Catholic World Report

Catholic doctrine preserves the life of LGBT members of the Church

By Autumn Jones for CNA

An LGBT rally in Portugal. Credit: Pedro Ribeiro Simões via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

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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1 Comment

  1. Some valid points in this article, but the use of certain loaded words – intentional or not – is problematic, and best avoided. For example, “‘LGBT’ members of the Church” “‘gay’ and Catholic”, “identify as ‘LGBT'”.

    Terms such as ‘LGBT’, ‘gay’, etc., are a “white-washed” product / indicate pseudo-“identities” of recent times. Recall:
    (And although speaking in the context of Church documents, the thoughts shared by Archbishop Chaput may also be recalled – )

    What is important is the person, whether he/she experiences same-sex attractions or clings to some pseudo-“identity”. [ ]

    It may be that some people use such terms simply because they are considered ‘colloquial’ / part of the ‘lingo’. But “baptizing” or ‘normalizing’ loaded terms and identities and making them part of standard discourse is a recipe for disaster and, whether wittingly or not, – playing right into the sort of ‘deconstruction’ mentioned in >> notice the lines: ´Organised religion is at the heart of LGBTI oppression and NEEDS TO BE DECONSTRUCTED. An engagement needs to come from groups within the churches. They need capacity-building and support. There are also smaller churches and breakaway churches from the large institutional churches. LGBTI organisations need to appropriate Christian values for a progressive rights agenda…LGBTI activism can EXPLOIT the sentiment of compassion inherent in

    Once one waltzes down the slippery-slope of loaded terms and pseudo-“identities”, sooner or later, one will have to contend with the “gingerbread cookie” – – and other made-up words – like the ones at and not to speak of the sort of slithering mentioned at and

    And then of course there are the Stefonknee Wolschts – , and “identities” of the next frontier, – for example: ¨virtuous pedophiles¨ ( ) or ¨non offending pedophiles¨ ( ) and “trans-species” –

    “Having same-sex attraction is not immoral and it does not make you a bad person” Yes. But in charity toward those who experience such attraction, among other things, the second paragraph in point 3 at should also be borne in mind, viz., that caution against an ‘*overly* benign interpretation’.
    Which is why the use of the words ‘is permissible’ in the following sentence could perhaps be better phrased and replaced with the words “may happen”…
    “Central to the conversation is the idea that there is a difference between the experience of same-sex attraction and acts based upon those feelings, wherein the first is permissible and the second violates the moral teachings of the Church.”

    As for Eve Tushnet,

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