Commentary

Homosexuality & Hope

In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association (APA) declared homosexuality was not a disorder but a normal psychological condition. The architect of that decision, Dr. Robert Spitzer has since reevaluated his position and now believes that homosexuals can change. The reason for this is that recent studies have shown that those homosexuals who have attempted to change have shown the same percentage of success as those with other psychological disorders. Homosexual disorder is not about sex. It's about what is called the three A's -- attention, affection, and approval. In almost all cases of male homosexuals the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) sees a hurt or disappointment (narcissistic injury) concerning the father figure when a boy is trying to solidify his masculine identity.
Unfortunately, since the original erroneous statement by the APA, the militant gay and lesbian groups have done enormous damage by propagating it and other lies, using the euphemism of 'alternate life style,' and pushing for public acceptance. Several heretical priests, nuns and public educators support this agenda.
Now comes the good news! In November of 2000, the Catholic Medical Association (CMA) sent each American bishop its recent statement on homosexuality, Homosexuality & Hope, offering a guideline for the treatment of homosexuals. This statement is intended to dispel many of the modern myths surrounding the causes and treatment of homosexuality, and offers guidelines for the pastoral counseling of homosexuals. These guidelines are in accord with standard psychological principles and traditional Catholic spiritual counseling.
The Catholic Medical Association provided the bishops with a review of the medical, scientific, and psychological studies on homosexuality and Church teaching in the hope that this work will serve as an educational and reference tool for Catholic clergy, physicians, mental health professionals, educators, parents, and the general public.
Scripture and tradition has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. ROMANS 1:24 - 27 describes homosexuality and calls it a perversity. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) calls for chastity in dealing with homosexual inclination; n2348, and under no circumstances can homosexual activity be approved; n2333. The CMA statement, however, recognizes that some circumstances, "such as psychological disorders and traumatic experiences, ... can, at times, render this chastity more difficult as there are conditions which can seriously diminish an individual's responsibility for lapses in chastity. These circumstances and conditions, however, do not negate free will or eliminate the power of grace."
A review of the current literature on the subject provides no evidence of genetic predetermination for homosexuality, nor, are there reputable studies that discount the possibility that homosexuals can overcome same-sex attraction.
The first major section of the CMA report, titled "Not Born That Way," provides a rigorous refutation of current bogus 'scientific' propaganda that emerged early in the homosexual rights movement, namely that there is a 'gay gene.' This attempt to convince the public that homosexuals are born that way is a political ploy to advance a change in laws and religious teachings. The CMA report reminds the bishops: "Catholics believe that sexuality was designed by God as a sign of the love of Christ, the Bridegroom, for His bride, the Church, and therefore sexual activity is appropriate only in marriage. Healthy psychosexual development leads naturally to attraction by persons of each sex for the other sex. Trauma, erroneous education, and sin can cause a deviation from this pattern.
Persons should not be identified by their emotional or developmental conflicts as though this was the essence of their identity. In the debate between essentialism and social constructionism, the believer in natural law would hold that human beings have an essential nature -- either male or female -- and that sinful inclinations -- such as the desire to engage in homosexual acts -- are constructed and can therefore, be deconstructed. It is, therefore, probably wise to avoid wherever possible using the word 'homosexual' and heterosexual' as nouns since such usage implies a fixed state and an equivalence between the natural state of man and woman as created by God and persons experiencing same-sex attractions or behaviors.
The Catholic Medical Association report goes on to state that persons who have same sex attractions do so for a variety of reasons, the most common of which are:

  • Alienation from the father in early childhood. No study on the subject has ever recorded a homosexual who states he enjoyed a warm relationship with his father.
  • The mother was overprotective of a son or sons. In about 75% of the cases the mothers had an inappropriately close and intimate bond with their sons.
  • Mother was needy and demanding (boys).
  • Mothers who were emotionally unavailable to their daughters often promoted lesbianism.
  • Parents failed to encourage same-sex identification.
  • Lack of rough and tumble play resulting in painful loss of self-esteem.
  • Failure to identify with same-sex peers, especially in athletic activities.
  • Lack of hand/eye coordination and resultant teasing by peers.
  • Sexual abuse or rape including homosexuality.
  • Social phobia or extreme shyness. Major depression
  • Parental loss through death or divorce. Separation of parent during critical development stages.
  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD) usually from sexual abuse including father-son incest.
  • Pathological narcissism (loves ego-ideal).
  • Abortion of man's child may lead to decision to declare his homosexuality.

The CMA report affirms that if parents and peers meet the developmental needs of a child that same-sex attraction is extremely unlikely. Nevertheless, the needs of children are not always identifiable and gender identity disorders can develop. The greatest disservice that can ever be done to a young person with a gender identity disorder is to label the person as an unchangeable homosexual. Such adolescents can be given proper guidance to deal with emotional traumas. The CMA document provides an extensive review on reparative therapy for homosexuals.
With the power of grace, the sacraments, support from the community, and an experienced therapist, a determined individual should be able to achieve the inner freedom promised by Christ. Some will not achieve their goals. The individuals who still struggle will need compassion and sensitive support.
While any attempt to teach the sinfulness of illicit homosexual behavior may be greeted with accusations of 'homophobia,' the reality is that Christ calls all to chastity in keeping with their state of life.
The CMA report goes on to state that there is not enough support by the Catholic community for assisting those with same-sex attraction and, those needing support depend upon untrained and misguided individuals and groups to solve their problem. Unfortunately, most of these sources base their 'help' upon the mistaken idea that same-sex attraction is an unchangeable aspect of the individual. They give the impression that it is acceptable to engage in sexual acts provided this occurs in a faithful, stable, loving relationship. They suggest the individual to 'come out' with the mistaken hope that society and the Church will change its teaching on sexual morality.
The CMA document has an entire section that makes recommendations for priest, teachers, physicians, media professionals, and others to recognize the cause of the disorder, to defend the Church's teaching, counter false information, and to provide professional help.

Jim Fritz

Note: The full Catholic Medical Association statement Homosexuality & Hope is available on the Roman Catholic Faithful Web site - www.rcf.org.

 

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