Friday, September 26, 2008

Homosexuality, Sin, and Hell

Q: Recently I read at a Christian website about how homosexuality is a sin, and those who protect their rights are not people of God and are going to be sent to hell on the day of judgment. This made me extremely angry. I believe in God, but I don’t believe that He will send homosexual supporters or homosexuals to hell for this. Does the Catholic Church agree with me?

A: Everyone and everything belongs to God and He alone is the judge. Whenever anyone claims that another is going to go to hell, I usually feel sorry for the person placing the judgment. God alone is the judge of our souls. The greatest and scariest thing is that God knows what is in everyone’s heart and soul.

The Catholic Church agrees that we are to hate the sin, but love the sinner. Being Catholics we are called to uphold the laws of God, and in Matthew 22:39 Jesus says, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” I think there is a way that we can object to sins and immorality and still respect all people.

I have a few friends who are homosexual, and I don’t approve of the activity, but I still respect them. It’s not my duty to place judgment on them, but to display the love of Christ. John 21:21-22 says, “When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, ‘Lord what about him?’ Jesus said to him, ‘What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours? You follow me.” This is a reminder to me that I have enough faults of my own and should focus on my own lifestyle and choices. We should not make others feel judged; if I am trying to spread the word of God my actions speak louder than words. If my actions are judgmental, what view of Catholicism am I portraying?

We are all made in the image and likeness of God. When I feel myself becoming judgmental I try to call to mind my own sins, my own vices that keep me from living the way God intended me to live and that helps me recall that I am no better than the other person, that I too am a sinner, even if our sins are different.

Now, the Catechism of the Catholic Church does condemn homosexual activity as “intrinsically disordered” which “under no circumstances can be approved.” (CCC, 2357) Yet, and this is important, it also says that homosexuals “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.” (CCC, 2358)