The following comes from an October 5 Catholic Voice article by Father Dan Danielson. This was Father Danielson’s homily, slightly edited, at Mass on June 28. He is the former administrator of the Diocese of Oakland and retired pastor of the Catholic Community of Pleasanton.
A homosexual orientation is born, not made. No one simply chooses to be “gay.” Studies have shown over and over that this attraction and orientation toward people of the same sex is not the result of particular environments or family structures. A person discovers him or herself to be “gay.” They don’t decide to be thus oriented. In our culture, why would anyone ever choose to live such a difficult life?
Being someone with a homosexual orientation, whether male or female, does not make one bad. It is not sinful or wrong. It is not a mental aberration. It simply IS.
That means that all forms of discrimination, abuse, disrespect, prejudice, hatred, insulting remarks are to have no place among us. Often such behavior really reveals the latent insecurities about the abuser’s own sexual identity.
The issue that requires us to deal with this further, is the sexual activity of people with a homosexual orientation.
Again there are some issues that need to be clarified here:
The issue of chastity is an issue every human being has to wrestle with. The task of integrating this powerful aspect of humanity into the rest of our lives is a struggle for most everyone. And who among us can say that they have always made the right decision and have nothing to look back on with some shame?
The Church believes that the marriage between one man and one woman is the best environment in which to raise children. It is the foundation of all societies in our modern world. That is why the Church has fought to maintain that definition of marriage.
But we all know of heterosexual marriages that are miserable places in which to raise a child and many of us know of homosexual couples who raise children with great love, attention and devotion. So while the Church’s teaching is certainly in general correct, it does not work out that way in many instances.
When all is said and done, no one is the judge of someone else’s conscience. And we cannot set ourselves up to judge the stable relationships of homosexual couples, whether those relationships are called domestic partnerships or marriage by our civil laws and our society.
Indeed, there are things in many of the long-term relationships that homosexual couples have that are truly admirable, as they would be in any long-term relationship — fidelity, self-sacrificing love, care in times of sickness and disability among them. These relationships are not to be simply condemned as sinful.