One of my good friends is struggling with same-sex attraction. She is a Christian and wants to live chastely, but she and I are both confused on what the Church teaches about homosexuality. I have already read the Catechism’s statements on homosexuality countless times, so I understand that homosexuals are called to celibate chastity. However, my friend and I aren’t sure about the specifics of what is or isn’t sinful. For example, if my friend is attracted to someone of the same gender, is she gravely sinning when she thinks about that person (presuming her thoughts aren’t lustful)? If she remains friends with a woman she is attracted to, is that sinful?
The Church teaching:
Chastity and homosexuality
CCC 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. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
CCC 2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
CCC 2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
Thank you for responding to my question. I’m still confused though about the specific questions I posed in my initial post (thinking non-lustful thoughts about someone of the same gender that one is attracted to, remaining friends with someone of the same gender that one is attracted to). Can you clarify this for me please? I have read this section Catechism many times and I am still a bit confused about what it means to live chastely. Thanks!
It might be imprudent to be with someone who could cause temptations, but it isn’t a sin to be near that person, unless there is a malicious intention.
SSA isn’t sinful unless it is acted on. Many of us single or married , heterosexual or homosexual have attractions to others. But what we “do with those attractions” as in thoughts and actions then it becomes harmful to the soul. We love the sinner but we hate the sin of homosexual acts because it is not what God intended when He made the genders.
Given the the nature of the questions, it would be best to point out that the major struggle of same-sex attraction is that there is no moral sexual outlet. Attraction to the opposite sex can at least find an outlet in marriage. In contrast, all sexual relations between two men and two women are sinful. It occurs outside of marriage and would still be considered sinful if not between two people of the same sex.
Beyond that, the basic gist is that if it is sinful when considered in an opposite-sex context, it is sinful in a same-sex context.
No, she wouldn’t be sinning.
No, it isn’t sinful.
Oh really? I guess I’ve been misinformed in the past. Thank you for letting me know
That makes sense
Same sex attraction per se is not a sin, albeit it is disordered. It would only become sinful if a sexual relationship developed.
First off, your friend needs to understand that these tendencies can be natural but likewise she should not be close minded to relationships with men. I kind of feel like many people today feel that they need to “choose” to be gay. It’s not a clear choice it’s just a chemical interaction. Being able to control those interactions or divert them is an important part of life regardless of whether your straight or gay.
Also, she may need to just spend more time with good men in order to work out her discomforts. Eventually one of them is going to hit on her and she should try just rolling with the flow and seeing where it leads. I always afford a couple months of dating someone if they’re open just to see how compatible the relationship is.
Introduce your friend to “Courage” - couragerc dot org
“Courage members are men and women who experience same-sex attractions and who have made a commitment to strive for chastity. They are inspired by the Gospel call to holiness and the Catholic Church’s beautiful teachings about the goodness and inherent purpose of human sexuality.
Through our apostolate, people who experience same-sex attraction receive pastoral support in the form of spiritual guidance, community prayer support, and fellowship.”
couragerc dot org / about
ME: As for Church teaching, it boils down to this: Simply BEING a homosexual is not a sin, because we all suffer from disordered desires, but engaging in homosexual activity - sex or otherwise - is a grave mortal sin.
She must not give in to modern society that says the homosexuality is okay and normal. It is not.
It IS sinful because it is an “occasion of sin.” If you purposefully put yourself in a situation that makes it very easy to sin, that too is a sin in and of itself.
In Catholic teaching, occasions of sin are “external circumstances–whether of things or persons–which either because of their special nature or because of the frailty common to humanity or peculiar to some individual, incite or entice one to sin .”
Personally, I’m not sure being friends is a near occasion of sin. I would think near occasion would be knowing the friend has mutual feelings and doing things that encourage such mutual attraction to go further.
Ultimately, though, her priest would probably be better for determining such matters.
It is similar to an alcoholic hanging out in a bar. You put yourself to the test, and sexual attraction is a very strong temptation, maybe the strongest, stronger than alcohol
What do you mean when you say “thinks”? Are these platonic thoughts? Are these thoughts about a future together that is not possible?
Platonic thoughts are not a problem; in fact, they are desireable in authentic friendship. If these thoughts are not platonic, they could become temptation to sin for her. I wouldn’t encourage them.
No. Being friends and having a level of intimacy that is appropriate to friends is perfectly fine.
However, it is important that she knows herself. If remaining friends with this woman will create for her a temptation to sin, she’ll do better to let the friendship go.
Same as for OSA we should avoid the near and voluntary occasion of sin Baltimore Catechism:
Q. 774. How many kinds of occasions of sin are there?
A. There are four kinds of occasions of sin:
1. Near occasions, through which we always fall;
2. Remote occasions, through which we sometimes fall;
3. Voluntary occasions or those we can avoid; and
4. Involuntary occasions or those we cannot avoid.
A person who lives in a near and voluntary occasion of sin need not expect forgiveness while he continues in that state.
It is easy to fool oneself. She may think she can handle it but maybe she can’t. Sexual desire is the strongest of all temptations. She would be advised to let it go
It would be kind of sad if most people had so little self control that they have to be careful who they can be friends with.