From today's issue of The Eagle, Bryan-College Station's local paper (hyperlinks are my addition).
Homosexuality is a given, not freely chosen
Two readers have already responded with evidence refuting Rev. David Konderla's claim (Eagle, May 24) that changing one's sexual orientation is possible. I add that the American Psychological Association's Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation "conducted a systematic review of the peer-reviewed journal literature on sexual orientation change efforts and concluded that efforts to change sexual orientation are unlikely to be successful and involve some risk of harm."
I am not Catholic, but as a gay Christian, I have researched several denominations' positions on homosexuality. Many do not accept that different sexual orientations exist. They regard heterosexuality as the only possible orientation, and people who experience "same-sex attractions" are not gay, but "broken" heterosexuals.
The Catholic Church is more in line with scientific evidence than many denominations. A 1997 document from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, "Always Our Children," states: "It seems appropriate to understand sexual orientation (heterosexual or homosexual) as a deep-seated dimension of one's personality and to recognize its relative stability in a person. Generally, homosexual orientation is experienced as a given, not as something freely chosen."
It continues: "This implies respecting a person's freedom to choose or refuse therapy directed toward changing a homosexual orientation. Given the present state of medical and psychological knowledge, there is no guarantee that such therapy will succeed."
While not by itself damning of sexual orientation change efforts, this statement implies respect for scientific evidence, which, since 1997, has moved steadily toward affirming sexual orientation as immutable. If one accepts this, Rev. Konderla's organization seems misdirected and out of line with its own faith.
For more information, read the full text of "Always Our Children" and consult the website fortunatefamilies.com, which features an eight-part series on homosexuality and the Catholic Church.
This letter follows two others I have written to The Eagle in a similar vein: We must continue to combat negative images (November 9, 2010) and No need for a family and traditional values center (April 26, 2011).