There has been a sharp increase in the number of children coming out as gay. Maybe you have such a child and wonder how to reconcile your love for him or her with your adherence to the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality.
Here are some tips.
Meet your child where he or she is.
This doesn’t mean celebrating your child’s homosexuality. Celebrate him or her — the precious child God gave you to raise for His kingdom. Our society seems to have forgotten that you can love and affirm someone without endorsing everything he or she does.
Resist the urge to constantly remind your child that same-sex acts are wrong. He or she probably already knows how you feel. Constantly berating your child will alienate him or her even more.
Don’t assume your child experiences same-sex attraction because he or she wants to be rebellious. Psychological events beyond your child’s control can make him or her more susceptible to this feeling.
Do understand this important point: The Church teaches that same-sex attraction, while intrinsically disordered, is not a sin unless the person willingly and freely engages in homosexual activity.
Your child may just need someone to hold onto and cry with. Don’t estimate the power of simply being present to someone. It may not change him or her right away, but it can work wonders in the long run.
Ask the Lord to help you bear your child’s burden.
If you don’t experience same-sex attraction yourself, it’s difficult to know how to help someone who does. You haven’t suffered the pain this person has. That’s why you need Christ’s guidance.
To start, ask Christ, “How do you bear with my sins?” After all, you too are a sinner! You may not sin in the same way, but all sin offends God. Christ has continued to love you through it all.
Be careful about minimizing other sins when speaking about homosexuality. Some people who have left their same-sex lifestyle speak of the pain of being treated like outcasts while other sinners enjoyed their social lives.
As Catholics, the Lord calls us to speak the truth and love our neighbor as ourselves. Be honest, but gentle. Realize that you can’t force your child to adhere to everything you believe. It’s the Holy Spirit that transforms hearts. Rely on Him and be an instrument of His love.