‘Born This Way’

The Supreme Court has recently begun to hear arguments in two cases related to “gay marriage” — a doubly-deceptive oxymoron which ought always to be put in quotes, if used at all.

It is no surprise that, early in the oral arguments of the case, the champions of these unnatural unions claimed justification for their cause in the pseudo-scientific supposition that homosexuality is biologically determined. In the words of that pop icon of indecency, Lady Gaga, homosexuals are “born this way.”

But according to the scholars and clinicians at the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), they are not: “Homosexuality is not biologically determined; it is potentially changeable; and attempts at change are not inherently harmful.” (The Catholic psychologist, Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, was one of the three founders of NARTH, which offers clinical help to persons with unwanted homosexual tendencies. Other organizations that offer various forms of help would include Courage, the Institute for Marital Healing, and the Imago Dei Institute, which is run by our very good friend, Dr. G.C. Dilsaver.)

Various theories that have set out to link genetic or epigenetic causality to homosexual tendencies have been advanced but not proven. As with other mental disorders, the causality of homosexuality is likely to be complex and multiform. And we must include sin, original and actual, as part of the cause.

Yes, I just ranked homosexuality with “other mental disorders.” As Patrick J. Buchanan stated in a recent column concerning the two cases before the Supreme Court: “Before 1973, the American Psychiatric Association regarded homosexuality as a mental disorder. Most states treated it as a crime.” The removal of homosexuality from the DSM, the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, was politically and ideologically driven.

To affirm that homosexuality is a psychological disorder does not deny moral culpability. That is to say, the acts are still sinful.

Numerous homosexuals have been cured of their condition. Many others yet struggle with disordered temptations but live a sacramental Catholic life in sacrificial fidelity to the Church’s teaching. Such individuals have a cross to bear, but so have all sinners who wish to live a truly Christian life — and that includes you and me.

After all, when it comes to Original Sin and its sorrowful effects, we were all “born this way.”

Let us place ourselves on the firm bedrock of Church teaching. The Church has consistently, universally, and therefore infallibly proclaimed the grave immorality of homosexuality. Some would be surprised to learn that the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that homosexual acts are “acts of grave depravity” that are “intrinsically disordered,” “contrary to the natural law,” and which “do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity.”

All homosexual acts (including not only deeds, but deliberate thoughts and words) are sinful. The homosexual tendency is unnatural. But as in all matters pertaining to sin, it is not the temptation — the disordered concupiscence — that is sinful, but deliberate thoughts, words, and deeds that act on the temptation.

And what of the question of compassion for the homosexual?

This is something gravely misunderstood in our day, and deliberately so, for there has been a decades-old concerted effort on the part of activists to demonize opposition to the homosexualist agenda. Marshal E. Kirk and Hunter Madsen announced in their 1989 book, After the Ball, How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90s, that “We intend to make the anti-gays look so nasty that average Americans will want to disassociate themselves from such types.” This book was a blueprint for a multifaceted psychological operations program designed neutralize opposition.

The case for “gay rights” is based on a false anthropology. Resistance to it is weak because of a pandemic misunderstanding of human rights, the same misunderstanding of rights most Catholics lamentably fall into when defending our religious liberties against the evil Nanny State. Quite simply, we have no right to do what is wrong.

“Gay Christian” apologists would have us misread the parable of the Prodigal Son, turning it into a story of unconditional acceptance rather than merciful forgiveness. But the prodigal did not come to his father’s house with his sinful accomplices in tow, demanding that Dad accept his alternative lifestyle. The young man was sorry for his sins, which he humbly acknowledged.

The question remains: is there a genuine compassion for the homosexual person? Of course there is. And it is Catholic.

Let me begin with an analogy. True Catholics hate the hideous abomination of abortion. In charity, we also have to realize that the flip side of the issue concerns helping the poor women who have had them. Planned Parenthood and other profiteering “abortion providers” want them as return customers. We want them as contrite sinners who come to the Good Shepherd for His mercy — which requires their acknowledging their sin and doing penance. This is true mercy, not indifference to evil.

In the same vein, there must be genuine compassion for the homosexual. As a person created in the image of God and called by grace to share in His likeness, the homosexual should be treated with supernatural charity. Unnecessary severity, unkindness, and degrading treatment are not likely to lead to a conversion, are they? (I say this knowing full well that much of what I have written would be called degrading by interested parties on the other side of the culture war. So be it.) Even if the person steeped in sin does not understand his own dignity, which is based on truths which he himself denies, we must realize it. Therefore, genuine compassion, based upon this truth, will entail trying to convert the sinner, and giving him opportunities for genuine spiritual healing through penance, prayer, and the sacraments. This will bring his dignity from potency to act.

How this might be done will vary according to the people involved and the circumstances. It ought not be complicated, though; the corporal and spiritual works of mercy are within reach of all the faithful.

Sometimes this compassion will be in the form of “tough love,” a charitable severity that can drive home to the offender the seriousness of his offense. In this way, Saint Paul treated the Corinthian man caught in unnatural vice with his stepmother: “Put away the evil one from among yourselves” (I Cor. 5:13). The sinning Corinthian, as we know, converted.

There is a revulsion that all men have when faced with something they find disgusting. Call it “the yuck factor.” Since such reactions are often founded upon the natural law and good manners, they can be helpful safeguards of morality. However, there are many things that appear disgusting but yield real goods. For instance, butchering a cow is not pleasant to see, but filet mignon is delicious to eat. People need to base their moral sense on sound principles rather than mere disgust, for the yuck factor can be overcome or even misdirected. As we saw, homosexual activists are presently doing their very best to make those who hold Christian standards appear, in the words of Kirk and Madsen, “so nasty that average Americans will want to disassociate themselves from such types.”

We know that there is no evil that man or demon can commit, out of which God cannot derive a greater good. If there is a bright lining in this rapid resurrection of Sodom and Gomorrah, it might be this: The only institution that has the entire truth about man is the Catholic Church. When every man-made institution has capitulated to the homosexual agenda, that uniqueness will become more obvious. And when society has been all but destroyed by the depravity, and the depraved themselves seek relief, they will know exactly where to find it. God is merciful.