Scottish bishop addresses same-sex attraction concerns by pointing to chastity as Christians' guide

Every Christian should follow chastity and maintain a closeness with Jesus Christ, a Scottish bishop has said when addressing concerns about ministering to people experiencing same-sex attraction.

Same-sex married couple Heather Morgan, an American (L), and Maria del Mar Verdugo, from Spain, ride the subway in Manhattan, New York December 2, 2012. | REUTERS / Allison Joyce

On July 26, Bishop Joseph Toal of Motherwell urged Christians to follow the example of the saints and to walk according to their commitment to God rather than follow their own worldly desires. He said Catholics should also ask for wisdom from the Lord so that they can make wise decisions, the Catholic News Agency relayed.

"Our saints are our models in this journey of faith and life, and it is good to be led by the example of their commitment to fulfilling God's will rather than our own particular desires," said Bishop Toal. "As Catholics we pray always for the wisdom to make wise choices and to be guided by Christ rather than the world around us."

In addition, Bishop Toal mentioned the apostolate of Courage, a ministry which "encourages those who live with same-sex attraction to live a chaste life." He highlighted chastity as something that all unmarried heterosexual Catholics should practice, while accompanied by prayer from the Church.

Bishop Toal acknowledged that there are those who think chastity is unrealistic, given that same-sex marriage has already been legalized in some countries. Still, he said this is what the Catholic Church teaches, and Christians should always maintain a close relationship with God no matter what situation they are in.

In an entry on Desiring God, Minnesota-based pastor Nick Roen admitted that it is not easy to deal with same-sex attraction. Responding to a question on whether it is sinful, he cited 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, which warned that the "sexually immoral" and "men who practice homosexuality" cannot enter into God's kingdom.

Noting that the Scripture does not specifically mention same-sex attraction, he said the "dishonorable passions" in Romans 1:26 could cover that issue. However, he classified same-sex attraction as a temptation that one must overcome, and homosexual practice is an active sin.

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