Homosexuality and Catholicism and Personal Beliefs! ( Oh My!)

Homosexuality and Catholicism and Personal Beliefs! ( Oh My!) July 1, 2016


So, a funny thing happened on my way my to the log in: I was going to sign in here to write a post on something completely different, but I logged onto Facebook first. I found a thread where I was asked a question I had never been asked before, one I thought it might be worthwhile to answer here. First I will give you the question I was asked, then an edited version of my answer.

I do not really know what your stance on those with homosexuality is, other than the fact that you do not believe that they should be abused or looked down on (which I would agree with), and that you also get upset when you see they are not given their due respect (also commendable).
I am not sure whether you condone homosexual lifestyles or if you find that Catholic teachings on the topic are archaic or what.

Uhm, if you think that Catholic teaching bothers me, you don’t read my wall much. (Which is fine.)

Since you asked, no, it doesn’t.

Bigots who claim to speak for Catholicism I have no patience for. I rather think that we, as Catholics, owe God and the world public penance for them.

As to my view of homosexuality- the term is a little vague without context (it could mean one or more of a number of experiences and/or practices) so I will speak about sexuality more generally.

I accept, as does my religious tradition, that heterosexual monagamy and sexual abstinence are good things- when properly integrated with relevant virtues. Like all things, though, they are pretty sour when mixed with, or used as cover for, vices. Heterosexual monogamy and sexual abstinence are the only forms of sexual behavior encouraged in Catholic ethics.

As to other sexual practices – there are those who have different ethical beliefs than those advocated by my tradition (and by extension by myself) but I would be radically outside my tradition and my conscience to judge those persons for their beliefs. I content myself with simply believing differently. If someone who doesn’t share my beliefs wants to talk about those beliefs and why we believe different things, they know how to find me.

I think those of differing beliefs about sexuality can get along in civil society, provided we try to be polite about it. More important than politeness, though, is consent. By consent, I do not only mean in the sense of not compelling another to engage in any kind of sexual or sexualized behavior without their uncoerced and adult consent; I also mean that one cannot presume to try alter the beliefs of another in sexual or sex-related matters (or at all), by any means other than persuasion.

Of course, mere personal respect for consent in sexual behavior is insufficient. A civilized society demands not only a personal conscience formed to respect consent, but a societal rejection of any breach of consent. It is not enough for individuals not to rape; society must hold rapists accountable. If you excuse or deny events when a rape occurs, then you are testifying against yourself and your society, effectively saying you stand with the rapist in their actions.

Consent in belief is similar- one may do whatever one wishes to attempt to persuade another to share one’s beliefs, but any attempt at coercion of belief is utterly unethical. (Note that threats of horrible earthly consequences and warnings of hellfire can be attempts at moral coercion.) If you accept coercion, even moral coercion, then you are against conscience. Not only against your own conscience if it is well-formed, but against the very notion of conscience, since you would deny your victim the obligation to follow their own conscience, whatever you personally think of how it is formed.

I speak of consent here in secular ethical terms, but I believe the same view could be argued from Catholic theological premises also.

When next I write, it will be time for something completely different.

(image via pixabay)

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