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Homosexuality, ‘Ex-Gay’ Ministries, Chastity


7/17/2005 - 5:56 AM PST

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By Matt Abbott
Op/Ed

The Rev. Richard Perozich of the San Diego diocese, currently ministering in Honduras as a Maryknoll priest associate, has helped those Catholics who suffer from same-sex attraction live chaste lives. Father Perozich was head of the San Diego diocese’s chapter of Courage (www.couragerc.net), an apostolate that “extends the Church's invitation to experience the freedom of chaste living” to those with the homosexual inclination.

Father Perozich was gracious enough to offer me his (slightly edited) observations on the homosexual inclination, certain “ex-gay” ministries and the focus of Courage:

The formation of the homosexual identity

“Men and women with same sex attractions come to a point of self understanding in different ways. Some common experiences psychologically are as children, distancing from peers of their same sex, fear of rejection by same sex peers, avoidance of interactions which form proper non genital relationships such as sports for some boys and common activities in which girls come to acceptance of self and one another. Not an insignificant number experience sexual abuse from a person five years older or more, further damaging sexual identity as male or female.

“Some with hypersensitive feelings begin to own and identify with the taunts that they are less than valued for being a boy or a girl. They withdraw relationally into their own worlds. A low self esteem in relation to others of the same sex promotes gender emptiness, in insecurity in one’s gender with accompanying feelings of emotional dependency, jealousy, hurt, comparisons. An intense gender attraction for members of one’s own sex flows from this.

“If this continues, sexual attraction in adolescence is the result. When this is expressed through fantasy and reinforced through genital behavior alone or with others, homosexual identity can result: looking for other homosexual persons, redefining oneself according to sexual feelings, and defensiveness -- all of which we see in practicing or promoting homosexuals.

“These feelings and this automatic reparational process to counter psychological immaturity are in conflict with society’s morality and ethics, with the spiritual life, with the deepest emotional and psychological core of the person. Since he or she cannot live forever in conflict, the facile resolution of the weak person is to re-identify as homosexual and live out the life. To do this, one must condemn society, religion and anything that opposes the choice.

“The stronger choice is to embrace one’s gender as male or female and all that is proper to it, recognize the difficulties which lead to homosexual feelings, and fight to resume the journey toward manhood or womanhood. It will not be an easy fight, especially if the reinforcement through sexual acting out has been strong. The homosexual feelings may never go away, but they can be mastered so that non-sexual relationships with both sexes can be learned -- and even development of sexual interest in the opposite sex for some.

“Why men and women reject homosexuality

“As a man or woman with same sex attractions begins to mature emotionally, spiritually, morally, ethically, psychologically, socially, he or she often begins to sense a disconnect between the attractions with their related behaviors and the authentic self. Sometimes a dissonance is triggered by a frustration in relationships, a break up in a sexual relationship, a religious conversion, shame of one’s behaviors, fatigued at performing sex without satisfaction in order to try to satisfy developmental needs, anger for allowing oneself to be deceived by ‘sexperts’ into believing homogenital sex brings peace in oneself, refusal to be defined by others according to sexual desires.

“For those who reject religion, it is easier to be deceived by the language of practicing homosexuals into believing that one is ‘gay,’ ‘born that way,’ ‘immutable,’ ‘normal,’ necessary to express to be fulfilled as a person. A non-religious person with same-sex attraction who would reject this might identify himself or herself as an ‘ex-gay.’

“For the Christian, and particularly for the Catholic man or woman, this characterization is deceitful and disingenuous. The Catholic Church teaches that everyone needs to accept his or her sexuality and all that accompanies it. Implicit in the teaching is that sexuality is male or female; explicit is that the differences are oriented toward marriage and the complementarity of male and female.

“Sexual desires for the same sex are not a part of the created goodness, but rather an overlay experience which stifles personal growth and natural sexual desire for the opposite sex. Despite propaganda to the contrary, homosexual desire remains an ‘evil,’ a ‘disordered attraction.’ The Church cannot ...

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