The Spiritual Father Encountering a Person with Same-Sex Attraction

So far, in many cases persons with SSA have been treated by laity with harsh guilt-provoking declarations. In the midst of culturally polarized tension, we need a new, balanced approach, inasmuch as today more SSA persons come out because of:

a) social permissiveness; 
b) more compassion by Christians;
c) a real increase because of encouragement for gender fluidity and experimentation.

Some will consult a clinician or a spiritual father. So we must examine how the priest will:

- Diagnose, assess;

- Answer, teach;

- Internalize feelings, and behave

Goals of pastoral guidance of SSA persons:

- Protection of health and dignity,

- Self-discipline and temperance (chastity),

- Personal relationship with Christ,

- Integration into parish life,

- Sanctification.

Every person with SSA is in the image of God, an image that has been distorted, as it has been in every person since the fall, regardless of sexual orientation. Empathy is the cornerstone of any help. The congregation has to be educated to include the person with SSA, unless one explicitly proclaims wrong ideas and harms the congregation.

Three traps the priest has to avoid:

- Hostility (bias against persons with SSA);

- Favor (bias for persons with SSA); and

- Omnipotence (illusion of the capacity to convert them)