Many people presume that the Catholic Church’s only explanation for its rejection of homosexual sex is, “because God says so.” I didn’t think science had anything to say in support of the Church’s position until I read a document called “Homosexuality and Hope” published by the Catholic Medical Association. I was surprised to find plenty of studies that pointed to very specific environmental causes for same-sex attraction. Some of the specific factors reported by almost all homosexuals are:
- Alienation from the father in early childhood, because the father was perceived as hostile or distant, violent or alcoholic, (Apperson 1968; Bene 1965; Bieber 1962; Fisher 1996 ; Pillard 1988 ; Sipova 1983 )
- Mother was overprotective (boys), (Bieber, T. 1971 ; Bieber 1962 ; Snortum 1969 )
- Mother was needy and demanding (boys), (Fitzgibbons 1999 )
- Mother emotionally unavailable (girls), (Bradley 1997 ; Eisenbud 1982 )
- Parents failed to encourage same-sex identification, (Zucker 1995)
- Lack of rough and tumble play (boys), (Friedman 1980 ; Hadden 1967 )
- Failure to identify with same/ sex peers, (Hockenberry 1987 ; Whitman 1977 )
- Dislike of team sports (boys), (Thompson 1973 )
- Lack of hand/ eye coordination and resultant teasing by peers (boys), (Bailey 1993 ; Fitzgibbons 1999 ; Newman 1976 )
- Sexual abuse or rape, (Beitchman 1991 ; Bradley 1997 ; Engel 1981 ; Finkelhor 1984; Gundlach 1967 )
- Social phobia or extreme shyness, (Golwyn 1993 )
- Parental loss through death or divorce, (Zucker 1995)
- Separation from parent during critical developmental stages. (Zucker 1995)
This data comes from non-Catholic sources that are supportive of the homosexual lifestyle: The Journal of Abnormal Psychology, British Journal of Psychiatry, Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Archives of Sexual Behavior, American Journal of Psychotherapy, Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, just to name a few. I always thought that homosexuality was determined to be genetic, but that claim has never been replicated in the laboratory. (No Catholic is obliged to believe this data. You have to decide whether the scientific method was properly applied, and that is a matter of science, not theology.)
Why has the American Psychological Association declared that these facts be ignored? Men that identify as gay are the ones reporting these issues. The gay men I encounter in the real world and the famous ones I read about report the same environmental factors. Shouldn’t childhood neglect and abuses be addressed?
The people I have encountered who are attracted to members of the same sex are not happy about it. It’s so unfair: first they are robbed of the love they deserve in childhood, and then they are drawn to a lifestyle where they will find:
- Promiscuity (In one CDC study of 6,700 gay men, 75% had more than 100 lifetime partners, 28% had more than 1,000)
- Depression and drug abuse (There are high rates even in Netherlands where homosexual relationships are far more socially acceptable than in the U.S.)
- Disease (A homosexually active lifestyle shaves 20 years off your life expectancy.)
Why was I taught in school that AIDS is an equal opportunity infector? There’s almost no chance of getting it unless you engage in very specific high-risk behavior. (have man/man sex, shoot up, or have sex with someone who does.) It is would be medically accurate and scientifically honest to discourage homosexual activity because it is dangerous, but it is politically incorrect to stigmatize only certain sex acts, so the facts are muddled and AIDS keeps killing. The Catholic Church tells the truth and that saves lives. Who loves you more, the person who tells the painful truth to save your life (and we believe, more importantly, your soul), or the person who hides the truth that might kill you?
I recently watched a story unfold online about homosexual adoption being legalized in Scotland against the will of the majority of its citizens. A group of homosexual advocates in the government initiated a study to see if children did just as well with homosexual parents as with a mother and father – and then refused to publish the results. But they continued to create policy, for example that to refer to a child’s parents as “Mom” and “Dad” was homophobic. In the end it was revealed that this group was really a pedophile ring. There was such secrecy, manipulation, and corruption in this story that I tried to find if any studies had surveyed the children of homosexual couples directly. This is what I found. John Paul II has elaborated on the right of children to have a biological mother and father and the inherent human need for them both; that an absent mother or father, whether due to death, or divorce, or laws that say two dads will do, is a disaster to be avoided. There is real world evidence to support that position.
If I suffered from same-sex attraction I would probably assume that Catholic Church would just point an accusing finger of scorn and rejection at me, but the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches explicitly that people who self-identify as gays and lesbians must be treated with ‘respect, compassion, and sensitivity’ (CCC #2358) For Catholics to do otherwise would be a sin. Even our current pope has said, “It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs… The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action, and in law.”
Homosexual inclinations are not chosen and are not a sin at all – they are a cross to be sympathized with. The Church offers support groups called “Courage” to help men and women find emotional support rather than confirming them in a deadly lifestyle. Catholics believe that, no matter what our inclinations, every woman is called to be a mother and every man a father, either literally or spiritually, and encourages everyone, married or single, to live lives of pure self-sacrificing love.
I love my brothers and sisters in Christ who suffer from same-sex attraction. I no more identify them by their behavior or inclinations than anyone else. If someone likes to cheat, I don’t call them an adulterosexual – I say they are committing a sin that spreads misery like all sins do. I want to prevent them from living a lifestyle that will make them miserable in this life and perfectly miserable in the next. (I’ve read many blog entries of older men warning younger ones about to enter the gay lifestyle that their idealistic views of faithfulness and fulfillment are about to be shattered.) We are all weak human beings, and someone who suffers from same-sex attraction is just another of my fellow travelers through this minefield of sin we call life. They will not step on mines if I can help it, and I hope they would do the same for me.
I’m not saying everyone can change to a heterosexual orientation or that lots of people succeed in doing so. For some men this is simply a cross they will always bear. I’m just saying that the Catholic Church is one of the few organizations that is willing to acknowledge the facts. If we are to believe what same-sex attracted men are saying, that they have suffered specific emotional abuse and neglect and that such things as acceptance by male peers, forgiveness, and faith have been sources of healing, then the Church is being more compassionate than the so-called professionals and advocacy groups who encourage behavior that brings misery and death. The Catholic Church reaches out in true love and clings to the facts, despite the risk of being held in contempt in return.