A document from the Synod came out today apparently recommending that we “value” or “appreciate” the “orientations” of gay people. Now, in order to value something, one must know what that thing is. Hence, I open this thread, so that we can discuss the NARROW question of what an orientation is.
Now one might say that a sexual orientation is “one’s concupiscent desire to have sex with a certain type of person.” If that’s what sexual orientation is, then obviously one should NOT value the sexual orientation of gay people, because one should not value ANY concupiscent desire.
Quite the contrary, we might say that a sexual orientation is a “set of various affections, ways of acting, and talents that are often associated with people holding certain concupiscent desires.” This would explain how one might value a gay person for certain characteristics (sensitivity? musical talent? ability to form close friendships?) without valuing concupiscence. But there is a problem with this, too, since it’s not clear that all gay people have ANY non-concupiscent traits in common, and certainly they don’t have a monopoly on any of these traits.
Is there a middle ground? What on earth are we supposed to value? And does the Church document imply that orientations are genuinely “the way God made us” – that same-sex desire is a good thing, even if it has characteristic sinful pitfalls?
As a Catholic man who is attracted to other men, I find this all rather puzzling. The Synod hasn’t made a firm declaration yet, of course, but I’m just trying to understand what they mean by what they’ve said so far. I’m glad the rhetoric seems more inviting to gay folks, but at the same time I’m not sure what is actually being recommended.