The Church teaches that same-sex actions are sinful. Stating this fact is almost universally discouraged in public discourse. Yet this is the very issue that needs to be discussed. And in order to do so we must start with what’s most at stake.
In my following of Jesus and encounter with him in the Gospels, I discover that he established a Church, which holds the treasure he gives in earthen vessels. Though being imperfect she holds it, and this is what I love, this is why I follow her as I follow Jesus. I follow her not simply as an earthen vessel but as she holds the treasure of Christ today and until the end of time. When her voice points out the way, I struggle to follow, and I struggle to follow precisely because I know that in that voice is the voice of my savior, the one who loves me enough to die for me. He invites me to do the same, to die to myself that I may live, to say, “Thy will be done,” in the garden of my own temptation.
For the one with same-sex attraction this means refraining from acting on desires for sexual fulfillment with a person of the same-sex. For me, a single male with opposite-sex attraction, this means refraining from acting on my desires with a person of the opposite-sex. But I want to say that you are not alone. What the Church asks of you she asks of me. My following of Christ challenges me amidst a culture saturated with pornography, approval of masturbation, one-night stands, and the list goes on, and on, and on so much so that a young boy in England, 13 years old, became addicted to sexual pleasure and is now on the nation’s sex offender list.
I feel, in a very real and un-superficial way, that I stand with many, many people who struggle with same-sex attraction and strive for purity of heart. Like you, I try not to filter the Gospel to fit my desires, despite their sometimes strong pull and the affirming encouragement of our culture. Like you, I don’t want to change the Gospel to align with my desires; I want the Gospel to change me and my desires. I don’t take them as the truth about me, I try to take God’s word as the truth about me and it is that truth and only that truth that can set me free; not the free fulfillment of my desires, whatever they may be.
This is my offer to stand in solidarity with all those, regardless of sexual orientation, who seek purity of heart amidst a culture ever so eager to discourage us in our commitment. I want to follow Christ, I will follow him by living in his Church, no matter what our culture and its laws tell me is truth. Their voice is an echo of Pontius Pilate’s, “Truth? What is truth?” and my Lord’s is a voice that says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…come, follow me.”