Thursday, October 16, 2014

Finding love and value in same-sex relationships

Do you wonder how committed relationships between two people of the same-sex can be life-giving and have positive value?

Committed, truly loving relationships between two people of the same sex, like healthy heterosexual relationships, are not exclusively, or even primarily, about having sex. Many are constituted by deeper things, which are expressed in genuine care and concern for the other person and the willingness to sacrifice self. One necessary condition for any fully loving relationship (even between a husband and a wife) is that it is chaste.

This also points to how much the objective immorality of contraception needs to be stressed. It's easy to see why many (rightly) argue that the Church takes a harsher stance towards Her members who are homosexual, which stance is not maternal in the the least. As Rowan Williams noted a long time ago, people who view contraception as morally legitimate have no firm basis for rejecting the morality of sex between two persons of the same sex. Anyone who insists that all same-sex relationships are exclusively or even primarily about sex has traveled a long distance towards de-humanzining people who are homosexual.

I was very gratified that Cardinal Christoph Schönborn participated in one of the press conferences at the Extraordinary Synod. He spoke about this very matter and in the words of a summary of his remarks, he explained what it means to find "the positive elements even in 'disordered' relationships." The summary also noted something vital he said in this regard: "The church looks first at the person, not at the person's sexual orientation," emphasizing that this is a "basic Christian doctrine." He spoke about a couple he knows, "praising one partner who cared for another who was seriously ill." Quoting him directly about the care provided by one partner for the other, the summary relayed him saying, "It was saintly. Full stop."

I'd encourage anyone who holds the view that such relationships can't possibly have life-giving aspects to read Eve Tusnet's newly published book Gay and Catholic: Accepting My Sexuality, Finding Community, Living My Faith, which to cite part of the publisher's description "In this first book from an openly lesbian and celibate Catholic, widely published writer and blogger Eve Tushnet recounts her spiritual and intellectual journey from liberal atheism to faithful Catholicism and shows how gay Catholics can love and be loved while adhering to Church teaching."

I would also urge you to visit Lindsey and Sarah's blog A Queer Calling: Reflections on the experiences of a celibate, LGBT, Christian couple.

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