Pope’s words about God making someone “gay”

First, I hate that term “gay”.  There’s nothing “gay” about it.

The liberal Left is slobbering all over alleged words of Pope Francis to a young homosexual man, who says that Pope told him that God made him homosexual.

I am not going to accept the claim that that is what the Holy Father actually said.  Gratis asseritur…. And, were he to have said that, that would do nothing in any official way to change or to redirect the Church’s teachings about homosexual persons.

Doctrine is not officially taught and Pope’s don’t change the Church’s teachings in off-the-cuff private remarks that can’t be substantiated one way or another.

It seems to me we’ve seen this movie before… and it ain’t The Bells of Saint Mary.

Some months ago I wrote a post after a priest “outed” himself as being homosexual.    HERE   I stand by it now.   It is appropriate to review the substance of it:

Homosexual acts are clearly wrong. Our parts are intended by God to fit a certain way.  They are ordered to each other in a complimentary way.  God made us to live the human life in a properly ordered way, according to our human nature which He created.  We can choose not to live that way.  If we have inclinations not to live as God made us, that doesn’t mean that God made the aberrant inclination.   God makes all people.  People with disordered inclinations are, of course, people and, hence, God made them.   But God didn’t make them to be people with disorders.  God foresees and allows disorders, but that doesn’t make the disorders the norm.  All human beings are intended to live the human life in a properly ordered way.  Those who have some disorder have a harder time doing that.

We believe, however that overcoming that disorder, which will entail suffering, will bring them great merit and beautiful rewards in heaven, if not on earth.

Same-sex attraction is a disordered attraction.   God doesn’t make disordered attraction.  He foresees and permits disorders, according to His plan.  But it is not part of the normal ordering of living the human life.

All analogies limp a little, but let’s look at this another way.

If we study, say, 10000 beavers, we get a good picture of what beavers are made by God to do, what Beaver Life™ is.  Beavers are semi-aquatic. They gnaw down trees, make dams and lodges out of branches, logs, stones and mud. They work at night and slap the water with their tails when there is danger. They do not hibernate, so they stockpile food for the winter. They eat plants and bark and roll up lily pads like cigars to munch on. They mate for life, live in colonies, and they make little beavers during the winter.

That’s pretty much it. That’s what living the Beaver Life™ is. God makes all beavers and makes the Beaver Life™ which all rightly, beaverly, ordered beavers live.

However, say that among the 10000 beavers we have studied to determine what Beaver Life™ is, we find a beaver who, instead of gnawing trees and building dams, collects discarded aluminum cans out of which he constructs abstract art. Instead of stockpiling food before the winter, he lounges in the sun. Instead of rolling up lily pads before eating them, he eats frogs.  Instead of using his tail as a rudder and to signal danger, he swims backwards and ignores danger completely.

You would have to say that God made that beaver, but you wouldn’t say that that beaver was living Beaver Life™ properly. You would probably say that this beaver has a disorder of some kind. He’s doing the wrong things. Furthermore, if other beavers start to imitate the beaver with the disorder, there could be a problem for the survival of that colony.  You would hope that that beaver would correct his ways, stop giving a bad example to the other beavers, and cease to undermine Beaver Life™ which God intended for all beaverkind.

Frankly, a beaver like that wouldn’t last very long in the wild.  A beaver with that disordered inclination would probably win the Darwin Award, so to speak, and leave the gene pool.

Living Human Life™ as God intended is more complicated than living Beaver Life™ as God intended.  We aren’t governed by instincts as critters are.  We have reason and will, unlike brute beasts.  Still, natural law holds for us as it does for beavers.  Our natures are written into us by God.

Homosexual acts are wrong in themselves.  They are intrinsically disordered.  They are sinful in themselves.  They can never be right.  Never.   They are identified as intrinsically wrong by reason, observation of nature, and because of divine revelation.

The inclination to disordered acts is a disordered inclination.


Having an attraction to, an appetite for someone of the same-sex is disordered, contrary to the complimentarity which God wrote into our human nature as males and females.  God makes order, not disorder.  He foresees and permits that their be disorders and sins and even defects all through nature, and somehow they can serve to His greater glory.  But the disorders and the sins and the defects are not God’s will.

We will see how that all works out only in the general judgment after all things are submitted to the Father and God is all in all.

In sorting out questions about why some people have same-sex appetites, we have to understand something about God’s positive or ideal will and God’s permissive will.

God is perfect, infinitely good. God can only will that which is good, true, beautiful and holy.

So why is there evil in the world? Why are there disorders?

God willed that Adam and Eve remain holy. But because He willed that they have a free will, as He has a free will, He permitted them to fall. He did not will them to fall. He permits that sins be committed, he does not will them to be committed. Because of the nature of… well… nature, he permits that there be defects or weaknesses. He does not will them.

God doesn’t make people sin. He permits it. He foresees and uses it. But God the perfect Orderer cannot be the cause of disorder.

I suspect that in most cases, homosexual relationships that involve genital, etc., acts are really a twisting and warping of friendship.  But that might be a topic for a different entry.

Homosexual persons with same-sex attractions or desires have disordered, improperly directed, attractions or desires.  That doesn’t mean that they are “bad people” or “automatically sinful” or name your label.   They are made in God’s image and likeness and, therefore, have the dignity inherent in all human beings.  God permitted the disordered inclination and, somehow, we shall see what it all means in the vast scheme of His plan when the General Judgment rolls around.  Meanwhile, I firmly believe that people with those inclinations, if they remain chaste and continent or learn to redirect themselves, will – because of their trials and sufferings – have a high place in heaven.

Great challenges bring great graces and, eventually, great rewards, though those rewards may not be realized until heaven.

Meanwhile, I utterly reject and abhor strident efforts to normalize these disordered inclinations and the acts that follow upon them.  I also find loathsome the efforts of those who vilify people who uphold the dignity of human sexuality as God clearly intended it.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Joy65 says:

    VERY well said!

  2. Sawyer says:

    Questions for the Fr. James Martin types who don’t believe homosexuality is a disorder and who think that God made people that way, therefore it is good:

    Is a congenital heart arrhythmia a heart disorder or merely a different cardial orientation that is good because God made the person that way? Should we not try to fix the condition?

    Is blindness from birth a visual disorder or merely a different visual orientation that is good because God made the person that way? If medical science is ever able to cure blindness, should we not do so?

    Is deafness from birth a hearing disorder or merely a different aural orientation that is good because God made the person that way? Should we not try to fix it?

    Other analogies could be thought of, but those are sufficient to demonstrate that people who argue for homosexuality being merely a “different” sexual orientation instead of a disorder in sexual attraction wouldn’t make that argument with regard to any other disorder in the human body or psyche. Nor would they say that any other disorder is good or a gift from God, and yes they would say we should try to fix it if possible to restore normal functioning in the body. A person would be laughed at for saying that heart, visual or hearing disorders were good, that they were no different in value or desirability from normal cardial, visual or aural functioning in the human body. So why is homosexuality just about the only condition not recognized as being a disorder?

  3. JARay says:

    I too hate the use of the word “gay” to mean homosexual. I grew up knowing the word “gay” to mean a happy cheerful person. There used to be a song which began “a bachelor gay am I”. I agree Father that God does not make young men to be sexually disordered. Where some men are actually disordered it is their own doing and not God’s doing. The way we are is the result of our upbringing and that is where having a good family life is so important.

  4. RichR says:

    Very straightforward and clear explanation. This is why Catholics come to this blog. Bless you, FrZ.

  5. NBW says:

    AMEN! Thank you Fr. Z.!

  6. Jenson71 says:

    One flaw in the beaver analogy is that no one is attempting to criminalize the beaver’s disorder, use it against him to engage in sexual acts (as the priests apparently did to the man Pope Francis met), or shame the beaver into self-hatred, depression, or suicide.

    The Pope sat down with a hurting human being, a child of God, and gave him comfort and love. Vicar of Christ, indeed.

  7. maternalView says:

    I believe that the key to exposing the agenda of the homosexual culture is to smash that false narrative that people are born “gay” and instead are actually making a choice.

  8. Curate says:

    Very well said.
    The obvious implication is that “If God made me to have same-sex attraction, then homosexual actions are fine.” Suppose we were to grant that premise, it leads me to ask: Does it make it morally illicit, then, if the person wasn’t made with same-sex attraction? If a “straight” person performs the same act, is it a sin?
    Or have I denied the antecedent?

  9. Orlando says:

    It’s time we all realize the pope knows exactly what he’s doing , whether it’s informal, off the cuff or on airplane…he is changing in a very fundamental way what the Church has taught for two millennia. One man can do great harm , just ask Martin Luther. Pretending otherwise won’t change what is happening.

  10. comedyeye says:

    I doubt we will ever hear this kind of catechesis in a homily. Probably because there is
    no parable of Jesus and the gay man. Thank you for making clear what few clergy preach.

  11. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Since the 16th century or so, there was a secondary use of the word gay to mean basically “free with sexual favors”, and it referred to the French “gaie” in the sense of unrestrained. In English, the word in this sense was used mostly for female prostitutes and brothels, but the homosexual stuff did show up early also. Not in a flattering sense, though. Even that has been twisted around.

  12. Gregg the Obscure says:

    I would add the words of St. Paul “Who, having known the justice of God, did not understand that they who do such things, are worthy of death; and not only they that do them, but they also that consent to them that do them.” (Romans 1:32 where “such things” is a clear reference to sexual depravity per vv. 26-27)

    The one change to liturgy that I would have liked to have sprung from VII would be a “last epistle” reading of Romans 1 at Mass.

  13. aquinasadmirer says:

    Fr Simon, of Relevant Radio, had this to say on the word gay…

    “Gay? he’s not even in a good mood!”

  14. Peter Stuart says:

    Alleged my foot. If this pope wants to say something straight up, he can do it any time. But no, he deliberately distorts and twists words and insults Catholics. I have 0% doubt that he said it.

    When I was a kid in the 1970s, falling into the SSA trap that I’m now told I was born into, I remember getting told that the Church’s teachings don’t change. And buying into that. Even though the evidence in front of me was the exact opposite. What an idiot I was. And am. As long as this pope is left in office, y’all can take your “yeah buts” and blow that smoke up somebody else’s chimney. Not mine.

  15. teomatteo says:

    A private conversation with a victim should remain such.

  16. Antonin says:

    I don’t think anyone can seriously doubt that the Pope said what was reported. Fits the general pattern. But this young man is confused and the guilt for that belongs to the vile priest who wrecked him.

  17. Ave Maria says:

    There has been almost uncountable “alleged” words from the pontiff that are not in accord with Magisterial teachings. Why are no denials or clarifications forthcoming? At the very least is a failure to strongly uphold true Catholic teachings. Omission is also sin and to fail to do the good is as well.

  18. gretta says:

    People are born with all sorts of issues, both physical and psychological. As someone pointed out above, being born with a heart condition is “natural” but there is still a problem that the person is going to be dealing with for a lifetime. There are also people born with a hightened propensity to abuse alcohol. But we as Catholics make a distinction between bad ACTS vs. bad PEOPLE. The fact that you may be born with an issue that you may struggle with for a lifetime, whether it be physical, substance-related, or psychologically related does not touch on the person’s fundamental goodness or sinfulness. It is just the human biological hand we are dealt.

    So in that context, I can easily see how the Holy Father could reassure the young man that he was born a good and beautiful person. One can same the same to those who struggle with alcohol addiction, mental illness, or a congenital physical problem. You can tell the alcoholic that they are loved by God without condoning any bad acts they may have commited while intoxicated. We are all created in God’s image, though we are struggle with our fallen natures in different ways. It sounds like the young man needed reassurance of the fact that he, too, was created in the image of God. Certainly in a different context, it can be pointed out to him that while he is created in the image of God, just because he has a propensity towards certain acts that does not make the ACTS any less sinful, any more than being born with a propensity towards alcohol abuse does not remove your moral culpability for sinful acts committed to support one’s addiction. But you can comfort the person without condoning the behavior. And I think that is what the Pope was doing – reassuring the young man that he was loved by God. The Pope likely judged that it was not the time or the place to talk about the the sinfulness of any acts the young man may have committed – and left that for the young man’s confessor.

  19. Ben Kenobi says:

    Great article. This is exactly what needed to be said, Father Z. Liberals lie. All. The. Time. I don’t trust the slimes to accurately report that it’s raining today without going out and actually checking. Why would they ‘get it right’ when nothing is verifiable?

  20. Simon_GNR says:

    Excellent post, Father Z. It says plainly and clearly what the authentic Catholic position is on homosexuality and same-sex attraction. Well said.
    I feel sympathy for people who are unfortunately afflicted with same-sex attraction. Some people just have something wrong with them when it comes to sexual orientation, just as some people are born with (say) Down’s syndrome, or blind or deaf. In some cases homosexual orientation it can be cured – I have read accounts of both Catholics and evangelical protestants who have, with the help of God’s grace, overcome the disorder and in some cases have gone on to have normal relationships with the opposite sex, got married and had children. The Lord who raised Lazarus from the dead and who rose from the dead himself is able to do this.
    Oh, and I too hate the way the word “gay” has been hijacked by the homosexual lobby. It means happy, cheerful, joyful. I’d like to be brave enough to start using it with its proper meaning but I fear I might be misunderstood.

  21. jerome_in_ky says:

    “Homosexuality” is not in the genes. Neither is “heterosexuality”. Only the genetic code for sex organs and their development in puberty are in the genes. Infants have no concept of same sex or opposite sex, they are only conscious of themselves. The whole idea that God “makes” people attracted to anyone is a misunderstanding. All he gives us is the biology required to reproduce, and bodies that get aroused in order to bring that about. We learn everything else, and we are taught by the Church that misuse of biology is sinful, not because “sex is dirty” but because “life is sacred”.

  22. MaryB435 says:

    Any chance there will be a series of articles asking: “What Did the Pope Really Say?”

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