Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fatal Attractions

“So how do you assess your situation?” the elderly priest asked the teenager.

“What do you mean, Father,” she said, quite puzzled at the unexpected question of the priest.

“I mean,” the priest cleared his throat and started explaining, “after everything you’ve said about yourself and your struggles, shouldn’t you make personal assessment regarding how you are as God’s daughter, as a daughter of your parents and as a friend of your classmates.”

“Well, I guess…,” she rolled her eyes finding it hard to find the right words. “Well…, ah…, I guess all these tell me that I’m gay,” she shrugged her shoulders and sighed with relief for letting out something weighing her down.

“Why do you say so?” the priest gave her an understanding look.

“…I suppose it’s because I’m attracted to girls?” she responded.

“Are you affirming that or are you asking me to answer that for you?”

“I’m sorry, Father,” she giggled. The priest was happy to see that she was more relaxed and trusting now. “No, I mean, I’m gay because I’m attracted to the same sex.”

“And how is something so humanly natural as being attracted supposed to be defining of one’s sexual orientation or shall we say, confusion since the ‘gay option’ isn’t a choice that resolves one’s psychological-emotional turmoil?”

“But… I thought…,” her face revealed a rather new expression of interest, of hope.

“Yes, it means that it’s pretty unfair and unfortunate to let our natural attractions be some sort of definitive identification stamp for many of our richest human experiences. It’s like entering a hall of mirrors in a carnival where one sees his image transformed in various ways and comes out with the distorted image remaining in him.”

“Do you mean attraction isn’t bad, Father?”

“Of course not! Everyone, especially during his or her adolescence may feel certain indeterminate affections that make one feel attracted to the same sex.”

“Indeterminate?” she asked.

“That means an unsure or unclear emotional experience. It’s only natural for us to be attracted. Man’s attraction is always inclined towards what is good. The problem stems in confusing or defining such attractions towards persons in a sexual way. This happens when one’s attraction becomes an obsession which may then lead to sexual desires.”

“I think I’m beginning to understand…,” she said listening more intently.

“This experience, which shouldn’t really be problematic, can become one when it results with fear in the person. In this confusion, he may conclude that it is something abnormal or even sinful. He becomes reluctant to ask his parents for advice, afraid to be misunderstood in something hard to express. Moreover, the condition is compounded when his ‘tendency’ is confirmed by a host of available sources found in peers, readings and social networks over the Internet. All these invite the confused person into the bandwagon of homosexuality.
“You mean, false homosexuality, Father?”

“Precisely! It is false because one is led to misread his attraction towards noble human qualities in another person, such as talents in sports, arts, academics and even in virtues like loyalty and diligence.”

“I now understand you perfectly, Father,” the girl said quite enlightened. “But what should I do now to gradually reshape and form my attraction and emotions in order to avoid their deforming me?”

“Before anything else, they don’t distort us. Rather, it is applying our wrong interpretation of them to ourselves that mold us in a distorted fashion. In order to properly address these tendencies, one has to pray about these God-given feelings and ask the Lord for purity of heart and intention. This way, one is more aware of them, to channel them properly and turn them into something positive.”


“Yup. For example, instead of simply getting lost in such fatal attractions, one can thank God for having given good things to others. We can also be thankful about our own talents and share them with others, etc.”

“I think that’s a pretty good advice that I will try to practice,” she said.

“Then, couple this with frequent confession and spiritual guidance. Thus, one is helped to deepen his convictions in purity, magnanimity and generosity of the heart.”

“I’ll take note of them in our next chat, Father,” she smiled.

“Of course, it is also good to enrich and increase your social dealings. Widen the base of your friends, with boys and girls. Discern what is positive in each one and what good you can share in your friendship with them.”

“…but, like you said, Father, it would mean my being a good friend of Jesus first,” she concluded.
“Well, I guess so. Everything definitely boils down to that. Amen.” the priest said.

*Helpful sources on this topic.

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration on the Human Person, regarding certain questions in sexual ethics, and Letter regarding the pastoral attention of homosexuals, 1-X-1986.

Gerard van den Aardweg, Battle for Normality: A Guide for Self-Therapy for Homosexuality, IGNATIUS PRESS SAN FRANCISCO, PHILIPPINE COPYRIGHT, 1998 by Ignatius Press, First Year of Publication, 1993, Reprinted in the Philippines by National Book Store, Inc. by Special Agreement with Ignatius Press" in collaboration with Theological Centrum (Manila)
Jutta Burggraf Letter to David, Understanding and Helpingthe Male Homosexual, Originally published as Cartas a David Acerca de la Homosexualidad, © Ediciones Palabra, S.A.