Moral Issues

Reality Check for Active Homosexual Catholics

by Mary Kochan

Andrew Sullivan, famous for being a politically conservative, "gay" pundit and for his extraordinary use of blogging, has weighed in with expressions of grief over the document Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons, issued by Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Sullivan is so grief-stricken as to consider leaving the Catholic Church because "the pope just called the love I have for my boyfriend ‘evil.’" This is not true. Sullivan's affection for his partner may be partly based upon the genuine goods enjoyed by friends. There may be many elements of it that are similar to a deep friendship between two heterosexual men. It may include solicitude for the other's well-being, sharing of material assets, companionship in shared interests, and pleasure in one another's company. These things are not evil and the Church has not said they are. But it is not these things that define the relationship as a "homosexual" one.

What the Church, reiterating her own constant Tradition, has condemned specifically are "homosexual acts." These are what are labeled evil. And the conclusions which follow are spelled out, culminating in rejection of any attempt to give a relationship defined by these evil acts the same legal status as marriage.

What the Vatican is saying is that regardless of Sullivan's possible genuine human affection, even "love" for his partner, the homosexual acts in which they engage are not expressions of love, but of a selfish lust that is intrinsically disordered. If Sullivan and his partner truly "loved" one another and sought the good of the other, they should stop degrading each other by participating in the perversions that are necessary for two men to indulge in the fantasy that they are "having sex" with each other.

Chuck Colbert is another homosexual pundit and the Boston-based correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter. In a piece for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Colbert, like Sullivan, complains about the Church's insistence that homosexual acts are evil and calls this the Vatican's "absurd reductionism of gay and lesbian identity to mere 'homosexual acts'", but it is homosexuals who have identified themselves by acts in which they engage. Colbert decries this focus on the "acts" that define homosexuality because it clarifies the language that the "gay" agenda has so long tried to obfuscate: "We are gay. We are lesbian. Why can't the Vatican use the g- and l-words?" He would rather be called "gay" because he thinks that that word does not call to mind, as the word "homosexual" does, the very acts that make it disordered, but until we have a solid population of people who call themselves “gay” and “lesbian” but who do not repudiate homosexual acts, Colbert is fooling himself.

Colbert charges that in "[s]peaking out against same-gender civil marriage, President Bush and the Vatican display an appalling ignorance of gay people." As far as he is concerned those all who oppose "civil unions" and "gay marriage" are likewise ignorant; they "don't really know us or understand why we want to marry."

Colbert has it exactly backwards; we do know them and why they want to "marry." They want to marry for the legal and economic benefits that a marriage license provides, but that is not the only, or even the primary, reason. The main reason they want to marry is to indulge in the fantasy that they are "having sex" with each other and that this is just as normal and right and natural as a married man and woman having sex. They suffer under the delusion that if they call themselves "married" and all the rest of us play along, that we (and they) will forget that there is anything wrong going on here: that some kind of mental fog will drift down upon our minds and we will no longer recognize the simple differences that we even use to identify hardware and electrical connections and with us thus beclouded they will not have to endure anymore the knowing looks that shame them. Having us not know them, not recognize them is the true aim of their "marriage" agenda. Their goal is not merely legal recognition and fair treatment but acceptance as normal and what most bothers them about this Vatican document is the clear statement that such acceptance is impossible: "No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman."

We are not befuddled, nor is the Vatican. We know that homosexuals are, as Colbert says, "human beings with real lives and families" and it is to their full humanity the Vatican is appealing in commending to them the same life of chastity that it recommends to all people.

Catholics like Sullivan and Colbert, who are determined to reject what the Church teaches on this issue, may leave the Church when the reality finally dawns on them that they cannot by agitation, propaganda or fits of pique force the Church to change its teaching. But there is another reality that they may find even harder to swallow. They can never erase from the psyche of normal people repugnance of homosexual acts. Homosexual acts are not morally wrong just because they are disgusting, but natural disgust expresses something true.

This is why "gay" marriage will not satisfy homosexuals. If it is indeed enacted by law, it will not erase this knowledge from the minds of "straight" people. Even in that appellation is the recognition of homosexual deviance, for to be not "straight" is to be bent, twisted from one’s true form.

It has been out of fashion for a long time now to point out what is the clear truth of scripture and natural law -- that homosexuals have something deeply wrong in them that is expressed by engaging in acts that are harmful to the body, degrading to the spirit and that endanger the soul. Being ttuned with a compassionate ear to their pleas to end unjust discrimination and to provide them with pastoral care and social dignity does not dull our awareness of the true nature of homosexual acts. And certainly, as we deal with homosexuals we may know who struggle (as we all must and perhaps with even more valor) to live chastely, we should never allow this awareness to obscure the person before us. Who of us wants to be identified as our besetting sin? But while love covers a multitude of sins, love does not lie and pretend that sin is not sin, that evil is good, that disordered acts are normal.

The Church has expressed perfect love for Sullivan and Colbert, for all homosexuals, and for all people of good will by recalling us to what is true and admonishing us to act upon it.

Mary Kochan
April 2, 2004


Mary Kochan, the lead content editor of Catholic Exchange was raised as a third-generation Jehovah’s Witness. Before converting to Roman Catholicism, she worked in Evangelical Protestant ministry, speaking and teaching in many settings. She is a member of St. Theresa parish in Douglasville, GA. Her tapes are available from Saint Joseph Communications.