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Homosexuality and the Path to Hope

I have said in previous posts that it is possible some cases of homosexual attraction are caused by irreversible conditions, such as genetic endowment or irreversible trauma. According to a rather extensively documented review by the Catholic Medical Association, entitled CMA Homosexuality and Hope, there are no established (i.e., duplicatable and duplicated) studies implicating genetic origins. This report outlines a number of psychological factors that correlate with the establishment of a homosexual attraction in teenagers that may or may not survive into adulthood. Indeed, there appears to be substantial clinical experience indicating that a homosexual attraction is, in principle, a reversible condition, not through hormonal tinkering, but simply through a variety of talk therapies. Any psychological therapy, no matter how effective in principle, will always fail if the patient has no motivation to accept change, and indeed positively resists it. The literature on psychotherapy is replete with instances of resistance to therapy and so-called transferrence phenomena that sometimes motivates such resistance. For homosexual behavior, the typical sources of resistance would obviously be greatly buttressed by a predominate social climate that assumed that homosexuality is inherently a good thing, something to be prized by its possessor. In such a climate, attempts to "cure" homosexuality would be in the same position that G.K. Chesterton regarded Catholicism, as something that people saw as tried and found wanting, but that was actually not tried. Similarly, it makes a great deal of difference to the human soul whether a convinced homosexual believes that the inclination is intrinsically disordered or not and whether the behavior is intrinsically immoral or not. The difference is a matter of whether the person is capable of receiving the grace of repentance. In particular, without entering into a repentant frame of mind regarding past homosexual behavior, any other changes for the better would be impossible. Beyond the grace of redemption, such a person would be utterly without hope. Living without real hope always leads to hatred. It's almost impossible to live without hope, however, and anyone who does so for any length of time is highly likely to take one or more of the following courses of action:
  1. Suicide. This is the case of hatred turned exclusively inward.
  2. Denial of the sinfulness of homosexual behavior (or of whatever factors present an obstacle to hope), accompanied quickly by total denial of its medical risk, etc., potentially complicated by a subconscious self-hatred, hatred of society, hatred of authentic Judeo-Christian tradition and its practicioners, and, ultimately, hatred of God. This is an isolationist form of an unfocused hatred.
  3. Psychopathic self indulgence, leading to preying on children and adolescents to gain a sense of power in an attempt to treat an underlying sense of powerlessness. This is an isolationist form where the hatred is focused outward.
  4. Entering into a crusade to change society to a pro-homosexual world view. In this pattern, all hatred is focused on groups and individuals that oppose the crusade. This form is, however, decidedly non-isolationist, but the socializing impetus is largely restricted to persons of a similar outlook, and much time and energy is focused on purifying comrades.
Other combinations are, of course, possible. It is important to recognize that even without hope of changing a homosexual orientation, there is always the hope of living a chaste moral lifestyle, even in a culture that practically condemns it. No one is beyond the grace of God if they are receptive to it. It is when the source of grace itself is demonized that the reception of grace becomes impossible. [Cf. Matt 12:31] It is only when a person is able to admit failure that failure can be overcome. It is only when a person can admit deficiency that the deficiency can be compensated for. It is only when a person can admit sinfulness that they can receive the grace of repentance. No matter how deeply a person falls into the gay culture, it is possible for that person to reach out to God and receive the grace of living a life of purity, and, upon receiving that grace, to come to realize that God's love is often lavished most upon the weakest. And, knowing the love of God, anyone can learn to love themselves purely out of love for God. That is not only the paradox of God's love, not only the paradox of unselfish self love, but the love that ultimately unites all in Holy Communion. I have said above that the ultimate consequence of living without hope is hatred. Hope, however, flourishes in an atmosphere of love. People who know God's love do not hate anyone. They do not hate gays. They do not hate straits. They do not hate evangelicals. They do not hate atheists. They do not hate Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Shintoists, Taoists, "Moonies", Bahais, Zoroastrians, Voodoos, Wiccas or anyone else. They may hate some ideas in one or more of these faiths as destructive of the call to be human, but they do not hate humans. Real love is open to the inherent dignity of all people, whether the behavior they practice is inherently dignified or whether it is not. There is, on the other hand, a type of false irenicism based upon unreflective inclusivity, where all lifestyles are accepted as equally legitimate, regardless of their potential to affirm or to deny the essential dignity of human life. I have referred in previous posts to aneuploidy, a phenomenon wherein the diploid arrangement of chromosomes in each cell is lost in one or more chromosomal pairs. There are a variety of effects documented in the medical literature of this phenomenon. I have also said that these phenomena do not make the person who exhibits them any less human than anyone else. If God has permitted the flourishing of such a person beyond the stage of conception, then God has endowed that person with a human soul. God has endowed that person, in other words, with his own image and likeness. But, and this is also well documented in the medical literature, the parents of these babies are routinely advised to seek an abortion, so that the baby will not have to grow up in a society that fails to recognize their inherent dignity. This is particularly true of the cases that result in mental retardation. It is a type of false compassion that is, at bottom, a sellout to the utilitarian perspective of human worth. It is decidedly not an integrally inclusivist perspective. Yet this reverse-inclusivity at the beginning of life is most often accompanied by a utilitarian inclusivity for those who already have found a viable place in society. It is this false inclusivity that has accounted for the retardation of true growth in communion among all peoples. Rather than being a firm foundation for hope, it is a quicksand ultimately leading to disillusionment, alienation and despair. It is an easy openness that eliminates the real work of growing in true openness to the dignity of others and to the real gifts that others bring to the heavenly banquet table. Rather than celebrating inherent differences and discovering the genuine positive good in most such differences, it minimizes them. Ultimately, it is God who planned the path to salvation. It is God who designed and created the human person. It is God who revealed to us how to grow in genuine, not false, communion. It is God's own communion, the communion of the Blessed Trinity, that is the model for, the goal of and the power that enables true communion. It is a theological fact that the inherent differences of the persons of the Trinity are all relational differences. These relational differences are inherently asymmetric, but in no case sacrifice the infinite dignity and equality of the persons. It is precisely these relational differences that are the foundation of the relational differences that God designed in people from the beginning. (It is highly likely that God designed the laws of physics to include both fundamental symmetries and fundamental asymmetries for precisely this reason. They provide clues to God's own nature. Consider, for example, the asymmetry of proton-electron pairing and attraction.) Participation in these designed relationships according to God's design is the ultimate training for future participation in the Communion of the Trinity. Denying or blurring God's design ultimately leads to great evil, however innocently it is first entered into. Because of the sinfulness of humanity, beginning with our primordial parents, God permitted ongoing deviations from his ideal. Not all of us possess the capacity for the ideal of permanent, monogamous heterosexual relationship. It serves no good purpose to deny the reality of this ideal. It serves no good purpose to deliberately cultivate alternatives that exploit sexual manipulation, divorced as it is from the generativity of heterosexual union, for selfish pleasure or for false ideals of love. The only fruitful and sustainable path to love, to hope, to faith, ultimately lies in unselfish dedication to God's plan, and the willingness to let God be the teacher.