Whereas homosexuality has been present in the world for centuries, it is not until recent decades that homosexuals openly identified themselves as gays. The recent decades have seen the popularization of the term LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer). Whereas the term was coined in the late 19th century, its popularity grew in the late 20th century and has continued to increasingly grow ever since (Xie & Peng, 2018). Historically, many societies have frowned upon homosexuality. However, the increasingly growing popularization of the LGBTQ community has seen homosexuality attract significant acceptance. Whereas the Catholic Church has made significant efforts to provide inclusive pastoral care to homosexuals, it still considers homosexuality immoral. This paper seeks to explore homosexuality in contemporary culture and the Catholic Church.
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The Contemporary Issue – Homosexuality
In the past few decades, the conflict between the homosexual community and religious groups has escalated. Traditionally, cultural and religious backgrounds inform most people’s perspectives regarding sexual orientation. Most of the cultural and religious groups have traditionally frowned upon homosexuality and, therefore, considered the practice a taboo. As a result, the recent acceptance of the LGBQ community in the modern world has caused antagonism between religious groups and the homosexual community. Homosexuals believe that their sexual orientation is innate and they have the individual right to do what makes them happy as long as it is not hurting anyone. On the other hand, religious groups, such as the Catholic Church, believe that homosexuality is contrary to the natural law, therefore, immoral.
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Catholic Church Belief Regarding Homosexuality
The Catholic Church is the largest Christian denomination in the world. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is a text consisting of teachings and dogmas of the Church, views homosexuality as intrinsically immoral. The Catechism elucidates that homosexuality is contrary to the natural law and is objectively disordered. Notably, the Catholic Church does not consider homosexuality “sinful.” According to the Church, homosexuality is not particularly a sin but rather a tendency inclined toward an intrinsic moral evil. As such, the Catholic Church views homosexuality as an objective disorder. For this reason, the Catholic Church has not officially approved reparative therapy (“Stances of Faiths on LGBTQ Issues: Roman Catholic Church”, n.d.). Notably, this view is very different from other Christian denominations which out rightly consider homosexuality a sin.
The Catechism further asserts that individuals inclined to homosexuality should practice chastity. The doctrine also categorically specifies that society must accept homosexuals with respect and sensitivity. Thus, Catholics should avoid any form of discrimination against homosexuals. In recent years, the Catholic Church established the Catholic Association for Lesbian and Gay Ministry, which is an association of diocesan, parish, and campus-based ministries whose objective is to provide inclusive pastoral care with homosexuals (“Stances of Faiths on LGBTQ Issues: Roman Catholic Church”, n.d.). Urging homosexuals to practice chastity hints that the Catholic Church frowns upon homosexuality. Whereas the Church claims that society should accept homosexuals it urges them to refrain from sexual intercourse.
Pope’s Comments on Homosexuality
On many occasions, Pope Francis has expressed his support for homosexuals. For instance, in a 2013 press conference, when asked about homosexuality, the Pope replied, “If a person is gay and seeks out the Lord and is willing, who am I to judge that person?” On another occasion in a conversation about homosexuality, the Pope commented, “I am glad that we are talking about ‘homosexual people’ because before all else comes the individual person, in his wholeness and dignity. The Pope also added, “People should not be defined only by their sexual tendencies; let us not forget that God loves all his creatures and we are destined to receive his infinite love” (McElwee, 2016). However, the Pope continues to insist that Priests cannot bless same-sex marriages. The Pope insisted that whereas homosexuals have a place in the Catholic Church, Catechism does not permit same-sex unions (Harlan & Bailey, 2021).
Personal Reaction to the Issue
Whereas the Catholic Church has made significant strides towards equality and inclusivity for homosexual persons, it still has not fully embraced homosexuality as an accepted practice. The Catholic Church insists that people should treat homosexual individuals with respect and without any form of discrimination. However, it goes ahead to discriminate against homosexuals by insisting that they should practice chastity. Additionally, the comments by the Pope show that the Catholic Church still frowns upon homosexuality. The Pope insists that he does not judge a person based on their sexual orientation. However, he contradicts himself when he asserts that Priest cannot bless same-sex marriages. To sum up, the Catholic Church has made great strides towards inclusion with regard to homosexuality; however, it is still far from fully embracing homosexuals as it considers homosexuality contrary to the natural law and immoral.
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