by Fr. Elijah
1. What is Homosexuality?
2. What is the Cause of Homosexuality?
d) Reparative Therapy
3. What is Church’s Teaching on Homosexuality?
c) Natural Law
d) Catechism of the Catholic Church
4. The Response of the Homosexual Person to his State
5. The Response of other Christians to the Homosexual Person.
6. The Female Homosexual
7. Some Current Issues:
A) Gay Rights Movement
(III) AIDS & Other Health Risks
(IV) Homosexual (Teen) Suicide
B) The Law
I) Homosexual Rights
II) Hate, Violence and Discrimination
(IV) Child Adoption
1. What is Homosexuality?
Several decades ago homosexuality was rarely mentioned in polite society. It was viewed as too perverse or sinful to be discussed. The stigma against homosexuality still made it, in the famous words of Oscar Wilde at his trial, “the love that dares not speak its name.” Then things began to change. The subject was first popularly broached in the 1940s, through the seemingly scientific research of Alfred Kinsey, who announced that homosexuality was much more prevalent than commonly believed. In the 1950s it became a subject (especially lesbianism) for adult pulp novels. With the sexual revolution and the minority rights movements of the 1960-70s homosexual rights groups began to organize publicly calling for a change in people’s attitudes and in the law. In the 1980s the AIDS epidemic elicited an immediate and compassionate response from many quarters of society to the plight of the active homosexual. Now, homosexuality and the gay lifestyle have entered into mainstream culture via court fiats, media exposure, and growing public acceptance. Needless to say the Christian response to homosexuality has become an extremely important and yet sensitive and politicized issue. Who is a homosexual person? Definitions vary widely. Homosexuality is a term used to describe the psychosexual attraction of a person to others of the same sex. The first half of the word comes from the Greek word “homos” meaning the same. The word “homosexual” can refer to men or women, although female homosexuals are often referred to as lesbians (from the islandof Lesbos, on which the Greek poetess Sappho lived with her disciples). The term “homosexual” may describe a tendency or behaviour covering a wide spectrum from the most temporary and minor inclinations of teenagers and young adults to permanent, exclusive, and deeply rooted patterns of homosexual preference in mature adults. It is this latter type that is most commonly meant by the term. The Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to homosexuality as relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. This is what we will mean by the term in this talk. Homosexual orientation may be said to include not only one’s overt physical attraction for members of one’s own sex but also the fantasy life that has preceded it for years. It is commonly accepted that this inclination is not consciously willed by the person and is sometimes not even recognized by them.
A caution must be made here at the very beginning. Although sexuality is inherent in all aspects of life, and has a sublime role in God’s plans, human motivation and activity should not be explained entirely on the basis of sexuality. Therefore the label “homosexual” is an inadequate description of human persons. While we are profoundly influenced by our sexual identity and propensities we are nonetheless more than them. Homosexual behaviour, of course, is not something new. Arlo Karlen’s historical and biographical overview (Sexuality and Homosexuality, 1971) gives sufficient evidence to conclude that homosexuality has existed in all places and times and has even appears to have flourished in some periods (such as the classical Greece and Renaissance Italy). He does note, however, that exclusively homosexual behaviour was generally viewed negatively and could be punished severely in some societies. If homosexual acts were accepted, it was only in special situations or at certain times in life. For example, Eastern Mediterranean and Sumerian peoples worshipped deities whose religious rites included both heterosexual and homosexual intercourse. In classic Greek society, where the status of women was very low, a separate male culture existed that included older males mentoring adolescent boys, with some acceptable homosexual activity. Yet, again, in Greece the exclusive homosexual was generally considered laughable and despicable.
The APA’s Declassification of Homosexuality as a Disorder
In 1973 American Psychiatric Association’s decided to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as a pathology. This has done much to promote the idea of the normalcy of homosexuality. However, its removal was not done in an impartial, scientific manner. It was very much a political decision made under pressure. During the early 1970s, gay activists had made a number of disruptive demonstrations at professional meetings, placing considerable pressure on psychiatrists to revise their designation of homosexuality as a disorder treatable by psychiatry. In 1973, the board of the American Psychiatric Association voted to change the classification of homosexuality in its DSMD Manual. Members of the APA who specialized in treating homosexuals protested the board’s decision, but immediately before a general referendum on the issue, a letter went out in the name of the board, urging APA members not to reverse the board’s decision. It was not known until after the vote that this letter was in fact written and paid for by the National Gay Task Force. Only about one third of APA members voted in the referendum but the final tally upheld the board’s decision to reclassify homosexuality. The 1973 decision was based not on any advance in scientific or medical knowledge. It occurred instead as a result of successful gay lobbying and a considerable body of psychological data on homosexuality was dismissed as no longer relevant. In 1977, four years after the politically motivated change in definition, a survey of 2,500 psychiatrists on “current thinking on homosexuality” revealed that 69% still believed that “homosexuality was usually a pathological adaptation as opposed to a normal variation,” with only 18% opposing that view (13% were undecided). Thus, it seemed that the APA took a position contrary to the majority view of the field it purports to represent (see H. Lief, “Sexual Survey #4: Current Thinking On Homosexuality,” Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality, Vol. 11). However, with time professionals do adapt their viewpoints. In a 1995 American study it was reported that 47.3% of psychiatric training directors polled viewed homosexuality as normal or somewhat normal, 51.2% view homosexuality as neutral, and 1.5% view it as somewhat pathological or pathological (Mark Townsend, “Gay and Lesbian Issues in U.S. Psychiatry Training as Reported by Residency Training Directors,” Academic Psychiatry 1995). There is much controversy, as in so many areas of this subject, as to the percentage of any given population that is truly homosexual. It was Alfred Kinsey’s famous 1948 report, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, that first claimed about ten percent of the American male population was homosexual (over a period of at least three years — four percent for those exclusively homosexual over many years) and that as many as 37% of the male population had had at least one homosexual experience in their lifetime. The one-in-ten ratio has become commonly accepted even though no study since 1960 has data supporting this number. Kinsey’s study was criticized in his own day and later investigation found it profoundly flawed. Kinsey used volunteers rather than randomly chosen participants. One of Kinsey’s colleagues admitted in a 1972 book that coaching was common in collecting the data (Wardell Promeroy, Dr. Kinsey And the Institute for Sex Research, 1972). Kinsey also used a grossly non-typical study population. His volunteers included male and female prostitutes and pimps. Most disturbing was his heavy use of criminals: 1,400 of his 5,300 final subjects (twenty-six percent). Many of them were convicted sex offenders. This is a group that by definition is not representative of normal sexual practices. (For a critique of Kinsey’s research methods and personal character, see Kinsey, Sex, and Fraud, by Dr. Judith Reisman and Edward Eichel, 1990). Recent and more scientifically accurate studies done since 1987 in England, France, Norway, and the United States, each show the incidence of exclusive homosexuality falls consistently between one and two percent of the male population and about half that of the female population.
National Statistics found that of the 8000 men included in the random sampling only one percent of the men said that they were exclusively homosexual. Another one per cent indicated that they were bisexual. A 1991 nationwide survey of 19,000 adults found that 1.4 per cent of men aged 16 to 59 had homosexual contact in the previous five years, Herald Sun, January 22,1994. See also Forman, D., British Medical Journal, 1989, Vol. 298, pp. 1137- 1142, where a study of 480 white males aged between 15 to 49 disclosed that only 1.7 per cent had had homosexual intercourse. A 1992 French government study of over 20,000 adults found that 1.4 per cent of men and 0.4 per cent of women had had homosexual intercourse in the five years preceding the survey. A nationwide 1987 Norwegian poll found 1.8 per cent had had homosexual experience within the previous three years. An American study by the National Opinion Research Centre, University of Chicago, Feb. 1989 found that less than 1.2 per cent of the surveyed males and females reported homosexual activity. The Alan Guttmacher Institute published in Family Planning Perspectives (March/April 1993) found less than 2% of males had experienced a homosexual relationship in the past ten years and only 1% had exclusively homosexual relationships. Four separate national surveys conducted in the United States in 1970, 1988, 1989 and 1990 by the National Opinion Research Center (total 7,408 subjects) came up with an aggregated incidence of 1.8% who had male-to-male sex during the previous year, with 3.3% percent reporting that they experienced male-to-male sexual contact “occasionally” or “fairly often” as adults, and 5-7% in a lifetime have had a homosexual encounter. Less than 0.5% of the population “go both ways” (bisexual) in a given year. Source: Robert Fay et al., “Prevalence and Patterns of Same-Gender Contact Among Men,” Science 243 (January 20,1989): 338-48: S.M. Rogers and C.F. Turner, “Male-Male Sexual Contact in the U.S.A.: Findings from Five Sample Surveys, 1970-1990, Journal of Sex Research, November 28, 1991: 491-519. Tom Stoddard, a leader in the gay rights movement, admitted to Newsweek in February 1993, “We used that figure (10 percent) when most gay people were entirely hidden to try to create an impression of our numerousness.”
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