Catholics/homosexuality

Advertisement


Question
I have never seen anything Jesus ever referenced to homosexuality. Of the four Gospels, is there any reference and if not, why? I am not homosexual but this came to mind. It's curious to me because Jesus covered most everything else. I just guess that it was not an issue for those Jesus addressed?

Answer
This is a great question!

First we need to define our terminology.  The term "Homosexual" refers to one who is attracted to members of the same sex: men to men or women to women.  

The term "Gay" refers to a homosexual who acts out or acts on their attraction.  

Understood this way one cannot help being a homosexual.  One cannot help who one is attracted to or who one finds attractive.  Being a homosexual therefore is not considered a sin.  However one CAN help being "Gay" for one CAN if one chooses control their passions.  It is not only Gay people who must control their passions.  Married people and celibate clergy must to likewise.

The Church does not like terms such as "homosexual" or "heterosexual" because we as human beings are NOT defined by our sexuality, nor are we defined by our passions.  Hence one who says "I am Gay" or "I am homosexual" love me for who I am misspeaks.  One is not defined by their sexual preferences, thus one cannot say "This is who I am."  We cannot be reduced as human beings to our sexual preferences.  

It is unclear what causes homosexuality.  There are those who argue one is born that way, and there are those who argue it is caused by some kind of trauma early on in the life of the person.  It is the old debate over nature vs. nurture.  I am of the opinion that there is probably truth in BOTH.  In other words some people with a same sex attraction (homosexual) are simply born that way (nature.)  Others develop a same sex attraction due to trauma or some event early on in their lives. (nurture.)  Because of the politically correct climate we live in it is now impossible to research the question objectively.  Any scientist who brings forth any evidence that homosexuality might not be innate, or is unnatural, etc. would be burned at the preverbal stake.  Scientists researching the subject therefore have a hand in making sure the evidence suggests that it is an entirely natural phenomenon and therefore just an alternate way for human beings to express their sexuality.  

On to your question.  To say that Jesus NEVER said anything about homosexuality I think is not entirely accurate.  Jesus at least indirectly answers the question of how human sexuality is to be used in Mark 10:6, and Matthew 19:4.  Here Jesus talks about God's plan for males and females and the fact that they are to become one flesh.  Implicit in Jesus discussion of marriage is the fact that God intends marriage to be between men and women. I grant this does not say anything DIRECTLY about homosexuality, but I think if we take the passages at face value it is easy enough to conclude that God intends marriage to be between men and women, and that God does not intend people to use their sexuality for same sex relationships.  

If you want to say "But he never directly addresses the issue" fine.  Consider this: the WHOLE BIBLE is the WORD OF GOD, not just the Gospels.  One could argue that Jesus himself never said anything directly about homosexuality precisely because God has already said all He needs to say on the subject in the Old Testament.  In short God has nothing good to say about same sex relationships in the Old Testament. The theme is picked up in the New Testament by Paul, and Paul has nothing good to say about same sex relationships either.  Paul is not Jesus, but Paul DID author Scripture, and Scripture IS the Word of God--therefore Paul's word is God's Word.  

It is also untrue to say that "Jesus covers pretty much everything else."  Jesus never said anything about Abortion.  Does it follow Abortion should be permitted?  Jesus never addressed the question of War.  Does it follow countries have no right to defend themselves from foreign invasion?  Jesus never said anything about the death penalty.  Does it follow governments have no right to use the death penalty to protect its citizens? (As in the case of Saddam Hussein or Osama Ben Laden.) Jesus never said anything directly about what constitutes a human being.  Does it follow we have the right to say that people of color are subhuman and we can therefore enslave them, or that Jews are subhuman it is therefore aright to mistreat them or kill them? Jesus never addressed the question of drugs--does it follow drug use is moral?

There are a lot of questions that Jesus never directly addressed and yet as Christians we know that war while evil can be justifiable, that the death penalty while evil is sometimes morally justifiable, that Abortion takes a human life and is therefore intrinsically evil, and finally that people of Color and Jewish people are equally human beings and Racism or prejudice of any kind is intrinsically evil.

You have to be careful of falling into the trap of thinking "If Jesus didn't say it, it must be okay."  The Gospels and in fact the whole Bible is not written as a Moral Theology text book.  It is written as  revelation of God's actions in human history, and how God has lead his people to salvation through Christ.  Theology is based on and developed from what is in Scripture to be sure, but the Bible is not meant to be read like a theology text book.

I also want to add that in the debate the term "homophobia" is often thrown around.  In other words those who object to the gay lifestyle are automatically labeled as "homophobes" that is it is assumed they object to the gay life style because they secretly fear it, or cannot deal with their own homosexual tendencies.  This is a Red Herring.

My objection to homosexuality has nothing to do with "fear" of homosexuals or "fear" of the life style.  I have homosexual friends.  I do not "fear" being around them, nor do I "fear" their relationship with their significant other.  In fact I enjoy their company and value their friendship. Personally I don't care what two consenting adults choose to do in the privacy of their home.  It is none of my business who they love and who they choose to have sex with.  

My objection to homosexuality is a moral one: it is rooted in God's law.  In other words God says it is sinful.  Since I am not God and I do not make the rules, but God does, I have no choice but to recognize God's law and submit to it. As a priest it is my duty to tell people and exhort them to live according to God's laws.  If I do not do so, and I tell a gay person "Go ahead, your lifestyle is not sinful" I will have to answer for that when I appear before God on the day of judgment.  I cannot tell people something is not a Sin when it is.  I don't like having to do this as a priest, but this is the life I choose.  I have to do my job even when unpleasant or politically incorrect.

As for homosexual marriage: The Church is not asking the government to forbid homosexual couples from "loving" each other or having a sexual relationship with each other.  The Church objects to the REDEFINTION of marriage.  To make the debate about "love" is a Red Herring.  The point is WHAT IS THE NATURE OF MARRIAGE, and should we REDEFINE it such that the definition is an oxymoron.  The debate is NOT over who is allowed to "love" who. If the government wants to give gay couples the rights of heterosexual couples, that is the business of the government---but one should not redefine marriage to make this possible.     

I want to end this piece by stating clearly an unequivocally that GOD LOVES HOMOSEXUALS AND GAY PEOPLE INFINATELY.  GOD REJECTS NO ONE.  Any kind of discrimination against such people is intrinsically evil and never justified. If someone has a same sex attraction and chooses to live that out in a gay relationship, while the Church would have to say this is objectively sinful, in the end it is between that person and God, and it is for God to judge the person.  We are not to judge.  

Catholics

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Father Dave Bechtel

Expertise

I am a Catholic priest in good standing and in active ministry in the Diocese of Scranton PA. I can answer most any question about the Catholic Faith, however my area of specialization is Systematic Theology. Systematic Theology is a branch of theology that focuses on the fundamental tenants of the Faith and the Dogmas of the Faith. I have specialization on the Reformation and Catholic vs. Protestant theology/issues and answering Protestant challenges to the Faith.

Experience

I was ordained in June of 2008. Since that time the thrust of my ministry has been specialized. In my first assignment I was an assistant pastor. A year later I was sent to work in education. I spent six (6) years in education and have now assumed my first pastorate. While education was the thrust of my ministry, nevertheless I continued to have a hand in parish ministry, hospital chaplaincy and prison chaplaincy. Now that I am out of education I will obviously be focusing more on parish work than specialized ministry. I have two years of formal Clinical Pastoral Education and prior to ordination I successfully pursued Board Certification for health care ministry through the NACC. My certification needs to be renewed and I plan to seek dual certification in health care ministry (NACC and APC) when I renew my certification. I have a breadth of experience working with Protestant ministers and collaborating with them to achieve the goals of hospital pastoral care and chaplaincy. These ministers run the spectrum from the liberal to the conservative.

Education/Credentials
Bachelors of Science-- University of Scranton PA Masters of Arts Theology--- Saint Mary's Seminary and University Baltimore MD Masters of Divinity--- Saint Charles Borremeo Seminary Philadelphia PA Board Certified Chaplain (up for renewal)

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.