EDITORIAL

Those with same-sex attraction urged to embrace virtues of chastity, purity

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The August 30 issue of Science reported the results of a major scientific study on homosexuality. The study, which involved nearly half a million people from a number of countries around the world, concluded that there was no single genetic marker present in those who experience same-sex attraction. The lead author of the study, Andrea Ganna, a geneticist at Finland’s Institute of Molecular Medicine, stated: “From a genetic standpoint, there is no single [genetic distinction] from opposite-sex to same-sex behaviors.” Another geneticist, Eric Vilain, was quoted in Scientific American as saying that the study’s results mark “the end of the ‘gay gene’” theory.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, in paragraph 2357, that the psychological genesis of homosexuality “remains largely unexplained.” That is still the case after this study. Science has still not identified the origin of same-sex attraction. In all probability, the root cause (or causes) involve a combination of physical, emotional and relational factors — which are commonly categorized as “nature” and “nurture.”

But even if a scientific reason were to be discovered, the disposition of Catholics toward homosexuals and homosexual actions should remain the same.

As Bishop Tobin wrote in one of his “Without a Doubt” columns several years ago: “Members of the Church, particularly those in positions of authority — bishops, priests, deacons, catechists, and especially parents — have an obligation to understand and present what we believe about the sinful nature of homosexual acts. We have an equally important obligation to foster respect for persons with same-sex attraction. We should love them, respect them, pray with them, and welcome them into our churches. But we do them a grave disservice if we do not urge them to embrace a lifestyle marked by the Christian virtues of chastity and purity.”

Well said, Bishop!