“Ask a Priest: May a Homosexual Live With His Friend in Continence?”

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Q: I was born and raised in a very active Catholic family. I grew up listening to terms such as “aberration” or “abomination” and the disgust of my parents when referring to matters of homosexuality. I have always fought against being gay, since I have never wanted to sin or go to hell for this. I find it horrible to be called an “abomination” when this is something I never wanted or asked for, but rather the contrary! Prayers and prayers, and nights of crying, and still I’m gay. However, I have met a guy, and we have held a loving relationship since then. He is also Catholic, and 99% of our problems and crises are due to our religion. We have done research and found that the Catholic Catechism states that being homosexual is not a sin, but rather doing homosexual acts. The sole recommendation from the Church to these individuals is a life in chastity. However, we have been extensively researching about homosexual Catholic couples, and it seems like there is no answer from the Church to this matter. We are both willing to live in chastity, sleep in different rooms (have no physical contact), we are both willing to quit the idea of adopting kids (we believe in the beauty of the natural and traditional family). In other words, we want to share our lives together, but remain in chastity in order to get salvation. Are we thinking right, or are we supposed to end this relationship and live like solitary homosexual individuals? We truly love each other, and the faith we share is crucial in our relationship. Thank you for the information you might give us. We are terribly suffering with the idea of going to hell, but also with the idea of losing each other. -A.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: It is good that you want to try to live in accord with Church teaching. Our Lord teaches us and guides us through the magisterium. He only wants the best for you, as does the Church. For you are a beloved son of the Church.

That said, it is good to remember that we all have the obligation to avoid the near occasion of sin. So here you have to ask yourself whether living in the same quarters with your friend will be a source of serious temptation for you.

Your living with him under the same roof could also give scandal, since neighbors and family members might assume that you are sleeping together. The Catechism in No. 2284 says, “Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor’s tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death.”

It is good to note that chastity doesn’t mean living in loneliness. We can be chaste and be very fulfilled, although our society tells us just the opposite. Our society tells us that we can never be fulfilled unless we are sexually active. But the message of the Gospel is different. Jesus was chaste and celibate, and so was Mary, and so were many of the saints. Did that make them lonely and joyless people? Not at all.

The Church’s call to you to live a life of chastity is not a call to perpetual sadness and isolation. Rather, it is a call to cultivate relationships that are deep and true friendships, but without sexual intimacy, which has a specific purpose in God’s plan.

If you continue to develop this friendship in harmony with Church teaching, and perhaps even more importantly continue to grow in your spiritual life, your life of prayer and service to others, you will discover that God can work powerfully in and through you.

You will discover much more happiness and meaning than you can imagine. God has revealed the truth about human sexuality not in order to torture us, but to lead us toward the fulfillment that he longs to give us, a true and lasting fulfillment that begins in this life and flourishes in eternity.

By the way, the Church has actually developed a broad pastoral approach for helping people with same-sex attraction. You could check out the Courage website, as well as the video “The Third Way“.

I hope this helps. Count on being included in one of my Mass intentions.

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