Q: How should faithful Catholics behave toward homosexual persons?
A: The Catechism tells us that people with homosexual inclinations “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided” (CCC. 2358)
When dealing with same-sex-attracted persons, including those who are “out, loud and proud”about their sexuality, a Catholic’s first concern should always be for the dignity of the person. Whenever we put concerns about our culture or community first, we risk reducing the homosexual person to a piece of social and political currency.
Opposition to same-sex marriage, ordination of homosexuals, adoption of children by homosexuals, or any legislation that seeks to normalize same-sex relations must be undertaken in a spirit of love. The slightest hint of the self-righteous “leaven of the Pharisees” (Mt 16:6) has the capacity to render our effort not merely fruitless but destructive.
Facile solutions, such as waving “Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner” banners at “gay pride” events, will not suffice. The Catholic who shows, by his actions, that he loves, respects and values homosexual people will be able to lead them to conversion. He will also be able to argue convincingly against all the various forms of false compassion that lead to the normalization and justification of same-sex relations.
On the other hand, the Catholic who claims to love the sinner, but spends most of his actual time and effort hating the sin, will always be a source of scandal to the world.
Reply provided by: Melinda Selmys, a convert to the Catholic faith from a lesbian lifestyle, and the mother of five children. She edits fiction for vulgatamagazine.org and is the author of “Sexual Authenticity: An Intimate Reflection on Homosexuality and Catholicism” [The Catholic Answer, 2009]
One more note from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Letter to the Bishops on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons,” 1986 (No. 7):
This does not mean that homosexual persons are not often generous and giving of themselves; but when they engage in homosexual activity they confirm within themselves a disordered sexual inclination which is essentially self-indulgent.
As in every moral disorder, homosexual activity prevents one’s own fulfillment and happiness by acting contrary to the creative wisdom of God. The Church, in rejecting erroneous opinions regarding homosexuality, does not limit but rather defends personal freedom and dignity realistically and authentically understood.