Homosexuality is a deep, deep wound in the Body of Christ. It’s not something that can be fixed with band-aid solutions. We need to get to the root of this wound, because that’s the only way we can effectively deal with it, prevent it, and heal the Body of Christ. And I don’t know if that’s going to happen in my lifetime or yours, but while we’re here, we can try.

There is a beautiful piece on feminism by Dale O’Leary, which I am adapting here because I think the same message applies when talking about homosexuality:

The question is not: Have homosexuals suffered? We all agree they have. The question is: Why and what should we do about it? To agree that homosexuals have suffered does not force one to agree with the homosexualist analysis of what causes that suffering and what should be done about it. The problem is that suffering creates bitterness and envy. And homosexualism breeds in bitterness and envy. This is why when we challenge homosexualist analysis of causes and solutions some homosexuals react defensively, feeling that we are denying their suffering.

I had a friend growing up; his name was Danny. He lived four houses down from ours. He spent time with us almost every single day, more frequently and for longer during the summers. He taught me how to make paper and foil flowers. Once he sewed a blue plaid dress for me; another time he made me a frilly deep-green blouse-and-skirt combo, with gold in the elastic waist, that showcased his talent. He was born with a heart defect, so his physique wasn’t great, and there were days when he appeared almost wispy the wind could just carry him off. He died in his twenties, just a few years after we migrated to the US. He was gay, and if he had been the only gay I ever met I would have equated gayness with the infectious happiness and lightness about life that Danny possesed, and which touched those close to him, that even now I think of him with a smile. He did have some heartaches during his short life here on earth, but whatever suffering he may have gone through seemed to be minimal compared to the love and acceptance he received from his family and others around him, including us.

Contrast Danny with my anthropology professor, who had a huge chip on his shoulder. He kept me for an hour and a half after class one evening, because he thought my friend and I had been whispering about him. In truth, we had been giggling about the two good-looking guys in the back, as college sophomores tend to do. He wouldn’t let me go until I admitted that we were talking about him, but I didn’t, and it wasn’t until I cried about missing the last bus home that he allowed me to leave.

While there are obviously happy, peaceful gays that exist, the majority of gays I’ve met online and off seem to have a disposition similar to my anthro professor — the angry, militant ones. There’s so much negativity lurking underneath the surface, that one is forced to ask, how did they get there?

The Catholic Medical Association has compiled a list of causes that lead to same-sex attraction, based on research.

(The pamphlet can be purchased from the Catholic Medical Association store. Bibliography here and here.)

Faulty interpersonal relationships, especially between parent and child, clearly lead to lifelong problems having to do with self-esteem, trust, anger, depression and many other disorders, homosexuality being one of them. In my personal, non-expert view, homosexuality could be a coping mechanism for those who go through much suffering in the way of relationships with family and authority.

The consequences of fatherlessness in America are well-documented. Motherlessness exists as well, but in America as of 2011, there were 10 million mothers raising children under 18 by themselves. Imagine the impact on those children who grow up without a father.

When I last wrote about the BSA policy change, I quoted from Fr. Lappe’s statement. I quote it again here because it’s pertinent to the ongoing conversation:

Based on the more scientific and research backed approach of the Catholic Medical Association here would be a series of more pointed questions which would actually get to the issues that could lead to hope and healing for the boy, rather than imprisoning him in that self-identification for the sake of political correctness:

Tom’s father was an alcoholic; he abandoned the family when Tom was five. To compensate, Tom’s mother was overprotective and began to depend upon Tom even from a very young age. Because of this, Tom never got to play with other boys his age and never played sports. Tom was molested by one of his mother’s boyfriends. Since the age of 12 Tom has been confused about his sexual desires and fantasies and thinks he might be gay. Is all of this acceptable? Should we all tell Tom that this is normal? Should we affirm that this 16 year old boy is, in fact, “gay”?

Or should we not have the courage and the love to stand up and say this is a tragedy, an all too common heartbreaking disaster? Should we not admit that it is sad and wrong from beginning to end– and that we are going to do everything we can to help kids like Tom?

No one wants to be told they’ve got a disorder: not the smoker, not the alcoholic, not the bulimic, not the pornography addict. No one likes to be told they need to change. For many, such disorders become self-affirming comfort zones. They feel happier, more secure, loved, no matter how fleeting that feeling is. And I believe it’s the same for the homosexual. Once they’ve embraced the identity of homosexuality, there’s a peace that comes with that — like a feeling of coming home or of being whole, except that it’s an illusory and tenuous peace.

The fact is, we can’t use a band-aid to patch up a gaping wound. When we embraced the sexual revolution, we bought into the idea that sex for procreation was archaic. We decided that sexual freedom was paramount. Unfortunately, we did not foresee that homosexuality would become one of its legacies. Prior to the sexual revolution, the intact unit of father-mother-child was the norm. Today we insist that this is not the case, in the same way that we insist that heterosexuality isn’t the norm either. But we did not subsume homosexuality into our definition of normal; instead we CHANGED our definition of what’s normal.

God had an original design for marriage and sex. The sexual revolution created a fissure in this design that eventually tore apart this dual dimension of sex being both procreative and unitive. Now people can just pick and choose what feels “right” for them. If they want sex for pleasure, so be it. Men no longer need women, as they could satisfy the sexual urge via other men. Women could have sex with other women. Neither needed the other to have children; we now have IVF. Dismissing the goods of marriage meant that men became free to wander and abrogate responsibility. Extramarital affairs, a cause for great scandal once upon a time, became the norm. Divorce was created. In all this the child was forgotten. We started a cycle of suffering that will not end until we get back to the norm. In focusing on what feels good, we forget about what is truly good: the wholeness of people. When we say that there is no fundamental difference between man and woman, and we continue to negate that difference by insisting that children are fine in a whatever household, we ignore the innumerable children that suffer from our choices.

Love and marriage were not nebulous decisions in the past. Boys grew up to be men, girls grew up to be women, they married and had children, cycle starts over. Today we have turned this cycle upside down. I have trouble wrapping my brain around the fact that when my boys get married, one of the things they’ll have to do early on is make sure that what they’re marrying are indeed women. Read that sentence again. Surely I’m not the only one who sees that as a sign that something has gone terribly wrong in this world. Bring back the norm, and we take back our children, and hence the culture.

The argument is often made that heterosexuals provide a bad example of what marriage and family should be, given that we have countless divorces, annulments, and separations. But the fact of the matter is that every child deserves a mother and a father. Admitting that we have done tremendous harm to children because of the way we have treated marriage does not justify a furthering of harm.

Ministering to the sick should not preclude prevention of the illness. Some may take the view that marriage is on its last legs; we don’t have to believe them. What we need is a NEW sexual revolution, one that entails a re-embracing of the truth of God’s design for sex.

Real Solutions in Part 2.

Helpful reading:

Children Need Our Marriage Tradition
What Marriage Has Become