“Sodomy” and “Homosexuality” Are Not Biblical Sins

One of my jobs as a priest is to help people discern which of the acts they have done (or might do) are genuinely sins―and which are not really sins, even though they might think they are. Priests do this so that people can participate in being forgiven when they have genuinely done something wrong and to build up their consciences so they can be at peace with themselves when they are falsely accused―or have falsely accused themselves―of sin. 

Of course, when it comes to matters gay―which usually revolves around what gay men do―we immediately enter a charged realm where a series of Bible texts are brought to bear on a group of modern people as if those ancient texts have anything to do with us. This use of the Bible to justify hatred and continuing legal discrimination against gay people is particularly widespread in countries where evangelical Protestantism is, has been, or is becoming politically the most powerful religion. 

I’m ashamed to say that many Catholics (and worse, many Catholic bishops) participate in misusing Biblical text. In doing so, they ignore the clear teaching of the Catholic Church that such fundamentalistic readings are always wrong: One is never supposed to use ancient texts in such a way that they have consequences contrary to charity for a modern group of people.

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