The Church is not against anyone, including those who are homosexual. The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World begins with the following statement:
“The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts. For theirs is a community composed of men. United in Christ, they are led by the Holy Spirit in their journey to the Kingdom of their Father and they have welcomed the news of salvation which is meant for every man. That is why this community realizes that it is truly linked with mankind and its history by the deepest of bonds.”
The Church is composed of men and women of every race and culture, with unique gifts and challenges, both sinners and saints, heterosexual and homosexual. The Church exists to proclaim the “good news” of Jesus Christ to men and women everywhere, homosexual or heterosexual, and to assist them on their journey to the Father.
Nevertheless, many homosexuals do not perceive the message of the Church as “good news.” Their “griefs and anxieties” may arise from experiences of unkindness or misunderstanding from Christians. Their “joy” may be found in the gay or lesbian community that affirms and understands them. Their “hope” may be to discover love and commitment in a long term same-sex relationship.
Since the Church teaches that same sex attraction is an “objective disorder” and that responding in anyway to this attraction is a sin, it would seem that we do not share their joys or hopes at all . Yet our experiences are not as contrary as it may appear. To different degrees, all have experienced the “grief and anxiety” of being misunderstood and treated cruelly by those who ought to love us. We know the “joy” of being accepted and affirmed – an experience that we have found in the Church. Finally, we all share the same hope of discovering love and commitment – to give our lives in service to others.
St. Josemaria spoke of being Catholic as having a “big heart” and a “broad mind”. As Christians we must have a “broad mind” to understand the “griefs and anxieties” of our brothers and sisters and a “big heart” to try and alleviate them. When we experience the big heart and broad mind of Christians, we experience the joy of being part of God’s family, the Church. While it is true that one cannot follow Jesus and live in a same-sex relationship, it does not mean that one cannot find love and commitment. Indeed it is Jesus Christ who reveals to us the real meaning of love and commitment by his gift of self on the Cross. He invites all of us to follow Him on the path of self-denial. Many persons, both heterosexual and homosexual, discover that their vocation in life is not exactly what they hoped for. This is part of what love and commitment are all about: giving up our dreams for the sake of another. As Christians we sacrifice our dreams to take part in God’s dream, God’s plan of salvation. By their sacrifice, prayer, friendship and service to others, persons with same sex attraction can contribute to God’s plan of salvation.
The Church is not against anyone. The Church has a big heart and a broad mind. She loves everyone and she seeks to understand everyone. It is in the Church that we fulfill our greatest hope – to love others and commit our lives to others.