By the Publisher
The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.
Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition. Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By their virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection (The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2358-2359).
People with homosexual attitudes must be treated with love and compassion, the more so since in most cases they have acquired these attitudes through the negative influence of their social environment. Rather than blame them, we must try to imagine how deeply wounded they are, both spiritually and psychologically. Total cure of homosexuality may well require therapeutic counseling (see suggested reading material below) but ultimately it is God’s love that makes such a cure possible. Only Divine Love is able to deliver people from their loneliness and sorrow, to make them aware that they are loved at all times and unconditionally. Homosexual persons must redirect their attention away from their sexuality to the love of Jesus Christ.
To fully receive this healing love, people suffering from homosexual desires must forgive all those who, by their deeds, attitudes and evil influence, have contributed to their disorder. They must offer their anger and sorrow to God in prayer, and ask for the grace of bestowing forgiveness. This unconditional forgiveness is the necessary condition to opening one’s heart fully to the Divine gift of healing. This must be accompanied by intensive prayer and frequent reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion.
The return to chastity is a long and arduous journey marked by frequent and painful failure. Patience is of paramount importance throughout this stormy period. In time, as the spiritual and emotional wounds heal, the homosexual desires will become less severe, and, in many cases, may disappear altogether.
For Christ there are no situations without solutions. There are no people too sinful, too impure, or too wounded to be healed. Those prone to homosexual behavior stand every chance of being healed, provided that they have complete trust in Christ and follow these steps:
- They will accept the teaching of the Church on homosexuality, and make an effort to live in chastity.
- They will devote their entire lives to Christ through daily prayer, meditation, recitation of the rosary, the reading of Holy Scripture, and frequent reception of the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion.
- They will make a clean break with everything that may incite the sin of homosexual behavior. It is especially important to get rid of homosexual materials such as books, videos, and to sever all ties with the homosexual milieu. This includes avoiding bars, public baths, etc.
- They will do all they can to spend time with heterosexual men and women. Joining a parish prayer group or self-help groups under the auspices of organizations like Courage may be a good solution. The sense of solidarity that one derives from belonging to such a group is of tremendous help in warding off temptations against chastity.
The healing of homosexual tendencies is possible only when a true spiritual conversion takes place. It requires total trust in Christ and a willing effort to walk with Him through life. This spiritual renewal will not occur immediately, nor will full personal maturity be quickly restored. To regain full control of one’s life requires time, and this time will certainly be difficult. In the meantime, intensive prayer and trust in Jesus will help one to overcome strong homosexual temptations. Jesus will heal our wounded emotions only if we agree, in obedience and trust, to abide by His life-affirming principles.
If we lose faith in the healing power of Jesus, we fall prey to the propaganda of homosexual groups who claim that homosexuality is an inborn tendency and a natural, “alternative” expression of human sexuality.
It is in the saving Cross of Jesus – observes Pope John Paul II – in the gift of the Holy Spirit, in the Sacraments, which flow forth from the pierced side of the Redeemer (Jn 19:34), that believers find the grace and the strength always to keep God’s holy law, even amid the gravest of hardships (Veritatis Splendor 103).
Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, 1986; see also The Homosexual Person: New Thinking in Pastoral Care, by Fr. John Harvey, OSFS, Ignatius Press, San Francisco; Healing Homosexuality: Case Stories of Reparative Therapy and Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality: A New Clinical Approach by Dr. Joseph Nicolosi. The latter two books may be purchased by phoning 1-800-782-0015 or by writing to Regeneration Books, P.O. Box 9830, Baltimore, MD 21284. Readers may also wish to contact Courage, an organization directed by Father Harvey to support those who suffer from homosexual temptations. Not to be confused with the dissident homosexual group Dignity, Father Harvey’s movement and its sister organizations Courage-Anon and EnCourage are approved by the Church and are growing steadily throughout North America and abroad. For more information write to: Courage, c/o St Michael’s Rectory, 424 West 34th Street, New York, NY 10001, USA or telephone: (212) 421-0426. Write also to the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) 16542 Ventura Blvd., Suite 416, Encino, CA 91436, tel. (818) 789-4440. Dr. J. Nicolosi, Director of the Thomas Aquinas Clinic and Executive Director of NARTH, also provides counseling over the telephone.
The above article was published with permission from Miłujcie się! in November 2010