Another Perspective on Homosexual Orientation

A friend of mine, theology professor Colin Kerr, has created the Canadian Society of Catholic Bloggers,which aggregates posts from the growing Canadian Catholic blogosphere.

Seeing as we have "Fake Bill Tighe" posting here, apparently concerned about gay issues, I thought this post that I came across via the Society's web site might be interesting.

I would encourage "Fake Bill Tighe" to enter respectfully into discussion here or our Moderator will ban him.  But in the meantime, how do we as Catholics ensure that those who struggle with same-sex attraction feel welcomed in our midst?  How do we genuinely love them and at the same time uphold the whole of Catholic teaching?

This is an excerpt from Melinda Selmys' blog Sexual Authenticity: Homosexuality and Catholicism:

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I recently had a run in with Father Harvey's argument that there is no such thing as a homosexual orientation, because all people are innately heterosexual. I think this is a lovely and rather clever argument which suffers from only two drawbacks: 1) it uses language in a way that is contrary to common usage, and 2) it's not compelling enough to justify its incomprehensibility.

Point 1 is fairly straightforward. When most people talk about homosexuality as a sexual orientation they're talking experientially, not metaphysically. Unless you happen to be talking to a very committed gay philosopher who believes that his homosexuality forms the ontological matrix of his personhood, this argument commits a category error. The average gay, when he says “I'm homosexual,” means, “I experience predominate/exclusive sexual attraction for members of my own sex.” When he says “My homosexuality is innate,” he means, “I have had homosexual attractions for as long as I've had any attractions at all, and the tendency to have such attractions has probably been with me since birth.” The statement, “you are actually innately heterosexual” is meaningless in this context, because it has absolutely no referrent within his experience. It may be true, but it is true in a way that risks being alienating because it is not recognizable.

Truth should not be like that. Truth is effective when it is coupled with beauty in such a way that it resonates within the chambers of the heart. The heartstrings are plucked so that there is immediate recognition: Yes! That. Ita est. There is no need for a clever argument because it's obvious that the truth has been spoken, that the strings of my heart and the strings of the heart of the other are playing in tune. Christ's statements are always like that. He never argues. He just says things, and if your ears are open, and the heart is properly tuned, then it is obvious that what He's saying is True.

Which brings me to the second objection that I have with this argument. It states that the fundamental sexual orientation of the human person is heterosexual. I politely disagree. I think that the fundamental sexual orientation of the human person is Christological.

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Interesting, no?  I do not know enough about Theology of the Body to know whether I agree or disagree with her interpretation.  And I believe there is something innate about our nature as male or female.  I detest talk of "gender," a malleable, relativistic linguistic term that is wreaking havoc on our ability to understand basic objective reality, which includes our biological sexual differences.

But I also reject views that consider homosexual behavior and orientation a simple matter of a lifestyle choice like one might choose Starbuck's coffee over that of Tim Horton's or Dunkin' Donuts.  I would like to know that any person with same-sex attraction who is searching and yearning for a deeper relationship with Christ and may not have his or her act together in terms of chastity or celibacy would find a friend in me, not a friend who would enable or encourage behavior that might separate one from Christ, but one who knows she is in no position to judge.

Author: Deborah Gyapong

Deborah Gyapong is a member of the Sodality of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary ( in Ottawa, a former parish of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (Traditional Anglican Communion) whose members were received individually and corporately into the Roman Catholic Church on April 15, 2012 by Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast at St. Patrick’s Basilica. Under the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, the community will celebrate an approved Anglican Use liturgy and hopes to soon join with other sodalities across Canada to form the Canadian Deanery of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter under Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Ordinary. As we wait for our priest(s) to be ordained as Catholic priests, God willing, Archbishop Prendergast will provide priests to celebrate our Sunday Eucharist according to the Anglican Use. Deborah is a journalist who covers religion and politics in Canada’s national capital, writing primarily for Roman Catholic newspapers since 2004. Her novel The Defilers, published in 2006, was not a best seller, alas. She spent 17 years at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in news and current affairs, including 12 years as a television producer.

7 thoughts on “Another Perspective on Homosexual Orientation”

  1. I'm not going to lie, the idea of a "Fake Bill Tighe" gimmick sounds like it has great comic potential, as would a "Fake Karl Perkins" gimmick. 18th-century-style satire and burlesque is highly underrated in comboxes, if you ask me.

    1. Knowing as I do both the real Fr Hunwicke and the real Dr Tighe, I think any fakes could not fail to be vastly inferior to the originals.

  2. "I think that the fundamental sexual orientation of the human person is Christological."

    This statement appears to deform our understanding of a relationship with Christ into a sexual one (seeing as 'sexual orientation' is used in no other context). If your theological construct turns the relationships of one half of the human race to Christ into homosexual relationships, you're probably doing something wrong.

  3. Craig: Is sex something dirty, sinful? This seems to be an awfully puritanical, un-Catholic approach.
    If God took flesh and became Man, and if we consist of body, soul and spirit, of course our relationship with Jesus Christ must engulf all aspects of our bodily being, including physical. What else is receiving the Body of Christ into our own body, if not physical union with Him? And how is this different from marital union – understood in its original meaning, purified of its sinful aspects?
    So yes, every human being should be Christologically orientated, yes, Christ lies at the bottom of all our desires, and yes, also homosexual desires, though horribly misled, aim at Christ.

    1. You're conflating two different things. Marital (sexual) union is part of creation and is not sinful. Homosexual union is contrary to the created order (as we are told in several instances in the Bible and in the Catechism), and is sinful.

      What does this for our physical relationship to Christ? I don't know. All I know is that it is a mistake to generalize from the existence of sex to the sexualization of every type of relationship. And if you argue that you are not limiting 'sex' to refer to bodily acts, then I will have to reply that your definition is too esoteric for me to know what you mean.

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