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MARRIAGE AND PEOPLE WHO EXPERIENCE HOMOSEXUAL ATTRACTIONS

A Xt3 Member asked at 9:13am on September 5th 2016
Dear Father,

Although a cradle Catholic, my knowledge thus far of the faith is not where it ideally should be. I have just started my journey of deeper reseach into the teachings of the Church and my confusion seems to revolve around the topic of homosexuality and marriage.

I understand the teaching on what marriage is, that it is between a man and a woman, as God Himself designed it. And how it is supposed to be a free, total, faithful and fruitful relationship. However, my question is if a person is already married and finds that they develop homosexual feelings or attractions, or maybe have always had same-sex feelings, is that a valid reason for an annulment? Or is there still a chance for the couple to remain in the marital bond?

Thank you for your service,

Nireeksha

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Hi Nireeksha, for a marriage to be valid, each of the partners must make a free choice of the other, including (provided the female partner is still young enough to bear children) a commitment to be open to bringing up their children. If I have made this commitment, and in fact made a public vow to honour this, then I am bound to live that out no matter what it costs me. I must then treat homosexual feelings or attractions in the same way as I would treat feelings for another person of the opposite sex, that is, pray for the grace to overcome them and do everything to avoid them.

Among the many things I'm not, I'm not a canon lawyer, but if a person went through with a marriage ceremony while not intending to carry out their commitment of openness to procreation - say to protect my career, as some Hollywood stars may have done in the past, or to cover up my homosexuality, then there could be grounds for annulment. This would be because I didn't honestly mean the words I said in the wedding ceremony.

Since I don't accept that the homosexual condition is genetic, however mysterious its origins may be, if a person at the time of their marriage honestly entered into the commitment to married life, there's every reason to believe that with grace and prayer, and possibly with the assistance of a counsellor who accepts the Church's teaching on homosexuality, they could and should remain faithful to their marital vow. Very best, Fr Brendan
Xt3's Ask a Priest answered at 12:21am on September 22nd 2016 reply
 

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