50. Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?
51. The question of homosexuality leads to a serious reflection on how to elaborate realistic paths of affective growth and human and evangelical maturity integrating the sexual dimension: it appears therefore as an important educative challenge. The Church furthermore affirms that unions between people of the same sex cannot be considered on the same footing as matrimony between man and woman. Nor is it acceptable that pressure be brought to bear on pastors or that international bodies make financial aid dependent on the introduction of regulations inspired by gender ideology.
52. Without denying the moral problems connected to homosexual unions it has to be noted that there are cases in which mutual aid to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners. Furthermore, the Church pays special attention to the children who live with couples of the same sex, emphasizing that the needs and rights of the little ones must always be given priority.
This is the first time in history it has been suggested to Catholics by bishops that we value the tendency of some boys and men to want to have sex primarily with other boys and men (and a much smaller percentage of some girls and women to want to have sex primarily with other girls and women). I don't know why it isn't front page news in the secular press.
I am not sure how we can value a same sex homosexual orientation while saying homosexual sexual acts are sins. Meanwhile, there are Deaf community activists who are very cross at the idea that deafness is a cross to bear, so I will borrow them as an analogy. (If you are cross, please know that I fully expect to be as deaf as a post if I live to old age.)
Naturally, we do not blame anyone for going deaf. And we might even be surprised that that deafness is extolled by Deaf activists not as a hardship but as an alternative culture. I imagine that all of us who can hear rejoice when a Deaf child is made able to hear and feel rather staggered to discover that there are Deaf activists who mourn such a thing. We acknowledge that the Deaf community has been rather sinned against--I'l say--in history, not even for DOING or wanting to do anything, but simply for having been born Deaf.
But all the same, we see deafness as an evil, which is to say, the lack of a good. I'm as blind as a bat without corrective lenses; alas, my very sense of sight is disordered. An evil. Oh, I'm infertile, too. That's an evil, too. I am not evil; my nearsightedness and infertility are evil. I am not my nearsightedness or my infertility, though they certainly loom largely in my everyday life. If I wanted to, I suppose I could join some club for the Infertile, but I do not want to because I do not want infertility to dominate my life more than it already does. Oh, and I have not acted on my Infertility by getting involved with artificial conception.
I once dated a chap with a syndrome that will eventually eventually leave him entirely blind and deaf. He was a good and brave man who was determined to live a good life separate from the Deaf community. He managed because he could hear a certain frequency; his sister, who had the same syndrome, could not. As a result, he went to ordinary school and became senior management, and his sister went to a Deaf institution and became a cleaner in a mental hospital. He hit the roof when he heard about the Deaf lesbian couple who were intentionally trying to create a Deaf child. He knew how difficult and narrow a life such a child might have.
This is the illustration I came up with a while ago to explain to myself and others why Catholics do not value the orientation we have just, for the first time in the history of the Church, been told to value.*
I wonder if there are Catholics with homosexual orientations who are hitting the roof over the newly released document. (The ex-gays, for sure.) It might make the chaste ones feel like idiots, but on the other hand, I stuck my neck out at theology school for the right of Catholic children to be adopted by a mum and a dad, and I don't feel like an idiot. I feel like the aunt of a child whose mum and dad live in different countries, but at least he has a mum and a dad.
Update: Please someone explain in the combox how the sky is not falling. I deep-sixed my entire career because I wouldn't go along with the kind of theology that has been triumphant today.
Update 2: Thank you for all consolation. B.A. met me on the staircase, as I came home with the Thankgiving Day (ha ha) groceries, to tell me that the document is just a report, and the question is just a question, and it has no magisterial bearing whatsoever. I still think it was an outrageously irresponsible thing to publish and utterly demoralizing for those who believe the Catholic faith.
Update Three: Edited heavily at B.A.'s request.
*Update 4: Or, to be precise, if we can value it.