REGARDLESS of one’s status or sexuality—single, married, homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, and transsexual—one is called to live a chaste life.

This was the clarion call of a recent conference on “Same Sex Attraction: Stories about Homosexuality,” last May 19 at the Philippine Heart Center, Quezon City.

The talks, sponsored by Courage, a support group for homosexual Catholics who live celibate lives, discussed the causes of homosexuality—genetics, media, and the environment, and the difference between homosexual orientation and homosexual activity in moral theology.

Catholic teaching invites homosexuals to live celibate, chaste lives since sexual acts must be open to procreation and sexual complementary with the opposite sex.

“A homosexually oriented person does not necessarily engage in sexual acts. Many homosexuals only look for relationship, friendship, understanding, and love, without having sexual contact,” said Rolando Delos Reyes II of Courage Philippines.

He said that a homosexual tendency can be an interplay of genetics and culture but that the presence of this tendency does not mean a person cannot live chastely.

“Instead of labeling people with same-sex tendencies, society, Church and institutions need to accept and respect them to be productive persons,” Reyes, an admitted homosexual, said.

Speaking on “Gay Agenda in Philippine Society,” UST Communication Arts assistant professor Jose Garcia dismissed the need for special gay rights and legal recognition of same-sex unions as “marriages.”

He clarified that there is fundamental difference between male-female and same-sex unions and both cannot be equated and entitled to same rights. “We must recognize and respect these differences,” he said. “Marriage and family follow the natural dynamics of a mother, father, and a child.”

The youth speaks of life

Fr. Daniel Healy, director of the charismatic Anawim Community, delineated gender and homosexuality development in the light of the Scriptures.

“Homosexuals should not be blamed for being what they are, rather, they should be guided pastorally for them to live meaningful relationships,” he said.

Fr. Healy said that God does not segregate anyone from his grace based on gender and sexual orientations.

Meanwhile, former transsexuals and homosexuals like entertainer Vins Santiago gave their testimonies on how a change of sexual orientation is even possible and desirable.

“The life of homosexuals is never a grim. There is always hope, provided the Church and society care for them, because change is a process for homosexuals who need unequivocal understanding and acceptance,” Reyes said.

A hundred participants from different professions took part in the one-day workshop co-sponsored by Human-Life International. Santosh K. Digal


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