“Ask a Priest: Is It a Mortal Sin to Make Homosexual Jokes?”

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Q: This might be a silly question … but many of my guy and girl friends make homosexual jokes with each other. For example, many of my male friends “act gay” with one another. I recently made a joke about marrying one of these friends (who was of my same sex), purely as a joke, of course, because I view marriage as sacred and holy. But I am wondering if this constitutes a mortal sin. I know the three requirements for a sin to be mortal, but I am struggling to know if what I did was mortally wrong. I knew that homosexual marriage was sinful when making these jokes, and I questioned if the joke was a mortal sin or not before I made the joke, but I was not entirely sure (I still am not). So, I do not know if that constitutes having “full knowledge” of my sin, and if this therefore does not make the sin mortal or not. I am not sure if I am making too much sense, but this is been bugging me so any help is great! — N.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: Instead of trying to give a crash course on what constitutes mortal sin, it might be good to raise another question: If these homosexual jokes were “only” venial sins, would you keep telling them?

If the answer is yes, there is a big problem here. To deliberately decide to keep offending God is a sign that you are closer to mortal sin than you realize.

Homosexuality is no laughing matter. People struggling with same-sex attraction “do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial,” the Catechism says in No. 2358. “They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.”

While same-sex attraction is not inherently sinful, the living of a homosexual lifestyle is objectively sinful. Such a lifestyle endangers souls, which means it is something to be pitied more than ridiculed.

You mention that marriage as sacred and holy; indeed, it is. That indicates that you hold sexual relations (within marriage) to be sacred and holy, too.

It would be good that your conversation reflects this conviction. If your friends are making fun of homosexuality, that might be a sign of their own insecurities. One or more of them might be secretly struggling with same-sex attraction.

If you can speak in respectful ways about sexuality when the subject comes up, that could edify your pals.

It’s better to change the subject whenever the homosexual joking starts. You don’t want to scandalize anyone or to lower the level of conversation. If you find that the conversations don’t improve, you might want to start looking for another group of friends.

Too many problems today are due to promiscuity, pornography and broken marriages, and these in turn are linked to a deficient appreciation for human sexuality.

In any case, you might not find the subject of homosexuality funny if a sibling or friend someday openly embraced the gay lifestyle. For a sensitive and serious treatment of the topic, you might find “The Third Way” video helpful.

Perhaps some of this is worth taking to prayer.


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One Comment
  1. a ‘real joke’ (humor) see’s the haha in the person who gets confused by life everyday SITUATIONS. The SITUATIONS of life itself on planet earth . . . can be humorous.


    A person seated at a desk in bank, with a sign above or next to saying Auto Loans. Next desk is bank rep
    with big grin . . . sign next to his desk: Gas loans.

    or a survey taker at front door, asking woman who answers, hello m’am . . . do you have any children?
    in background is the front lawn with the bikes, trikes, wagons, doll carriages, basketball hoop in driveway.
    (dumb questions of what is obvious always a humorous haha)

    Maybe this also humorous situation: some ‘kids’ waiting for school bus, one is shy girl … shadow on
    one kid is making music with rolled up paper doo doo doo, making sound with lips, another ‘kid’ is
    afraid (young, first day school) holding onto mom’s skirt. On Wall is shadow showing what will be
    the shy girl teaching (show pointer in her adult hand) the kid making sound with lips, a conductor of
    band, the fearful child a professional football star facing a line of BIG opposing team players)

    Humor of PERSONS (especially what for the moment is IGNORANCE) is called WIT! Everyone likes
    the WITTY humor that directly points to ‘ANOTHER PERSON’ . . . the fat one, the ‘dumb’ one, the
    ‘ugly person’ . . . such ‘wit’ is high school humor. MOCK TAUNT AND SHOW how one is better . . .
    (my opinion)

    This is NOT to condone the ACTIONS of what might be gluttony, slothfulness that brings ‘dumbness’ , or those who are casual in fashion dress and good hygiene (combing hair, washing face, etc) It would, I
    believe, be a spiritual act of mercy to ‘instruct’ what might be IGNORANCE. (with ‘light graceful words, privately OR just avoid such persons but be nice to if one must be in contact.)
    IF A PERSON REALLY IS DUMB (slow) . . . mocking that would make a person of such wit ‘a jerk’ (simply
    put) or someone is FAT (glandular problem) or someone dresses well, but was born with a bigger nose,
    ears, freckles, etc.

    WILLFUL ACTIONS of promiscuity, heterosexual or ‘gay,’ noticed is as Father said SAD… and perhaps a

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