Truth be told.
Everyone who knows me or reads me know I say 'gay'. The Pope says gay. It's common parlance. Can you imagine me telling my gay married friends and relatives, "You are not gay - you suffer from same sex attraction?" I've struggled with the terminology myself, and I find it an unproductive struggle. Outsiders, that is, straight people think it's a crazy distinction as well, unless they are in the business of conversion therapy or use the battle for normalcy as another way to shame and alienate gay people.
I'm known for claiming same sex attraction as a good thing. That is the basis for same sex friendships. Normal friendship is normally chaste friendship. In junior high, sometimes same sex friends do things together, but they usually move on from that behavior. It's not a sexual friendship. Believe me, people are attracted to people because they are attractive - physically, morally, intellectually, or emotionally. When they are of the same sex, it is same sex attraction. Nothing wrong with that.
Ron Belgau of Spiritual Friendship wrote a good essay on this very subject. Belgau and companions have received a lot of negative feed back for their scholarship in exploring the homosexual condition and the necessity for spiritual friendship. They've been criticized for their differences with the Courage format, or way of life for those who wish to live in accord with Catholic teaching on sexuality and marriage. I was more or less conditioned by a certain type of parochialism to be suspicious of the Spiritual Friendship movement as well. Thank God for Pope Francis whose example has opened hearts to be respectful of one another's differences.
Ron Belgau takes a fresh look at the debate on why some people no longer call themselves gay. Once again, as in man cases with documents and statement coming from Rome, Ron notes a problem in translation.
Part of the problem is an issue with the English translation of the 1986 Letter. An important section of the paragraph (which Fr. Harvey partially omits) would have been better translated:
'Today, the Church provides a badly needed context for the care of the human person when she refuses to consider the person only as a “heterosexual” or a “homosexual” and insists that every person has a fundamental Identity: the creature of God, and by grace, his child and heir to eternal life.'
Adding “only” to the translation agrees with the Latin original, as well as the German, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese translations. Only the French translation agrees with the English in omitting “only” from the paragraph above. In terms of authority, the Latin text is the official text promulgated by the Church. German is the native language of Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI), the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the time the Letter was drafted and promulgated. And Italian is the most commonly used working language in the Vatican. So the agreement of these three languages is strong evidence that the revised translation better reflects the intended meaning of the document.
Had the English version of the Letter been clear—as the Latin, German, Spanish, and Portuguese versions were—that the Church does not consider the person only as a “heterosexual” or a “homosexual,” it might have been clearer that this paragraph should not be taken as a prohibition on referring to “homosexual persons,” but only to doing so in a reductive way. - A Note on Courage and LanguageI made a comment on his FB post, thanking him for the article. Repeating once again how the insistence on prohibiting the word 'gay' has always annoyed me and strikes me as disengenuous, as well as a bit tainted by self-righteous BS, especially when the chaste SSA guy keeps his foot in the lgbtq milieu - in an 'in and out' way. Even if there is no acting out sexually, there is frequently something which keeps the connection alive. There are numerous examples one could cite, but I don't want people to think I'm picking on them. I've also written about this enough in the past, so no need to repeat myself. The 'homosexual network' has many levels of social interactions as well as distinct units or classifications. Language sometimes just creates another closet.