Explaining the Church’s teaching on same-sex desires in today’s world isn’t easy. We feel hesitation, embarrassment…shame. Living the Church’s teaching on same sex desires poses its own challenges. Internal confusion, hiding…shame. June’s Pride Month offers what may seem to be a compelling alternative for many. Why not simply reject a “repressive” Christian sexual ethic? Why not shrug off shame once and for all?
Before we gather our rhetorical ammunition in defense, perhaps we ought to address an underlying question. Does the Church’s teaching on homosexual acts require a believer to live in shame?
Objective Guilt & Subjective Shame
“Guilt” and “shame” are often used interchangeably, but they aren’t the same thing. Guilt relates to specific actions. The Catholic Dictionary defines it as “a condition of person who has done moral wrong.” With guilt, there is an awareness of having violated an objective standard. This can be healthy, motivating us to right the wrong, to repent.
Shame, however, is more subjective. I recently heard it explained ...