I am gay. What can I do to stay in God’s grace and live a full, happy life as a gay man?
There is only one type of salvation: generously cooperating according to the circumstances of a person’s life with God’s unique gift of salvation through Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection.
Many people mistakenly think that deep-seated homosexuality is a genuinely free choice on a person’s part. According to article 2357 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained.” Speaking of baptized homosexuals, the Catechism goes on to teach, “By prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should . . . approach Christian perfection” (2359).
In his 2016 apostolic exhortation, Joy of Love, Pope Francis writes: “The Church makes her own the attitude of the Lord Jesus, who offers his boundless love to each person without exception. During the Synod [on the family], we discussed the situation of families whose members include persons who experience same-sex attraction, a situation not easy either for parents or for children. We would like before all else to reaffirm that every person, regardless of sexual orientation, ought to be respected in his or her dignity and treated with consideration, while every sign of unjust discrimination is to be carefully avoided, particularly any form of aggression and violence. Such families should be given respectful pastoral guidance, so that those who manifest a homosexual orientation can receive the assistance they need to understand and fully carry out God’s will in their lives” (250). This quote incorporates three quotes from earlier Church documents.
According to “Always Our Children,” the 1997 pastoral message from the US bishops’ committee on marriage and family: “Generally, a homosexual orientation is experienced as a given, not as something freely chosen. By itself, therefore, a homosexual orientation cannot be considered sinful, for morality presumes the freedom to choose.”
In the US bishops’ 2006 “Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Orientation: Guidelines for Pastoral Care,” we read: “The Church actively asserts and promotes the intrinsic dignity of every person. As human persons, persons with a homosexual inclination have the same basic rights as all people, including the right to be treated with dignity.”
How can you live a full, happy life as a gay man? Participate in the life of the Church, especially through prayer, service, and the sacraments. Same-sex friendships do not require genital expression. Many people have found groups such as Courage International (couragerc.org) helpful.
May the Lord bless your faith journey.