“Ask a Priest: May We Attend a Gay Baby Shower?”

Q: I come from a very devout Catholic family. Every year we have an extended family Christmas visit with my mom’s aunts and uncle and all the kids. Recently one of my mom’s cousins came out as a homosexual, and her and her partner were wed. Now they are having a child, and one of the family members wanted to throw them a baby shower after our Christmas. Several of the aunts and uncles as well as my mom and many other family members don’t want to attend Christmas as a family now, because of the shower. I truly don’t agree with the whole same-sex marriage thing and really disagree with them having a baby. What, if anything, can I do to try to help keep our extended family from falling apart? Just because the Church is against that sort of thing, can they still not attend the shower in support of an unborn baby? After all, it is not his/her fault, right? I really am at a loss here, and my mom breaks down talking about it. I would really like any advice I can get. -G.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: I am sorry to hear about the situation in the family. Unfortunately it is something that will become more common in the future.

The question is whether going to the baby shower will be perceived as support for the homosexual “marriage.” A baby shower by nature is something festive, and it is easy to see how attendance would be construed as support for the “marriage.”

If you want to help the baby, there are other ways of doing it; for example, by having Masses said for the little one and for the conversion of the partners.

Another question worth facing now is this: If family members attend the shower, what else will they be expected to attend in the future?

Setting the right precedents is crucial. This might be a moment for family members to discuss how they will deal with the same-sex couple in the future. Their presence at family reunions could scandalize little ones, who could grow up with a distorted view of marriage.

The family members might consider reaching out to their relative in a loving but discreet way, perhaps through one-on-one encounters, either e-mails or phone calls or visits, when the other partner isn’t around. In any case the family members who disagree with the notion of same-sex “marriage” have a right not to be forced to accept things that compromise their beliefs.

It might be good for family members to acquaint themselves with the Church’s perspective here. Two numbers from the Catechism are worth quoting:

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. [end quoted material]

These are questions that need to be addressed. You and your loved ones might want to take them to prayer, remembering that being witnesses to the faith is one of the greatest acts of charity we can do for others.

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