A Pew Research Center study of 1,197 LGBT adults released on June 13, 2013, found that 79% of those questioned rated Catholicism as “unfriendly” to LGBT people. Only 4% view our Church as “friendly.” Sadly, I think this has more to do with a false perception of the Church, rather than to what the Church actually teaches. Essentially, the purpose of the Church is relatively simple: “To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son’s Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation.” (CCC #845) God did not send His only Son to condemn, dominate, or destroy, but to heal. In fact, this is directly in line with the words of Christ himself: “They that are well have no need of a physician, but they that are sick. For I came not to call the just, but sinners.” (Mark 2: 16-17) Therefore, the Church is made up of sinners, the broken, the wounded, the diseased, and the fallen. And, Jesus wants to restore us completely, for: “…he has come to heal the whole man, soul and body; he is the physician the sick have need of. His compassion toward all who suffer goes so far that he identifies himself with them: “I was sick and you visited me.” (CCC #1503)
Regrettably, and partly because Catholicism is comprised of sinners, the entire structure of the Lord’s Church is oftentimes disdained because a few of its members have made certain very bad decisions. For instance, in my own life: some of the finest men that I ever had the grace of knowing were Catholic priests; the first that comes to mind is the saintly Fr. John Harvey – the founder of Courage. Conversely, some of the wickedest individuals that I ever came across were also priests; one in particular, that was blessedly afterward laicized. But, I have never held that against the Church, because: could I ask the Lord to be any less charitable towards others than He was to me. After all, the Church is home to many – from all over the world and from all walks of life. Just like the gay community: it has attracted the honorable and the ugly. For instance, would it be fair to judge all homosexuals by the actions of Jeffrey Dahmer? Of course not. For myself, I would rather remember some of the noble characters I met, such as the honest and dauntless Randy Shilts. For, there are Universal truths of goodness and kindliness that we all recognize and strive towards. Yet the Church treasures the divine spark within all Men, and therefore justly calls us to always reach for the highest possible goal; ultimately towards Sainthood.
Since the Church desires that all God’s children reach perfection, she asks that we go to the Lord for healing. And, because of Man’s fallen nature, we have all been wounded and tormented by the evils of the world. This fact has invariably caused us to seek out and become attached to earthly holdings of fleeting pleasure and security. In the gay lifestyle, this means our reliance upon the fabricated existence of the gay orientation, the false freedom of sexual liberation, and the modern hope of acknowledged normalcy through same sex marriage. Because the Church wants something better for us, than to be slaves to our passions, it does not mean that she is heartless, prejudicial, or homophobic. In reality, the Church is the antithesis – for she receives all, no matter their current state of being. The Church has admitted its desire to save souls, even in its brokenness, because like Man: “the Church…travels the same journey as all humanity and shares the same earthly lot with the world…” (CCC # 854) Just as the Lord forgave the proud and ultimately weak St. Peter, He will also pardon our many limitations and raise us up to the heavenly altar. But, this glory requires, as Peter submitted to be crucified on his head, our all-embracing sacrifice and renunciation of self. To my gay brothers and sisters, this mean admitting to ourselves that we are more than just a sexual tendency; we are a distinct person made in the image of God.