ASK FATHER: How should good Catholics deal with homosexuals?

From a reader…


Dear Fr. Thank you for the sterling work you do with your blog.
Within my circle of friends at my accommodation we have a number of practicing homosexuals. In the pass I have avoided such people like the plague, the lifestyle is part of the culture of death. However over meals I’ve gotten to know some and while not attracted to the persons sexually I’m fond of them as individual people.  How is a good catholic meant to go about dealing with such people.

A good Catholic is to treat with charity, sacrificial love, all whom we meet.  This means giving them what is due to them by justice, treating them fairly, offering works of mercy, both corporal and spiritual.   Spiritual works of mercy include instructing the ignorant and admonishing the sinner.  These two works of mercy one always applies also according to principles of fraternal correction.  Much depends on your relationship and the character of individuals.

So, we should treat people with homosexual tendencies justly and charitably, as we would any other person.

Every person has principle faults or inclinations to some sort of sin.  Every person suffers temptations by the Enemy.    Let’s never look down on those who have these tendencies, as if we were pharisees in the temple looking down on the publican.

I firmly believe that if people with same-sex attraction will, if they live chastely and persevere, have a very high place in heaven.  The burden and suffering must be heavy indeed.  Therefore, the graces God offers will be that much greater.

There is no reason why, within the bounds of decorum, we have to accept any of the homosexualist ideology.

In short, deal with homosexuals with charity, which may mean admonishment if your relationship permits.  However, avoid all temptation of rash judgment and examine your conscience.

And firmly reject demonic gender-bending theory and the homosexualist agenda, that either doesn’t uphold the need for continence or blurs the fact of the intrinsic evil of same-sex acts.

I’ve written more about homosexuality, HERE.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Diana says:

    beautifully put. thank you, Father.

  2. SimonK says:

    My purely personal opinion, but I worry that by even using the term “homosexual” we are playing too much into the “LGBT” movement’s hands. Same-sex sexual temptation has been around since the dawn of human history, but the word “homosexual” wasn’t invented until the 19th century, and over the last few decades it has accumulated a lot of baggage, much of which is unhelpful or even seriously harmful to those trying to live in harmony with the Church’s teaching. (Of course, I realise on the other hand the need to talk the commonly understood language, however flawed it may be, so people understand what we are saying; it is a balancing act which can be difficult to get right.)

    I actually think a term like “same-sex attracted” or even “same-sex tempted”, while maybe more of a mouthful, may have less of that harmful baggage associated with it. It is important to note that many “same-sex tempted” people still possess at least some degree of the natural appetite for the opposite sex, and hence at least some potential to live out the vocation of holy matrimony; the term “gay” or “homosexual” is often defined to only refer to people who wholly lack that natural appetite, but then gets deployed in practice by people who aren’t wholly lacking that natural appetite, which seems to me to be a somewhat dishonest bait and switch tactic.

    I think the terms “gay” and “homosexual” also encourage young people who struggle with same-sex temptations to think themselves incapable of feeling natural opposite-sex attraction (“I’m tempted by the same sex, so I must be gay, so I must not be capable of being attracted to the opposite sex”), even if that isn’t true; but sometimes those sort of thoughts may become self-fullfiling prophecies, and believing that one is “gay” may actually contribute to one becoming “gay”.

  3. The Cobbler says:


    Tolkien weighed in on how self-image shapes oneself, decades before the rise of identity politics:

    “Don’t take names to yourself, Sméagol,” said Frodo. “It’s unwise whether they are true or false.”

  4. The Cobbler says:

    One thing I’ve learned from running into enough people is that there’s more to the truth of “it isn’t the desires so much as what you choose to do with them” than just whether you engage in the sex acts (though there is still that, of course).

    There’s a man who’s chaste as far as I know yet who gets uptight about any mention of the issue and behaves as an emotionally manipulative crybully. On the other hand, I recently saw someone who identifies as “transgender” (if I followed the conversation correctly) actually stand up to the crybullies.

    I doubt the latter would disown the movement and obviously their example doesn’t negate Catholic understanding of sexuality; but it’s possible we’d make extra headway in evangelization by discerning what any given person’s real issue is. (That may be consistent, incidentally, with theories regarding the relationship of trauma to such desires and/or with observations about viral psychological abuse in the case of the infiltration of the clergy.)

  5. TonyO says:

    Father Z, so well and simply put. Thank you for the clarity.

    If I might amplify just a tiny amount on your point “In short, deal with homosexuals with charity, which may mean admonishment if your relationship permits.

    For most of us, for most of the time, admonishment and “correction” of sinners will only be fruitful if we already have a relationship with the person which gives them a reason to believe that we actually do have their best interests at heart, and the admonishment is coming from that. I would add that especially in this day and age with homosexualism and transgenderism, more probably than not, you should engage in a very decided prayer and fasting campaign before trying to undertake such correction, to storm heaven asking for graces to be sent.

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