THE honesty and courage of your young, anonymous, correspondent (September 6), who became fully aware of his homosexual orientation three years ago when he was 15 and who states that he "will never indulge in any act of gay sex", should, surely, be admired and encouraged.
He has grown up in an age when, more than ever before, the Catholic Church's teachings concerning sexual ethics have been questioned and rejected and not only by the world, but by many Christians, including some Catholics. Yet he believes in his heart of hearts that all homosexual acts are contrary to God's law.
He has reached this conclusion despite the fact that there are many out there who are trying to convince him and the world that, for persons who are homosexually oriented, homosexual acts are normal and to be pursued.
A person's psycho-sexual development, which takes place alongside his or her physical, mental and emotional development, begins at the moment of conception and continues to at least the end of -uberty. No conscious decision is made by the individual to become heterosexually or homosexually oriented. So one's sexual orientation is not a moral issue. This fact is reflected in the teachings of the church and her pastoral concern for homosexual persons.
For those whose orientation is homosexual, something, through no fault of their own, has gone awry in the complicated process of the psychosexual development. To deny this, far from making it easier for those who arc homosexual to come to terms with their sexuality and the consequences, makes it infinitely more difficult.
As one who, half a century ago, realised that he was homosexual, I have had to come to terms with myself as I am. I welcomed, in the late 1960s, the decriminalisation of homosexual acts between consenting adults. Not because I considered such acts no longer intrinsically immoral, but because I no longer had to consider myself any more of a potential criminal than those who are tempted to commit fornication or adultery. (The social problems caused by fornication or adultery are as great, if not greater, than those caused by homosexual acts between consenting adults.)
But I have not welcomed the gay movement, so called, which has spread rapidly and extensively in this country over the last 20 years. For, in my opinion, this movement has done more harm than good, especially to those homosexual persons who, like myself, accept wholeheartedly the church's teachings concerning homosexuality.
The campaign by the gay lobby to persuade society that being gay is normal for some people and that, therefore, gay sex is a natural and moral alternative to heterosexual sex can only lead to an increase in homophobia. It also makes it more difficult for homosexual persons to seek and find the support they need if they are to come to terms with their sexuality, accept the teachings of the church which are none other than the teachings of Christ .and live, according to their conscience, a celibate life.
The church's teachings on homosexuality must be unequivocally and sensitively explained, especially in Catholic secondary schools and colleges of higher education. For the sooner the homosexual person adopts a healthy attitude to his or her sexuality, the sooner that person will be able to come to terms with himself or herself and, with God's grace, be able to live a moral and, therefore, contented
There is a crying need for the establishment for homosexual persons of self-help groups (on the lines of Alcoholics Anonymous) which include in their basic code an unqualified acceptance of the church's teaching in sexual ethics. (The Catholic section of the Gay Christian Movement, as far as I know, does not meet this criterion and I doubt that the organisation known as "Quest" does either.) Devout Catholics, such as your young correspondent, who are homosexual desperately need the support of such groups if they are not to continue to feel isolated and lonely if not suicidal.
Such groups could help those who are angry with the church, the world and themselves to find peace.
Name and address supplied