With all the discussion about same sex marriage going on within the Church and in response to the culture, the aspect that tends to be overshadowed is the role that homosexuals can in the Church. If they cannot be married, then what possible vocation and role can they have in the Church? Is there any way they can feel at home in a place where they are so easily prone to feeling judged?
The Church does not ask anything greater from those with same sex orientation than it does from the rest of its believers–a life of virtue–chastity, temperance, faith. It asks a life of sacrifice. It asks a life lived outside of one’s self, thoughts, desires, and passions.
It asks the alcoholic to abstain from alcohol, the common believer to occasionally abstain from meet, and the unmarried to abstain from sex. But what the Church asks homosexual individuals to abstain from can appear to those individuals as incredibly more hard than alcohol or meat–the Church asks them to sacrifice what the world holds as the only form of fulfilling love–sexual union.
And this itself is one of the greatest problems of the modern world–that the sexual union has come to overshadow the greater union, the greater love, between man and God. Priests and religious are called to be the earthly examples of this greater love. The Church teaches that men and women who are celibate for at least three years can join these vocations. This would be an extremely challenging and sanctifying vocation for people with same sex attraction, but the person would need to be extremely strong in their chastity, as any fall from grace would be more scandalous than the common believer. Thus the Church should seek to especially pray for, train, and encourage those men and women who find themselves in such a vocation.
Where we especially need these men and women however, is in the Single Vocation. This is an especially challenging vocation because it is both the least accepted by the laity as well as the least taught by magesterium. It is difficult to live a life in service to the Church when there is confusion about what that life should look like.
And this is why the Church needs gay people–to be an example and a light to the world about sacrifice, single-life, chastity, and holiness. The Church needs a modern gay Saint. The Christian Church, and the world need to know that a life of chastity can be lived, that God can be fulfilling, and that being help homosexual is not a sin, but can actually help one be holy. They can also be examples of how the single life can be lived in the 21st century, and help other faithful believers, gay and straight, be more accepting and understanding of how to live that vocation. If we can get even one homosexual man or women to live this life, they could not only show its possible, but make it attractive and convert others to live this life as well.
What can the Church and the faithful do to make gay people more welcome in the Church? Is it possible for a homosexual to feel at home in the Church? Am I being to idealistic with this idea? Should homosexuals not be part of the Church?
- Why the Church and the World Need Celibate Gay Saints (spiritualfriendship.org)
- The Meaning of Vocation (spiritualfriendship.org)
- Pope says gay people shouldn’t be marginalised (radionz.co.nz)