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“Ask a Priest: Should I Ostracize My Gay Son?”
Q: I dearly love my son, and when he said that he was homosexual although a Christian, I tried to accept him, all the while believing God has told me he will be healed and God will use this experience of his to help others know the Lord (Genesis 50:20). Now, four years after my son came out as gay, I feel as though God wants me to explain to him that he can’t call himself a Christian and be homosexual. He needs to renounce homosexuality because it is the way of death and rebellion. This means if he won’t repent, which he doesn’t seem to want to, I believe I will have to ostracize him so that he will know how serious his choice is. This is something God has given me a dream about. I believe it is an act of faith, hoping he will return to Christ. Please help me understand this dream I feel from God. Thank you. – J.
Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC
A: I am sorry to hear about the situation with your son. It is becoming a common problem nowadays.
It is good to remember that Jesus loves your son, and that Our Lord suffered and died on a cross for him. This could be a reminder that your basic approach to your son must continue to be one motivated by love.
It is good, too, to remember a key distinction. Having same-sex attractions is not sinful in itself. It is only when a person acts on those attractions, either in thought or deed, that they become sinful. Here, I infer from your question that your son is engaging in homosexual behavior.
It seems that you indeed love your son, and that you are considering ostracism as a kind of tough love to shock him into action and renouncing his homosexual lifestyle.
Perhaps this approach might work. Or perhaps it will alienate him further from the family and from a chance at conversion. Remember the words from the Book of Isaiah that were applied to Jesus: “A bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench” (42:3).
You might want to consider keeping a channel of communication open with your son. If you want to exclude him and his “friends” from family events, that is understandable.
But it might be good to keep at least a discreet dialogue going with him. Eventually, many people tire of a gay lifestyle, and when they look for alternatives, it helps them if someone they love has been in contact with them.
There are three resources might help you.
One is the video “The Third Way.”
The second is the book “A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality.”
Obviously, it is a book designed for prevention, but its principles might give you helpful insights.
Third is the essay “Homosexuality and Hope.”
Whatever you do, keep praying for your son. Your work as his mom is something of a lifelong task.
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