Loving Homosexuals

We Catholics have a tough job ahead of us. The task of loving homosexuals in a total and authentic way falls squarely on our shoulders.

We may be the only ones capable of it.

Why? Because the Catholic Church is the only place to find a balanced view of homosexuality. The Catechism acknowledges that homosexuality is a disordered condition, contrary to natural law (and not just a transgression of biblical admonitions). But the Catechism spends just as much space explaining that homosexuals are not to be discriminated against, that they often struggle with the condition as a cross.

This means that we are to love homosexuals as brothers and sisters, never reduce them to enemies. We are to do nothing to unfairly exclude them; we are to show them by our attitude and demeanor that we want the best for them.

But to truly love them, we have to want what's best for their souls. To revile them as sinners and merely make them ashamed would be counterproductive.

If we do so, we risk hardening them in their sin rather than helping them out of it. We risk their souls.

At the same time, modern “tolerance” is just as risky. In case after case, the person most likely to be reviled as a sinner is the one who points out that homosexual activity has disastrous consequences. Homosexuals risk early death from AIDS; the behavior is a gateway to other sexual perversions, usually including promiscuity and disproportionately including pedophilia.

High suicide rates suggest that many lead unhappy lives beneath a surface of gaiety. To express these sentiments is to come a hair's breadth from committing a hate crime.

And yet these things are true and must be explained. Words that whitewash the homosexual lifestyle and treat it as something just as normal as heterosexual marriage are untrue and unkind. They further enslave homosexuals to behavior that harms them. The more common such sentiments become, the easier it is for homosexuals to seduce young men and women into homosexuality — followed too often by an early death.

So, how do you tell the truth about homosexuality without being reviled by the culture and tuned out by the people you most need to help?

Mother Teresa has the answer.

More to the point, the order that continues her mission does. In AIDS hospices like the Gift of Love home in San Francisco, the Missionaries of Charity happily spend the day in prayer and in serving dying homosexuals. They serve them meals. They launder their clothes. They clean their bedpans.

It isn't part of the nuns' charism to preach — rather, they spend their time serving these men, and teach them that way. Nonetheless, it is impossible to spend time with the Missionaries of Charity and not be aware that they are 100% committed to Catholic teaching. And their patients know that they subscribe to the teachings about homosexuality without qualification.

And what's the result? Gift of Love has a nearly 100% record of patients converting to the Catholic faith before they die.

The lesson we can all draw is this: It is neither desirable nor necessary to tone down Church teaching on homosexuality. Truth alone has has the power to reach souls and change them.

But what is necessary is for us to put charity in the highest place in our dealings with homosexuals. If we want to help them, we have to prove we're worth listening to. If we want them to listen to us, we have to prove we're trustworthy.

If we want them to trust us, we have to prove that we love them.