“Ask a Priest: Can I Be Bisexual and Christian?”

Q: Someone told me I can’t be Christian and bisexual. They said I wasn’t a real Christian. Is this true? – J.R.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: It is good to remember that your core identity is that you are a son of God. You are not your “sexual identity.”

As a loving Father, God only wants the best for you. As a baptized Christian, you are incorporated into the mystical body of Christ and are called to follow the ways of Jesus.

Among the things Jesus asks of us is to live chastely. This means we are called to use our God-given gift of sexuality according to his plan. This means that intimate physical relations are proper only to a husband and a wife who are open to life.

As to your specific question …

Are you a Christian? If you baptized validly, yes, you are technically a Christian. If you believe in the divinity of Christ and the other tenets of the Gospels, yes, you could say that you are a believing Christian.

But if you are living a life that isn’t in accord with Christian teachings about sexuality, then you are a Christian who, well, isn’t living in accord with the Gospel.

In one sense you aren’t alone. We are all sinners. We are all a work in progress.

And while it’s one thing to struggle with failings and weaknesses, it’s quite another to embrace a lifestyle that is openly contrary to Christian principles.

You might ask yourself a few questions.

First, do you see a bisexual lifestyle as being in accord with Jesus’ teachings? If not, are you willing to cut with this lifestyle?

That someone has raised the issue with you, and the fact that you sent in this question, might be a sign that the Holy Spirit is trying to nudge you in the right direction.

If you have a problem with same-sex attraction — which is probably closer to the problem you are facing — then it’s good to remember that God is calling you to live chastely and to refrain from any kind of homosexual behavior.

Experiencing same-sex attraction isn’t a sin in itself. It’s when we choose to act on it that it becomes sinful. This is a distinction to keep in mind.

We all experience feelings or tendencies that we need to resist and govern so that they don’t lead us off the path of true happiness. Those feelings and tendencies come from our fallen human nature and the fallen world we live in. Same-sex attraction is one of those.

Jesus’ teaching lead us to true, lasting happiness in this life and the next. For God knows better than anyone what is best for us, since he created us.

Two numbers might be worth quoting from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

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]

Note those last words, “Christian perfection.” That means you are called to be a saint. If Christ is asking that of you, he would certainly give you the grace to achieve holiness — if you do your part.

For more reading, you might look at:

Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay

Homosexuality and the Catholic Church

In the meantime try to maintain a solid prayer life. And read a bit of the Gospels daily. Count on my prayers.

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