by Bill Scholl
I often meet Catholics both curious and confused about our faith’s teaching on homosexuality.
The Catholic Church differs from many other Christian communities
in that it teaches that homosexual feelings do not make a person bad or in need of fixing. Some people just can’t reprogram their sexual desires or same-sex attractions. Each of us has inclinations to certain sins. Each of us must overcome temptations to grow closer to Christ.
Courage ministry is a Catholic support organization for men and women who have same-sex attraction. With knowledge, love and compassion, Courage ultimately respects the Christian with same-sex attraction by asking of him or her what the church asks of every Christian: to live a life of service to Christ and not a life of servitude to sex.
Recently, I was interviewing a chapter leader about ways to organize a Courage chapter in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. He shared with me that with the support and the knowledge he had gained from the church, he had come to know “the joy of chastity.”
What a strange concept in the context of our post-sexual revolution culture that virtually screams that “the joy of sex is the only way to happiness.” There is a brutal corollary to this logic of sex just for pleasure. Pleasure is subjective, thus there is then no reason to deny any act that gives pleasure.
Consequently, as we celebrate sexual pleasure as the greatest private good, our society is fast embracing the mistaken notion that the only compassionate way to deal with men and women who are sexually attracted to members of their own gender is to indulge those attractions, even to the point of redefining marriage.
Chastity brings joy because one cannot be a disciple of Jesus without following his moral law: “For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Cor 6:20).
With Christ, there is joy and peace. Practicing the virtue of chastity enables a person to consecrate his sexuality to God, so that he is managing his sexual feelings rather than being mastered by them. Chastity frees a person to see others and himself as a person to love rather than as an object to be used.
Accordingly, Courage participants don’t refer to themselves as gay or lesbian because that would be to let their sexual feelings become their identity as persons. Courage provides guidance to people seeking to live a chaste life and, in that, find the real joy of chastity.
If you are interested in learning more or getting involved with the Courage ministry, please contact me via e-mail at the address below.
Bill scholl is the archdiocesan consultant for social justice. You can send him an e- mail at: email@example.com.