June signals the beginning of "Pride" month in secular society, a time dedicated to celebrating the LGBTQ community and the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, a demonstration considered a "tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement." Since the 1970 inaugural gay pride parade celebrating the Stonewall Uprising, there have been a variety of gay and lesbian pride celebrations, with multiple parades and demonstrations forming into the month we know today. Therefore, in this modern era of LGBTQ+, with its strong emphasis on affirming those who follow a homosexual lifestyle or consider themselves transgender, it is essential to call to mind the doctrines of the Church so that we are not "conformed to this world" but to Christ, who leads his Church by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The first point to address is the Church's position on homosexuality. There must, to begin with, be an essential distinction made between homosexual acts, which are always sinful, and homosexual inclination, which "the Church does not teach… is itself a sin." While the Church recognizes that inclination toward homosexual acts is itself not a sin, it also acknowledges that it constitutes "for most a trial" through which they "must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity" as they are "called to chastity" and "gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection." The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that "basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that 'homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." Despite a differing popular opinion, the Church's teaching is unequivocal that homosexual acts are "contrary to the natural law" and "under no circumstances can they be approved."

The second point to address as we enter into "Pride" month is the Church's position on sexual identity. In the recent document Dignitas Infinita and the Catechism, the Church reminds us that every "human body shares in the dignity of 'the image of God." It is, therefore, because "God created man in his own image…male and female he created them" that "everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity." Further, the Church recognizes "that human life is a gift from God" and "desiring a personal self-determination… apart from this fundamental truth that life is a gift, amounts to a concession to the age-old temptation to make oneself God." Rejecting one's gender constitutes a rejection and violation of the gift and inalienable dignity of the human body as made by the creator.

Lastly, those with homosexual inclinations or those struggling with sexual identity mustn't feel as though they are being discriminated against or isolated. While a mere inclination is not sinful, the homosexual act itself follows offenses against chastity that many heterosexuals struggle with, including lust, masturbation, fornication, pornography, prostitution, and rape. The Church teaches that "sexuality is ordered to the conjugal (marital) love of man and woman," thus, sexual acts outside of this union constitute an offense against the virtue. While the Church has given its definitive position on homosexuality and accepting one's sexual identity, ultimately it calls to mind the importance of compassion and sympathy teaching that "Christians give witness to the whole moral truth, which is contradicted both by approval of homosexual acts and unjust discriminiation against homosexual persons." All must do as Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 6:18 and "flee from sexual immorality," and "honor God with [our] bodies."

Matthew Weller — SFA Theologians Guild Member