Is it possible to be gay and Catholic? After extensive interviews, CNA has found that to a silent majority, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’. For those who experience same-sex attraction and want to live in accord with the teachings of the Church, there are active apostolates, support groups, and therapists who provide counsel on the integration of spirituality and sexuality to live fully in communion as a practicing Catholic.
Yet, what is often presented in secular and some faith-based spaces is that happiness is tied directly to the unrestrained expression of human sexuality, and any attempt to prevent sexual expression is rendered harmful.
Remiss from articles such as Eve Tushnet’s recent piece in America magazine is the nuanced understanding of God’s gifts of human sexuality, intimacy, and sexual expression, experts told CNA.
“This article could have been a beautiful opportunity to reveal the joy and freedom in chastity—a virtue proposed (not imposed) by the Church for all people in all states of life, and which can bring the realization that people who experience same-sex attractions are not automatically excluded from Holy vocation,” said Hudson Byblow, a Catholic speaker and consultant on human sexuality.
Instead, Tushnet proposes that life with same-sex attraction in the Church is at best misery living without marriage, and at worst, traumatic when seeking to understand one’s own desires. She purports a false dichotomy where the choices are either to choose your sexuality and forego living in communion with the Church, or to choose your faith and forego happiness.
“Catholics who experience same-sex attraction who want to live in accordance with Church teaching may be irresponsibly harmed by such a blanket condemnation of professional care for unwanted same-sex attraction,” said Philip M. Sutton, a current licensed marriage and family therapist, clinical social worker, and psychologist.
Elusive in Tushnet’s article is what many voices called “ the viable third way” of living with same-sex attraction and living in accordance with the Church.
“Any approach to sexual gratification besides chaste marriage or abstinence—including celibacy—is considered unacceptable, contrary to the natural law and genuine human flourishing, ultimately frustrating for the genuine peace and joy which human beings seek and need,” Sutton said.
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