What is a sexual orientation?

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.

The orientation of a born-again Christian is Jesus,

We can safely deduct that people suffering from same sex attraction don’t belong to Jesus
as their focus is on worldly pleasures
How that can be a pleasure will remain a mystery to me

You need believe that you have died with Christ to homosexuality.

Well, that pretty much says it all, doesn’t it? I’m assuming that those tempted to adultery, fornication, deception, arrogance, wrath, and calumny don’t belong to Jesus, either? And then, who exactly is left?

Temptation is common to all

My bible tells me that those who overcome inherit the kingdom of heaven

I agree. But I have no idea what that has to do with the statement “people suffering from same sex attraction don’t belong to Jesus”, which is contrary to Church teaching and false. Please see the Pastoral Letter to Homosexual Persons.

I cannot believe that people suffering from same-sex attraction
don’t suffer from sexually immoral behaviour

There are steps to hell

I have a friend who has not acted out sexually in any way for over 10 years, but still experiences same-sex attraction. And I have gone months without any form of sexual sin before, but the same-sex attraction did not go away. Can you explain this?

Might the document from the Synod mean not valuing sexual orientation per se but valuing it in the way gay people are treated and ministered to by others as their Cross to bear?

I don’t know what is so difficult to understand. Most people are attracted to those of the opposite sex. This group cannot imagine having sex with someone of the same sex. For those who are homosexual, the opposite is true. They are attracted to the same sex and not to the opposite sex. They didn’t choose this. Many say they knew when they were young children that this is the situation for them. As one gay man said, “Why would I choose a lifestyle that would make my family, my church and society hate me?”
The church teaches they should abstain from sexual activity altogether. The church says the same thing about priests. Not everyone follows the rules. There are plenty of heterosexuals who are married and engage in sex acts outside of their marriage. Some of these people present themselves for communion and nobody says a thing.
There are many rules in the bible from which churches pick and choose. They harp on certain ones to the point of harassment. If you believe God created everyone then you are saying he made a lot of mistakes by creating homosexuals. Don’t second guess God.

If that’s the case, I wish they said something like, “valuing the unique and wonderful things that gay people can bring to the Church.” I don’t understand the notion of valuing orientations, in other words, only people.

I know a man who has same-sex attraction but lives a chaste lifestyle because he believes in the Church’s teachings. I think a man like that fulfills your statement about overcoming temptation, although I think this man would distinguish between temptation and attraction because, at least for me, I’m not tempted to have sexual thoughts about everyone I’m attracted to.

Other examples of individuals with same-sex attraction who try to overcome it are documented in the films “The Third Way” and “Desire of the Everlasting Hills,” both of which are available for free online if you want to search for them. They are about Catholics who are trying to overcome sexual temptation in the context of same-sex attraction, while also finding fulfillment in the Catholic Church.

No I’m not! If I say that fetal alcohol syndrome is a bad thing, am I saying that God made mistakes by creating children affected by fetal alcohol syndrome? Of course not!

Remember: I myself am attracted to other men. I’m not likely to think God made a mistake by creating ME. :smiley:

Fetal alcohol syndrome is not a life time condition

and neither is a sexual attraction to other men unless that is your CHOICE

Have you ever met an adult who once suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome? They are deeply effected by it, for the rest of their lives. They function much slower than other people.

Too slow to make Jesus their Saviour

I think not

Well said! :slight_smile:

Do you believe that Jesus sets people free?

Huh? :confused:

Yes. But not always in the way we ask.

See 2 Cor. 12:7-10.

Too slow to make Jesus their Saviour

I think not

Do you believe that Jesus, as your Saviour, can deliver you from homosexuality?

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