My kid is not evil.
Many people, parents and loved ones of same sex attracted persons mistake Catholic Church teaching to be saying that the homosexual person is disordered, that homosexuals or gay people are evil. That isn't true of course, although it can seem at times that religious persons within the Church hate the person as well as the sin. That really just demonstrates that even faithful Catholics can be misled as well. Which is why one must always return to the sources of Catholic teaching, clearly defined by the Magisterium.
Lately I have been reading of growing support for gay marriage, even from morally conservative voters. The main reason being put forward is that more and more parents, brothers and sisters, and others are realizing that one of their loved ones is gay - or same sex attracted. Hence the responses: "My son is not disordered." "My Daughter is not evil." "I want them to be happy and to be able to love whomever they choose."
The problem for Catholics, as I see it, is the lack of clear, consistent teaching on the issue of homosexuality. To be sure, the teaching is there and it is spelled out in no uncertain terms. There are documents to prove it. Nevertheless, in practical terms there is a lot of leeway given when it comes to 'pastoral care'.
For instance, homosexual acts are sinful, but the orientation itself - though disordered (disorders are normal for fallen man) is not sinful. "Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder." CDF Letter, no.3
Yet ambiguities continue to abound. Most recently the Cardinals Of Belgium claiming Church teaching has evolved. Even Cardinal George has made strange statements.
George said although church teaching does not judge same-sex relationships as morally acceptable, it does encourage the faithful to "respect everyone."
With all due respect to Cardinal George, Catholic teaching cannot change - and it is clearly a very important point right now."The question is, 'Does respect mean that we have to change our teaching?' That's an ongoing discussion, of course. … I still go back to the fact that these are people we know and love and are part of our families. That's the most important point right now." - Cardinal George apology.
Courage and Cardinal Burke.
Recently I came across an introduction Cardinal Burke wrote to a book by Fr. Harvey, which addressed the difficulty Catholic parents face in accepting and supporting their children who happen to have SSA. The Cardinal is so humble and charitable in his approach, I will let his introduction speak for itself.
Some time ago, at the conclusion of a reception following the conferral of the sacrament of Confirmation, a mother approached me and asked whether she could speak with me. She began by saying that, while she did not want to offend me, she disagreed with a column I had written in the archdiocesan newspaper. The column was written at the time that the citizens of Missouri were preparing to vote on a referendum to amend the state constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman – that is, to ban what has become popularly known as "same-sex marriage" or "gay marriage".
This well-spoken mother told me that she was offended because my article implied that her daughter was evil. She went on to explain that her daughter, who is in her early twenties, had graduated from a private Catholic high school with highest honors and with many awards. She has been active in a same-sex relationship for some time. With great emotion, the mother declared her love for her daughter, which, according to her way of thinking, requires acceptance and support of her daughter's same-sex relationship, including welcoming her daughter and her same-sex partner into the family home.
I explained to the mother that I have never thought nor written that persons suffering from same-sex attraction are evil. I went on to summarize what I had written in the column to which she referred, namely, that same-sex attraction itself is disordered – that is, contrary to God's plan for us as male and female; that homosexual acts are intrinsically evil; and that persons with same-sex attraction are our brothers and sisters, whom we are to respect and love. The mother continued to insist that she loves her daughter and, therefore, will support her in her same-sex relationship.
The conversation in question reminded me of several pastoral situations in which I have found a parent struggling painfully with the homosexual activity of a child. The emotion of the situation can understandably cloud one's judgment. Whereas in the past, such emotion may have led parents to reject a child suffering with the homosexual condition or to pretend that the condition did not exist, today there is a tendency for parents to believe that tolerance requires them to accept the homosexual activity of their child and even permit it in the family home.
Given the strong public rhetoric favoring the acceptance of same-sex attraction and homosexual activity as an alternative form of human sexuality, the very presentation of the Catholic Church's perennial teaching on the matter is considered, at best, failing in pastoral sensitivity; at worst, hateful toward persons who struggle with same-sex attraction. The theological truth is seen to be somehow antithetical to the pastoral or loving response required. For that reason, Catholic faithful, including the clergy, can become hesitant to present and clearly uphold the Church's teaching on homosexual inclinations and activity. At the same time, the persistent public message about homosexuality – in the absence of a consistent presentation of the Church's teaching – can easily lead the Catholic faithful into confused and even erroneous thinking on the matter. - Finish reading here.
Ed. Note: It is 'Gay Pride Month' so I may be posting on authentic Catholic teaching on homosexuality a bit more than usual. What?