Catechesis on Homosexuality: Making the Distinctions

Authored by William Newton in Issue #31.3 of The Sower

William Newton helps catechists to think about the categories that need to be used in order to present the Church’s understanding of homosexuality and same sex unions.

In passing on the faith, or in helping people deepen their understanding of it, the Church’s vision of human sexuality must obviously be addressed. Such catechesis aims first of all at extolling the blessings of sexuality, especially in its relation to marriage, but should, the Church tells us, ‘provide a good context within which to deal with the question of homosexuality.’

Aside from the understandable fear of touching upon this issue, given the charged atmosphere that surrounds it at present, there is also the difficulty that the arguments involved have a certain complexity. Here, I will attempt to unpack some of the Church’s argumentation in such a way to make them clear and, I hope, communicable. The key to this, it seems to me, is to have clarity about a set of three distinctions. Once these are understood, the compelling logic of the Church’s position comes to light. The three distinctions are: the distinction between act, inclination, and person; between tolerance and promotion; and between private and common good.

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