal Death to serving a petty God who makes unreasonable demands but I am not so convinced he is as of yet, hence these questions and arguments. Not to sound blasphemous but I had a stepfather like that for awhile and I’ll not serve a master like that again I need to be convinced why I am bad before I will accept I am bad, you understand. Or in the bad, as it were.

**Prodigal_Son: **

It is nice to hear from another same sex attracted individual. I mentioned before but I have a penchant for the theatrical so the thread title may have lead to this sounding more severe then it is. My family is made up of a mix of liberal Stephen Colbert Catholics and Traditional Catholics (the heretical kind that think every Pope after Vatican 2 is a false Pope, not to be confused with Conservative Catholics). I learned to stop listening to the latter early on, needless to say. As for the former, my mother actually worries about me and wants me to meet a special guy; while I appreciate she is worried about me being lonely for companionship, I operate under a stringent, objective moral system that demands I fully flesh my feelings on things out before I jump into them. That is, I need to be sure that what I do won’t hurt me, hurt others, and so on.

From your story, it sounds like you had some issues with not having a good father figure. I was lucky to find a good one through Big Brothers Big Sisters when I was fifteen. Before that I was saddled with my step father, a sociopath who routinely beat me at the slightest provocation and my biological father who hanged himself when I was six. Had I not met my Big Brother I would likely have been the same and could not claim to be a virgin now, more than likely. I thank God for the man who taught me to be a man. That said, I detect a degree of co-dependence in your tale. Sounds like you have it handled but, if not, please private message me and I will be happy to introduce you to some authors that might help with it (sounds like you have handled it, but you never know).

To address your overall point, I appreciate the concern and I struggled, the same as you. I was more fortunate to avoid many pitfalls and it sounds like you were too. That said, I am not looking to complete my masculine half, really, and if I were interested in loopholes I would likely become Episcopalian or follow the advice of my mother and just give in and find a man. I am scared of dying alone. I am also scared I will grow so hungry for being touched, gently, and loved as I age that I may wind up making poor moral decisions down the road should someone show me contact. Right not I am good, but there are times I feel like if someone were to come and rub my back I would totally lean into them and I am afraid I might use them for my own gain or comfort. I love people. I love caring for others and, should God send a special person to me, I want to have this all squared away, lest I rush in with a poorly informed conscience and hurt them or myself. I am not looking for anyone, though, so don’t worry about me on that end.

JimG

Could you explain your first sentence, please? I am not sure where I hinted at anything sexual and am confused. Not trying to be confrontational but I am honestly confused.

marymary1975

I disagree. I have a friend who is now and ordained priest and I do not think God simply removes all loneliness if you pray hard enough. I respect his sacrifice of celibacy in pursuit of his God given path and to agree with you would mean I would not respect the difficulty he faces as much because he is being relieved of his loneliness by God. I assure you, he is a twenty something guy (nearly thirty, just behind me), and he does struggle…

PutresOmega- why do you describe sex as filthy and vulgar (in your response to underacloud)?

It’s not irrelevant and comparing what you are talking about to Christ is a stretch. If your carrying out a homosexual relationship (sexual or not) potentially causes your brother or sister to sin, by normalising it, then there’s a problem that needs to be considered. That said, I think the discussion should focus on the inherent nature of the relationship you are discussing…

Actually, many moral theologians consider it a sin to deliberately place oneself in the near occasion of sin.

And almost anyone who’s indulged in some kissing and cuddling with a romantic interest (whether straight or gay) will know how difficult it is as the relationship builds and the romance blossoms to avoid going one step further…and then another step…and so on…

“Filthy and vulgar”?

If the kissing you engage in is not some sort of sexual expression, than I think you must be talking about something very different to what I am.

This kissing you are talking about - would this be something you’d do with any firend, male or female, or just for that “special someone”? I kiss my wife in a certain way, and I would never kiss another person in that way. And that kiss is sexual in nature, not merely friendly.

As I described with regard to kissing, “romantic yearnings” are interconnected with marriage and procreation; they lead us towards that vocation. Perhaps your understanding of romance is different, and as such this discussion will always drift off course. Romance, to me, is intrinsically sexual in nature. Remove the sexual part, and it’s no longer romance. More like just a couple of really good friends. There’s nothing wrong with that, but then I don’t go kissing my friends (except perhaps on the cheek).

You have asked the question, “Will I go to hell?” Be aware that the more accurate question to ask is “Will I and my companion go to hell?” I’m pointing this out because if you are going to become engaged with another man and want to love him then you should also consider his fate as well. But it is a question that cannot be answered.

Is becoming engaged with a man a gamble? In my opinion, yes. No one can say what God will do in your specific case. Not you, me, or even the Church. That is God’s province alone. For all anyone knows you may go to hell for any number of reasons that have nothing to do with the subject of this conversation. God has commanded us not to say in our hearts who will go to heaven or hell.

Does the written law cover every action a man can undertake? No, thankfully. The Church holds the teaching like a law that homosexuality is a sin. You want to know if you can love another man, and kiss and hold them in your lap and nurture them when they need it. Personally, i have heard of no law against love, or kissing, hugging, or nurturing. You can probably scour Church documents and find no law against these activities. You are in the gray area when comes to law.

Is it the spirit of God that motivates you to seek a man for romantic love? I do not think it comes from God. I think it comes from yourself. It is a choice between following God or leading yourself. That is how I see it. How do you see it? Do you think that God wants this for you? Do you think that the gray area is a safe enough? Would you rather have a companion even if you run a real risk of not entering God’s kingdom? Does your companion feel the same way? Why do you care about God’s kingdom? Do you want to live forever or is it something else?

I sometimes find the openness that God allows for interpretation to be rather maddening and tend to trust my own conscience above other things as a result. Still, reading your perspective, I can kind of see the strength of something that isn’t spelled out more succinctly, I think. I hadn’t considered it, but I suppose the grayness of morality, objective though it may be, allows it to adapt to changing circumstances the way a black and white approach wouldn’t.

I don’t presume to know the plans of God and seek no man. I ask this question in preparation should God send someone special into my life so that I don’t accidentally hurt him, hurt myself, or offend Him. You say you think this doesn’t come from God but from me, but how can you or I know that? If I wasn’t interested in following God I wouldn’t even be wasting my time posting this or baring myself in a way that is uncomfortable to me. I have wanted to ask this question for years, you understand. I didn’t because this is all very uncomfortable to admit, even in text.

I think that God wants me to live for others and walk by my conscience. I nearly died several times and went through many painful surgeries years back. Early on, I prayed for good health. When I had resigned myself to death, I prayed for wisdom and those I’d leave behind. In that time I realized how selfish my earlier prayers were; whether I live ten years or one hundred and ten, it is all relative and, ultimately, all meaningless I think. I relied on the intercession of Saints to give me the strength and wisdom to learn from it. I don’t know what God wants for me for sure but I know that walking by my conscience has produced miraculous results. I have gone back to school and succeeded on things I never though were possible, all because I feel I am on the right path. And the truly informed conscience, at the end of the day, is all we have that the evils of men can’t tamper with, amend, or subtract from. Law written on the heart and all that.

I will be alone if that is what serves the greater good but I need to know why it serves the greater good. I need to know why I must walk, falter, fight, fear, and, eventually, die alone - what purpose does it serve for me and those like me to never have any one to turn to? What is the rationale? I can do it if I must, but without rationale or reason then it seems an arbitrary rule and one that will cause resentment, in time.

I want to be a good person. I want what I feel for all other people to be love. God’s Kingdom is the least of my concerns and to focus on it would poison every good deed I do with selfishness. The man who prays in private is blessed, the one who prays in public finds his prayers answered by the flesh - I have no interest in faith that serves to keep me from the chopping block, where every good deed is done because I love myself and want paradise. I would prefer my good deeds be born of the same love Christ seemed to show those around him.

You aren’t referencing scandal as I understand it; you are referencing becoming a false teacher or advocacy. I am not interested in teaching anything nor have I advocated such as far as I know. I am very laid back. Even in a relationship I can’t imagine myself being much of an activist as it would be a complete one eighty of my personality which tends to be gentle, quiet, and somewhat shy.

The problem is I find myself faced with two paths, both of which are near occasions of sin. As a Christian, I tend to drift between standard submission and lovingness to what might border on maltheism when I am more lonely or depressed. The question comes down to risking a relationship with another and hoping to find someone who will feel the same in respecting my limits and not pushing it further or staying alone and growing in resentment at God for the seeming arbitrariness of this particular cross I am asked to carry. Hence why I asked the question: I want a way to feel repentant of this which I don’t feel is wrong, if it is wrong. A rationale, to refer to my earlier point.

My apologies! Yes, cultural differences do sort of make things screwy on this end. I refer to kissing done to show affection and build confidence in my hypothetical partner (eg to reinforce that he is still attractive and worthy of love) as well as to feel good (within the confines of my limitations against sex) such as on the neck, arms, lips, etc. I am not referring to the more Western kissing involving oral sexual stimulation or the like (I assume that is what you are referring to, so sorry for the confusion - that was my fault for not explaining what I meant).

I see. In that case, I feel we may have been talking past each other. I suppose, to explain it in your terms, I am looking for a best male friend/companion to cuddle up to and to express affection towards - a special, more singular connection held above all others and sharing a degree of intimacy that no other friendship would be permitted to share. And, of course, you wouldn’t kiss your friends (I have yet to meet a straight American guy okay with even getting kissed on the cheek by a male friend, actually haha). Thanks for the clarifications; I apologize for not being clearer in my initial responses.

It seems my choice of words was somewhat confusing and I often forget that not everyone sees things from my perspective so my apologies for the issue with this quote. What I mean when I refer to sex as vulgar and filthy is more that sex is inherently profane or problematic more so than always bad. Surely, sex to make a baby or between married people is good but sex, generally, holds a greater potential for harm than it does for good. I will admit, I do find sex to be largely distasteful but that would be personal bias as, for me who is attracted to the same gender, sex is a curse rather than a blessing. A (sometimes, seemingly arbitrary) cudgel swung, menacingly, in constant threat against me.

(Figured out the quoting, somewhat, so hopefully this will make my posts easier to read)

We all need to remember that there is no human life without its penances, sometimes very severe ones.

It is easy, when we are lonely, to imagine that everybody is “sexually happy” except ourself. This can blind us to the occasion of sin, just as the need to complete an exhausting journey or task can lead one to dangerous shortcuts.

Lonely is a heavy penance, but fear of it should not motivate us to do wrong. It does not matter how many family members or even descendants are holding our hands, when our eyes roll back we will be alone. Having followed the law of God will matter more then than any relationships we were in before.

If I were so lonely as to get into an apparent “live in” relationship with a lady, even without any sexual activity going on, that would be a sin, because my behavior would lead others to sin. Wrong does not become unwrong just because the sexualities change their sign; in a world where homoeroticism has become normal, a homoromantic couple will lead others to sin.

ICXC NIKA

If the marital act was inherently profane or problematic, then Adam and Eve would not have been able to unite as one flesh without doing something profane. Sex is not bad. Certain sexual activities are wrong. But sex itself – there is nothing unholy about this. A marital bed is a temple.

A man’s desiring of sexual union is a good thing, a very good thing. The desiring part is still good, even if the desire is disordered (directed at another man, for example). Sexual desire is an awesome and beautiful force – indeed, its goodness is the very reason why its perversions and abuses are so toxic.

By telling yourself that sex is profane and disgusting, you are for some reason allowing yourself to think that you are better than other people, because other people are obsessed by this “profane” need. Why would you do that?

Maybe I’m wrong; I don’t mean to offend!

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