In both the scientific and medical fields, no common ground exists about the concept and nature of homosexuality, but still - in order to have an open and productive debate stretching beyond the sterile logics of partisan propaganda – it is possible to make some considerations, not just on morality, but also on psychology, anthropology and society. That is the hard task the authors of a recently published book, “ La aventura del amor ” (The love adventure) took on, to address the issue of love and emotions under various points of view, homosexual love included.
Does homosexual love exists?
One of the questions the book raises is: does homosexual love actually exist, or is it just pure attraction, sexual compulsions dictated by instinct and emotions? It should not be forgotten that until 1973 – not centuries, but merely a few decades ago – homosexuality was considered a disease, or at best a sexual deviation rooted into a personality disorder. It must be acknowledged that such an approach has been proved wrong. Sexual inclination and desire cannot in fact determine the health and psycholog y of an individual.
Physician and psychologists have long known that people – even heterosexual individuals – may experience a more or less temporary attraction towards individuals of same sex, without it constituting a homosexual condition or inclination. But what about those instances where a man or a woman go beyond their simple sexual instinct and transform their compulsion towards individuals of the same sex in an actual life choice? And what about those who choose to undergo severe sex-change surgeries? There is no easy answer. Sometimes these inclinations hide a deep internal suffering and discomfort, a social uneasiness, often even an inflicted violence or a tragic disappointment in life. These choices, even when made in full conscience, often stem from a profound struggle.
That is why, now more than ever, the ability to provide an education to love is crucial, so that emotions and feelings may be truly pure and free. The authors rightly note that existential orientation is by far more important than sexual orientation. Knowing the “inner world” of people - and here’s where the work of psychologists, educators, but also priests becomes important – can help us listen, to better understand and accept the other, helping him in discovering purity and peace through faith. We previously reviewed two documentaries that present a good picture of the searching of true love by homosexual people.
The education and guidance to love
The book stresses the importance of providing parents, teachers and educators with proper guidance and preparation so that they may be aptly suited to take on their educational challenge towards children and teenagers. Faced with the mainstream invasion of gender ideologies often entering our homes through videogames, music videos, songs, movie and tv shows, they need the right tools to guide and educate children towards love.
For instance, when hints of a homosexual inclination are present, the following guidelines may be of help:
· fostering interpersonal relations with individuals of the opposite gender;
· emphasizing the value of friendship;
· avoiding the isolation inside an all men/women environment;
· emphasizing the value of chastity and marriage, as the results of love between a man and a woman.
Homosexuality and Christian pastoral care
The stance of Christian pastoral on individuals experiencing an attraction to the same sex is well presented in a recent interview by Franco Olearo to bishop Marciante on the magazine “Il Timone” (June 2017) with the title: “Homosexuality. To accept is not to justify”.
The Catholic Church has always stressed that nobody is exempt from God’s mercy. God does not discriminate on the basis of sexual inclination. Good Christian pastors always try to leave no one behind. This unconditional openness, however, does not mean anything can be justified. A proof of our good will is required: chastity. God wants us to be strong witnesses for chastity, that is our gift to the ones we love. As bishop Marciante points out: “the Church demands the virtue of chastity from the celibate, the betrothed, unwed widowers, estranged couples and even from spouses. Chastity is the capacity of the individual to be faithful to the truth of sexuality itself. Since so few talks about it, it seems that chastity has been wiped out from the vocabulary of our social reality. It has become a taboo. Chastity is not merely the abstinence from sexual relations; it is the safe keeping of the ability to love. At its core, chastity is the transparency of the heart.”
Love and Sexuality
The relationship between love and sexuality is intrinsic in human nature. In an increasingly confused society, the true challenge is providing educational guidelines able to create balance and harmony between feelings and sexuality. "La aventura del amor" can be a valuable guide to clarify the themes of feelings and sexuality from multiple perspectives, be them theological, medical, anthropological, psychological and communicative.
We’ll say it right away: this is not an easy book, since it aims to address issues that are complex and “tricky”. The book’s opening question immediately suggests the core matter: “Why do we favor fleeting (when not thoroughly virtual) relationships? Why are we no longer able to stay together for a lasting time, with the common goal of a shared life at its core? The answer is dramatically simple: people think that personal freedom goes before anything else, it must go beyond every limit, constraint or duty. We no longer have a true link between the education to freedom and the education to love.
What contribution this book offers?
Why it should be read? The authors gives us a suggestion: “One of the merits of this works is providing solid anthropological, philosophical and scientific foundations for the explanation and the debate over currently controversial issues in the fields of affectivity and sexuality, while remaining accessible even to those inexperienced in this field and offering practical applications that make it a veritable handbook.This work offers interesting notions to parents and educators that know how crucial and difficult a real education to love truly is."