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“Ask a Priest: What to Make of LGBTQ?”
Q: I am a practicing heterosexual Catholic and I am still confused how men and women convert into LGBTQ. If God created man and woman, why does LGBTQ exist? I was taught by my Catholic parents that God created the differences between men and women for pleasure and to procreate life. Father, help me understand. – A.W.
Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC
A: It sounds as though you have been blessed with sensible parents.
The LGBTQ phenomenon is one of the more bizarre occurrences in modernity. Even its acronym (still expanding) is a bit bizarre.
“Converting” might not be the most accurate word to describe what brings people to embrace or identify with LGBTQ. There are lots of factors involved – psychological, familial, cultural, etc.
The phenomenon of homosexual behavior isn’t new, of course; the Old Testament mentions it (example: Leviticus 18:22), as does the New (see Romans 1:24-27). But the range of problems we are seeing today is unprecedented.
A full answer to your question would require a book or two (or more). Perhaps four short points will help you understand some of the roots of the problem.
First is the fallout from Adam’s sin at the start of human history.
That fallout is original sin and its consequences. Even though baptism takes away original sin from our souls, we still struggle with concupiscence, that is, the tendency to sin (read more in the Catechism in Nos. 385-387, 400, 403 and 405).
Without God’s grace and without the guidance he gave through Revelation, our wounded perceptions of right and wrong can lead some of us to believe that the LGBTQ lifestyle is natural.
Second is the breakdown in sexual morality that accelerated in the 1960s and 1970s. A key moment was the introduction of the first widely available contraceptive pill in 1960.
Very quickly sexual activity was separated (in theory, at least) from procreation, which meant that many people no longer linked sex to a lifelong commitment and to the wider family ties that go along with that.
Promiscuity isn’t new in human history. But what happened in the 1960s ignited a firestorm that still rages.
The result: whole generations have grown up thinking sex can simply be for pleasure with no commitments. And since it’s just for pleasure … it can be done with anyone. Hence, many people see no problem with homosexual behavior.
A third root of the LGBTQ phenomenon is linked to the second: The breakdown in morality has hurt marriages and left a lot of people wounded. Some research indicates that homosexuality is often tied to a person’s poor relationship with one or another parent.
Some radical feminists had problems with their moms, for instance. Many homosexual men have had poor relationship with their dads — hence, they seek affection from males in a distorted way. People struggling with same-sex attraction need compassion and help, but the kind that comes from following Our Lord’s path.
(For more reading see The Anti-Mary Exposed: Rescuing the Culture from Toxic Femininity, by Carrie Gress, and A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality, by Joseph Nicolosi.)
Still another root of the problem started during the Enlightenment. People put more and more faith in science and their ability to shape reality anyway they want. Fast-forward to our day, and that thinking means if a woman wants to be a man, she can do it. And if a man wants to be a woman, so be it.
This is all ignores reality, of course. But some people cherish the illusion that they can be anything they want to be.
As you suggest, God created men and women, and sex is for unitive and procreative reasons. It is meant to unite spouses and to raise up new human life.
We tinker with God’s plan for sex at our own risk. Contraception has led to marriage and family breakdown and to a horrific level of abortion (“the contraception of last resort”). Little wonder that most countries today have below-replacement birthrates and some even have declining populations.
All this does not bode well for the future.
Is there hope? Yes, if people embrace God’s plan for sex and marriage. A point of reference is St. John Paul II’s theology of the body.
This reply is only an attempt to show the tip of an iceberg. But maybe it will give you an idea of where the iceberg came from.
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