If You Were Gay and Catholic*

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J.Neil C. Garcia in his essay titled “Why am I a Catholic?” wrote, “I continue to be a practicing Catholic because to the best of my knowledge, in our country, Catholicism is really the most desirable religion to belong to when one happens to be gay.  Officially, the church condemns my very being.  And yet, who really understands the doctrines of the Catholic faith hereabout?”

The statement above expresses the writer’s reason why he and so many other Catholic gays in our culture have found it extremely difficult to practice religion alongside homosexuality.  Since the church is divided in their beliefs when it comes to homosexual practices and behaviors, it becomes a burden to gays, especially in expressing themselves.  Thus, this paper dubbed “If You were Gay and Catholic”* deals with the obligation of church authorities in the church and state towards homosexuals.  In particular, it focuses upon the nature and the reprehensibility of the prejudices against homosexuals in our society, and the need to combat such prejudices by policy measures in both the church and state.  The paper does not attempt to rethink or to develop substantially the Catholic position on the morality of homosexuality, however, much such rethinking and development are needed in this and all the other areas of the church’s tradition.   Rather, it presents the current official position as a given for its limited purposes.

At the outset, we need to define briefly a few terms.  Orientation refers to a habitual state of being which inclines one toward certain attitudes and actions.  A homosexual orientation inclines one to prefer as a sexual partner a person of one’s own sex.  Thus, one is attracted to persons of the same sex and is more desirous of having genital sex with such persons than with persons of the opposite sex.  If such a person engages in genital activity with a person of the same sex, s/he is said to be acting out homosexuality.  This acting out is perhaps better called homogenital activity.  Finally, a homosexual is one who is homosexually oriented, whether s/he acts out or not.  A gay is a male homosexual, as lesbian is a female homosexual; a straight person is one who is heterosexual (Catholic Northwest Progress, 1983).

The fact that a person is lesbian, gay, or bisexual does not change the fact that s/he has been raised with the same socializing agents as a person who is heterosexual.  Parental influences, schooling,  media, and peers all tend to deliver the same messages about appropriate gender role behaviors.  Notions of gender are developed at a very early age and have a profound effect upon one’s attitudes, behaviors, and sense of identity (Hancock, 2000).

In identifying homosexual behaviors, report shows that the process of coming out for males appears more abrupt and more likely to be associated with psychiatric symptoms, whereas the process for women are characterized by greater fluidity and ambiguity.   The reasons for the differences are related to gender-role socialization differences.  Boys receive more intense socialization pressure to behave in gender-appropriate ways than girls with more punishment for not doing so.  Homoerotic feelings and behaviors are also attributed since the process of coming out especially for men tends to be more abrupt, manifesting in sexual behavior without the emotional intimacy that characterizes female relationship.  Similarly, men are then apt to repress or doing the significance of this behavior.

Furthermore, J. Neil Garcia in his essay “Philippine Gay Culture: reflections on a study” says that, “Filipino gays in the Philippines are better off than their Western counterparts for simple reason that herabout they can actually become famous couturiers and beauticians, if only they are talented or gutsy enough.  Likewise, gays don’t really get discriminated against in this country as proven by the fact that our streets are crawling – or rather, swishing – with so many of them, who, one oughtn’t to forget to note, hardly ever get bashed.  The prettier ones can even become beauty queens in the countless pageants sponsored especially for them by the many different towns and districts of the city (150).”

WORKS CITED:
Garcia, J. Neil C.  “Why Am I a Catholic?” Slip/pages.  Pasig City: Anvil Publishing, 2000. pp. 167-172.

Garcia, J. Neil C. “Philippine gay culture: reflections on a study.” Slip/pages. Pasig City: Anvil Publishing, 2000. pp. 150-154.

Hancock, Kristin A. “Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Lives.” Educational Research and Practice in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Psychology: a resource manual. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2000. pp. 91-123.

Moral Dilemmas: readings in ethics and social philosophy. California: Wadsworth Publishing, Co., 1985. pp. 226-233.

*I wrote this paper for our Gender and Literature class in college.

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