Published: Thursday, 28th April 2011
Are people who experience same-sex attraction born with it, is it acquired, do such relationships last and are they really ‘happy’? Is there a psychological dimension? Can a homosexual orientation be reversed? Indeed, can it be prevented? What’s the difference between ‘Gay’ and ‘homosexual’?
I was never sure about answers to such questions until I heard a truly eye-opening talk by Dr Joseph Nicolosi, psychologist and Founder of the U.S.A, based National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). Dr Nicolosi specialises in what he terms: “the rehabilitation of dissatisfied male homosexuals wanting to return to normal life.”
Dr Nicolosi has dealt with thousands of clients. In virtually every case study he examined he states there has been either a difficult or emotionally distant relationship with a father, a rejection or failure to identify with dad at a certain critical age, a lack of affirmation of a boy’s masculinity from dad, a failure to dis-identify with mother and connect with father, an over-involvement by mother or a combination of the above and other factors.
What’s the difference between homosexual and ‘Gay’? Dr Nicolosi makes the distinction that ‘Gay’ is a socio-political construct of only 100 years old, to more accurately describe those who are acting out their impulses and who are activists in promoting the lifestyle and its acceptance in society.
The homosexual however is someone who finds himself experiencing confusing same-sex attraction as a condition, a struggle and, for them, a problem and who does not necessarily wish to act out on his inclinations. Dr Nicolosi points out that the ‘Gay’ movement doesn’t want the general public - or those struggling with same-sex attraction - to realise this distinction. Just because one experiences such same-sex attraction does not inevitably mean that they are just ‘born that way’, that they must ‘act out’ their impulses or that they are destined to get caught up in that lifestyle.
Amongst those who have the desire and determination to change, with proper psychological, pastoral and sacramental support, there is a real possibility of return to a functioning heterosexual inclination and lifestyle. Many have done so.
The Catholic Catechism states that people with homosexual tendencies must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.  The catechism goes on to say that homosexual person are called to chastity – just like everyone else.
I myself have been privileged to know some individuals struggling bravely with same sex attraction who do not wish to act out on their inclinations. With proper peer support, pastoral direction and the grace of the sacraments, they are heroically living each day, one at a time.
The truth is each one of us is called to chastity whatever our state in life. No-one is exempt from this call. As a single man or woman, we are all called to chaste self-mastery, steering clear of occasions of temptation, acting in mutual respect of the other. When we get married, we are called to chaste and loving acts appropriate to marriage and exclusively with spouse, in keeping with God’s plan and the dignity of others. Chastity is part of the universal call to holiness.
The beautiful act of marital intercourse is the exclusive preserve of husband and wife in lifelong marriage, open to life and union with the other. It was designed by the Creator to be solely enjoyed and exercised by husband and wife only, no-one else. No-one else.
Dr Nicolosi holds that there is only one orientation, a heterosexual one, and that some struggle with a homosexual problem. That the condition can be largely addressed and reversed for those who desire it - with proper psychological and spiritual application - points to the psychological basis of the condition. Dr Nicolosi holds that to be ‘born gay’ is one of the biggest lies that society has been persuaded to swallow, and that there is no empirical basis for a genetic origin. The figure that 10% of the population is a myth, invented by Alfred Kinsey in the 1940’s. A new study this month reports that 1.7% of USA citizens over 18 yrs identify as being ‘gay’.
From a statistical viewpoint, the ‘gay’ lifestyle throws up some pertinent facts: 74% of male homosexuals reported have more than 100 ‘partners’ during their lifetime. Life expectancy is reduced by 25-30 years; Homosexual males reported to be 24 times more likely to commit suicide compared to similar aged white males; practicing homosexual men carry hugely increased level of bowel infections, blood borne infection, psychological morbidity such as depression and damaging physical effects such as bowel incontinence in one out of three practicing the lifestyle.
Yet, in the face of all this, the Gay advocacy movement want us all to ‘celebrate diversity’.
Those struggling with a same sex attraction deserve the right to hear the truth that their tendency can be reversed with proper psychological and spiritual support. Those caught up in the ‘gay’ lifestyle need to be loved into the truth, not lauded as heroes in their flaunting their condition nor condemned as inevitably destined for hell. All of us do wrong and all of us deserve the chance to make amends as all are called to according to the call of the Gospel.
Parents can do a lot to affirm healthy heterosexual identity in their children. Dad needs to be involved with the children, especially the boys. Sport, hobbies, wrestling and shared interests go a long way to establishment of a balanced self-identity in the young. The three A’s are essential – affection, affirmation and attention. Mum needs to allow dad to be dad in an appropriate manner. A good relationship with the same-sex parent is a key requirement for each child. At the critical so-called “gender identity phase”, (about 3-6yrs old) boys especially need to identify with dad and be affirmed in their masculinity and differentness from mother.
Are those who hold a Judeo-Christian view on life really so out of touch with ‘reality’? I don’t think so. Those with traditional Catholic and Christian values have often been made to feel they are feet-dragging, stuck-in-the-mud die-hards, not in touch with the new ‘modern’ Ireland. Not infrequently, many who have voiced disagreement have been treated to vilification, accusation and labels with the resultant tendency that the silent majority tends to say little.
Yes it is true that no-one, homosexual or otherwise, should be subject to unjust discrimination and victimisation. Everyone has the right to be treated with common courtesy and respect. It is incumbent upon Christians however, to inform themselves and counter mis-information and lies from whatever lobby group seeking to promote an agenda not for the common good.
 All statistics cited from “Homosexuality – The Medical, Social and Religious Implications”. Maranatha Community, Manchester, 1998 and “The Consequences and risks of alternative sexual practices” A Statement by a Group of Medical Professionals. The Council For Health and Wholeness, Manchester 2000
This feature is categorised under Life Matters