It certainly is a contentious issue in society as well as the Church. What is to be done about homosexuality and the LGBTQ community is the question that presents itself at the center of cultural and religious debates. I want to suggest that a large portion of Catholics are getting the homosexuality approach wrong. Laws and condemnation will never prevent homosexuality and LGBTQ. Laws and condemnation have never prevented pornography, drugs, abortion, adultery, or murder. Why do we think it will prevent homosexuality?
The reality is most Catholics use the truth that homosexuality is a sin to fight against it. It may be unintentional, but Christians approach the issue of homosexuality and LGBTQ from a perspective of sinfulness, discomfort, and judgment. Many times we give the illusion that somehow we are better than those who identify as LGBTQ. However, we must remember we have our own crosses to bear, our own sins to confess, our own bondage chains to break, and our own faith journey to live.
“Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother,, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye.’? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first, then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5)
This passage is often used as a defense for those who believe one is to not judge the actions or sins of another. It is not, however, a prohibition against recognizing and condemning the actions of others. If this were the meaning of the verse then we would have to conclude that it is contradiction to verse 5. We know that is not possible because Sacred Scripture does not contradict itself. God does not contradict Himself. The verse implies there are actions to complete prior to recognizing the faults of others. A close look at verse 5 tells us what actions we are to take in order to be the saints God wants us to be.
“You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5)
We are commanded to examine ourselves before analyzing the faults of others. We condemn others but do not go to Reconciliation for our own sins. We readily point out the sins of the LGBTQ community yet ignore our hidden life of pornography addiction, jealousy, gossip, or greed. We boldly proclaim that homosexuality is a sin (which it certainly is) while cowering in the darkness of adultery.
If we are to make a difference in the lives of those in the LGBTQ community and bring them close to Christ then we, ourselves, must draw near to Christ and that begins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We are to combine our evangelistic efforts toward them with a mixture of love and call for repentance. We cannot solely condemn their actions and then blanket it with a cover of love. We must have love as the root of the call to repentance. To have that foundation then we need to ensure our own spiritual lives are our priority.
The best way for our desire to see repentance in others is to begin with repentance for ourselves. Living our life as an example is more effective than using words without actions. It will be our life of repentance and godliness which will lead others to Christ and not our words.