The number of men and women who have deep-seated
homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination,
which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most
of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect,
compassion, and sensitivity.
Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard
should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill
God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians,
to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the
difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By their virtues
of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times
by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer
and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and
resolutely approach Christian perfection (The Catechism
of the Catholic Church, 2358-2359).
People with homosexual attitudes must be treated with
love and compassion, the more so since in most cases they
have acquired these attitudes through the negative influence
of their social environment. Rather than blame them, we
must try to imagine how deeply wounded they are, both
spiritually and psychologically. Total cure of homosexuality
may well require therapeutic counseling (see suggested
reading material below) but ultimately it is God’s
love that makes such a cure possible. Only Divine Love
is able to deliver people from their loneliness and sorrow,
to make them aware that they are loved at all times and
unconditionally. Homosexual persons must redirect their
attention away from their sexuality to the love of Jesus
To fully receive this healing love, people suffering
from homosexual desires must forgive all those who, by
their deeds, attitudes and evil influence, have contributed
to their disorder. They must offer their anger and sorrow
to God in prayer, and ask for the grace of bestowing forgiveness.
This unconditional forgiveness is the necessary condition
to opening one’s heart fully to the Divine gift
of healing. This must be accompanied by intensive prayer
and frequent reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation
and Holy Communion.
The return to chastity is a long and arduous journey
marked by frequent and painful failure. Patience is of
paramount importance throughout this stormy period. In
time, as the spiritual and emotional wounds heal, the
homosexual desires will become less severe, and, in many
cases, may disappear altogether.
For Christ there are no situations without solutions.
There are no people too sinful, too impure, or too wounded
to be healed. Those prone to homosexual behavior stand
every chance of being healed, provided that they have
complete trust in Christ and follow these steps:
- They will accept the teaching
of the Church on homosexuality, and make an effort to
live in chastity.
- They will devote their
entire lives to Christ through daily prayer, meditation,
recitation of the rosary, the reading of Holy Scripture,
and frequent reception of the Sacraments of Penance and
- They will make a clean
break with everything that may incite the sin of homosexual
behavior. It is especially important to get rid of homosexual
materials such as books, videos, and to sever all ties
with the homosexual milieu. This includes avoiding bars,
public baths, etc.
- They will do all they can
to spend time with heterosexual men and women. Joining
a parish prayer group or self-help groups under the auspices
of organizations like Courage may be a good solution.
The sense of solidarity that one derives from belonging
to such a group is of tremendous help in warding off temptations
The healing of homosexual tendencies is possible only
when a true spiritual conversion takes place. It requires
total trust in Christ and a willing effort to walk with
Him through life. This spiritual renewal will not occur
immediately, nor will full personal maturity be quickly
restored. To regain full control of one’s life requires
time, and this time will certainly be difficult. In the
meantime, intensive prayer and trust in Jesus will help
one to overcome strong homosexual temptations. Jesus will
heal our wounded emotions only if we agree, in obedience
and trust, to abide by His life-affirming principles.
If we lose faith in the healing power of Jesus, we
fall prey to the propaganda of homosexual groups who claim
that homosexuality is an inborn tendency and a natural,
“alternative” expression of human sexuality.
It is in the saving Cross of Jesus – observes
Pope John Paul II – in the gift of the Holy Spirit,
in the Sacraments, which flow forth from the pierced side
of the Redeemer (Jn 19:34), that believers find the grace
and the strength always to keep God’s holy law,
even amid the gravest of hardships (Veritatis Splendor
Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on
the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, Vatican Congregation
for the Doctrine of Faith, 1986; see also The Homosexual
Person: New Thinking in Pastoral Care, by Fr. John Harvey,
OSFS, Ignatius Press, San Francisco; Healing Homosexuality:
Case Stories of Reparative Therapy and Reparative Therapy
of Male Homosexuality: A New Clinical Approach by Dr.
Joseph Nicolosi. The latter two books may be purchased
by phoning 1-800-782-0015 or by writing to Regeneration
Books, P.O. Box 9830, Baltimore, MD 21284. Readers may
also wish to contact Courage, an organization directed
by Father Harvey to support those who suffer from homosexual
temptations. Not to be confused with the dissident homosexual
group Dignity, Father Harvey’s movement and its
sister organizations Courage-Anon and EnCourage are approved
by the Church and are growing steadily throughout North
America and abroad. For more information write to: Courage,
c/o St Michael’s Rectory, 424 West 34th Street,
New York, NY 10001, USA or telephone: (212) 421-0426.
Write also to the National Association for Research and
Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) 16542 Ventura Blvd.,
Suite 416, Encino, CA 91436, tel. (818) 789-4440. Dr.
J. Nicolosi, Director of the Thomas Aquinas Clinic and
Executive Director of NARTH, also provides counseling
over the telephone.