Conversations: Same-Sex Attraction

Last evening, the Office of Young Adult Ministry hosted Conversations. Unlike Theology on Tap, which invites a guest lecturer to speak on some matter of faith, Conversations is an evening of Q&A with two expert panelists where we discuss some practical yet controversial aspect of living a moral life.

“[Young adults] said that they need a forum not only where misgivings and doubts can be expressed but also where the teachings of the Church can be clearly articulated in response…much of what young adults feel regarding the institutional Church arises from a misunderstanding of what the Church actually teaches.”
-Sons and Daughters of the Light, USCCB

The topic being discussed last night was “Is the Catholic Church out of date when it comes to same-sex attraction and same-sex marriage?” and there are certainly lots of misgivings and doubts among the faithful on this topic. Some people came to Conversations because they knew someone with same-sex attraction, and some came because they had questions about the Archdiocese’s response to the DC government’s law recognizing same-sex “marriage”. (See last month’s blogs for more on this.)

Our two panelists were David Morrison, former gay activist and author of Beyond Gay, and Peter Murphy, Director of Family Life for the Archdiocese of Washington. David was able to speak from his experience as a Catholic convert with same-sex attraction, and Peter reinforced the teachings of the Church on chastity and marriage.

In order to keep the conversation as open, honest, and comfortable, we did not record the evening. However, I want to share an interview called “The Homosexual Reality” with Melinda Selmys (self-described as a former secular lesbian) and Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons (a psychologist who has counseled many people with same-sex attraction). The interview hits on many of the same themes that were discussed at Conversations.

For more information on upcoming Conversations, email [email protected].

4 Replies to “Conversations: Same-Sex Attraction”

  1. I think the wrong question is being asked. In my view, the question shouldn’t be, “is the Church out of date,” but rather, “is the Church right/wrong?”

    If most of us were honest (rather than PC), I think we’d admit what we know is true- same-sex attraction isn’t as okay as hetero-sexual attraction. Across party lines and religious affiliations, people prepfer heterosexuality for themselves and loved ones. Yet still, we are bullied and belittled by “common sensibility” to openly, overtly accept what we privately do not.

    If I express my religious beliefs regarding sexuality, I am attacked as being a bigot and homophobe. I’m not. I’m not afraid of those who are attracted to members of the same sex; I’m afraid of those who want to tell me I must accept another lifestyle as good.

  2. Amen Anon. right-ness and wrong-ness are not simply matters of timeliness. The Truth is always relevant when it is preached with authenticity.

  3. I was having a conversation with a friend of mine recently about this issue and we disagreed about what a repentant homosexual should or shouldn’t feel. My opinion is that someone who has experienced same-sex attraction needs only to live a chaste life, both physically and mentally. My friend said that if they have really repented their desires will, over time, become heterosexual. What do you think?

    My opinion is based largely on personal experience with other deadly sins. Lust in particular is something I have to consciously fight against. And there are days where the only thing keeping me from lusting is the knowledge that it is wrong and the feelings need to be repressed and sanctified. Obviously, I hope in persevering by God’s grace, to be able one day to fully overcome temptation and that all my desires will be holy and rightly directed, but I can’t honestly claim that now. Yet, I don’t believe there is any reason for me to believe that God rejects those who earnestly fight against sin and when they fall, get back up, repent, and grow in holiness.

    Just some thoughts. What are yours?

    1. Hi Billy,

      Thank you for your question.

      To clarify, no one needs to repent of being homosexual, ie having same-sex attraction. That is not a sin.

      Lustful thoughts and lustful actions are a sin, and chastity (according to your state in life) is something that we all must pursue as you said.

      Every person is unique, and chastity is possible for ever person whether they have same-sex or opposite-sex attraction. From interviews I have heard with psychologists and people with same-sex attraction, a person does not simply revert back to hetrosexuality. I have hear it said that through therapy and/or spiritual direction 1/3 realize that they have a stronger same-sex attraction, 1/3 do not have a change in their attraction, and 1/3 realize that they do have opposite-sex attraction.

      Melinda Selmys, the woman interviewed in the link above, participated in therapy, and now she is happily married to a man and has children of her own.

      David Morrison, who we heard at Conversations, is still attracted to men. He lives a chaste lifestyle, and while he no longer calls his partner a “lover” they continue to have a deep friendship.

      There is no simple “cause” of homosexuality and no simple “cure”. The greatest thing we can all do, whether single, married, straight, or gay, is to direct our desires towards God for healing and sanctification.

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