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IS IT A SIN TO BE GAY? This is a question which was sincerely asked by one male, or should I say a gay, college student in my encounter with them. I am throwing this question in the hope that the answer may bring enlightenment since it is a concern on their part who oftentimes feel that they are but a mistake and struggle to be accepted. Thanks in advance.
The simple answer is: NO! It’s not a sin to be gay. The official teaching of the Catholic Church is that to be gay is not a sin. But to engage in homosexual acts is a sin. Let’s look at what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about homosexuality:
# 2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex.
# 2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
# 2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
What the Catechism of the Catholic Church is saying here is that we have to make a distinction between a feeling and an action.
Sometimes we might get really angry with someone and we might really feel like punching them, or kicking them, or pulling their hair. But then the inner voice of conscience says: “Don’t do that! It will only make things worse. It is a sin to use violence!” So we control ourselves and we do not do the nasty and violent things we felt like doing. And because we controlled ourselves, we did not commit any sin. In this case I felt violent feelings towards the other person but I did not act out the violent feelings. So I did not commit any sin. My feelings were not put into action. If I did put my violent feelings into action then it would be a sin.
The Catholic Church teaches the same thing about homosexuality. We must distinguish between the feeling of sexual attraction and the act of engaging in sexual activity. It is not a sin to feel sexually attracted to another man. But it is a sin to engage in a sexual act with another man. That is why the Catholic Church teaches that gay men (and lesbian women) should remain chaste; that is, they should remain single and not have sex with another man (or woman in the case of a lesbian). If they remain chaste they can reach Christian perfection; meaning, they can become saints by devoting their love to God.
So, it is not a sin to have homosexual feelings, if you do not engage in sexual acts with people of the same gender. So, it is definitely not a sin to be gay, because to feel gay feelings is definitely not a sin.
Furthermore, the Catholic Church teaches that everyone is dearly loved by God, with a love that cannot be measured; because everyone is created by God. That is why it is a sin to show disrespect or discrimination towards people who are gay:
“They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives.”
God loves gay people; because God loves everyone. So, how could we not love gay people? Do we really think we are greater than God? And as Pope Francis said about gay people: “Who am I to judge?”