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Our readers asked:

What does St Paul say about homosexuality?

Joe Paprocki Answers:

Was St. Paul homophobic? Some people come to that unfortunate conclusion when reading some of his writings about homosexuality such as Romans 1:24-27; 1Corinthians 6:9-10; and 1Tim 1:10. In particular, it must be noted that, in the Greco-Roman world of which Paul was a part, it was not uncommon for boys or young men to be kept for the purposes of prostitution. When Paul refers to “Sodomites” (1Cor 6:9), he is referring to those adults who used such boys for their own sexual indulgence. Likewise, Paul’s references to these types of acts must be seen within his more general warnings against any kind of sexual promiscuity. In essence, Paul is warning about any actions that will lead to sexuality becoming idolatrous – i.e. people seeking their ultimate joy and meaning in sexuality per se.

Paul’s references to homosexual acts were not particularly controversial to early Christians who knew that the holiness code of Leviticus forbad homosexual acts (Leviticus 20:13). Paul was merely reaffirming that which was held by faithful Jews and early Christians. We have no evidence that there was a movement afoot in Corinth to press for wider acceptance of same-sex activity. Paul does not single out homosexuality but refers to it within a list of other acts that were accepted as idolatrous but were now to be left behind by those who had chosen Jesus. So, although is not homophobic, he is clearly against any form of homosexual activity. Based on Scripture, the Catholic Church teaches that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to natural law.” (CCC 2357) At the same time, the Church teaches that people with homosexual tendencies “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity” and that any sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” (CCC 2357)

 
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The Author : Joe Paprocki
Joe Paprocki, D.Min., is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press in Chicago. He has over 30 years of experience in pastoral ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Joe is the author of numerous books on pastoral ministry and catechesis, including The Bible Blueprint, Living the Mass, and bestsellers The Catechist's Toolbox and A Well-Built Faith (all from Loyola Press).
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • gooder1

    This is an interesting exchange. Nowhere in the NT do we have Jesus directly commenting on homosexuality, but we do have him describing marriage: “He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female, nd
    said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be
    joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh, so then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matt 19). So we have our Lord defining marriage as between a man and woman. And his intent here is to show the spiritual union before God once they have intercourse, showing that marriage & intercourse, is both unitive, and procreative (children). He also shows how this spiritual unity cannot be broken. St. Paul approaches this topic from the negative perspective, and not a positive perspective, as Jesus does, but the resulting Truth is one and the same. Over the weekend I was watching you tube videos of Near Death Experiences NDA’s, and one of them was a homosexual man who encountered Christ, and who later changed. Nobody denies that we are all wired differently, but whatever our cross, we must pick it up and carry it to follow Jesus (Matt 16:24).

  • Ed Himes

    YOU ARE AS IGNORANT AS A PAPER BAG FULL OF SANDSTONES !!! IT IS THE IGNORANT LIKE YOU THAT KEEP THE DEGRADING, DEMEANING, JUDGING, HARASSING, HATE, BIGOTRY GOING AGAINST THE GAY COMMUNITY. THAT’S ALRIGHT THOUGH, WE ARE WINNING EVERY BATTLE AGAINST YOU SLOTH BIBLE THUMPERS AND THAT SPEAKS FOR ITSELF. I WON’T SEND YOU A COPY OF MY BOOK BECAUSE YOU PROBABLY CAN’T READ OVER A 2ND GRADE LEVEL ANYWAY………JUDGE NOT THAT YOU BE JUDGED…READ MATTHEW 7 TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS TO THOSE WHO JUDGE….IF YOU CAN READ ON THAT LEVEL !!!!

    • George

      Why do you need to use all caps?
      Why are you so angry? Homosexuals in the US have enjoyed a significant amount of legal protection for a long time. Many other minority groups do not enjoy the same level of protection. For example, people who have low height or are physically unattractive are discriminated for jobs and promotions, and this is all documented, yet they do not enjoy the same level of protection as other discriminated groups such as homosexuals. At what point has society done enough to reasonably protect homosexuals and can go ahead and do other things?
      Do you support polyamorous (3,4,5 or more people in a committed relationship) marriage? Do you support polygamist marriage? Now that marriage is a right, not a privilege, they have as good an argument against discrimination towards them as gay marriage proponents used. Just as the restriction of marriage being only between a man and a woman has been deemed discriminatory, the same is true of restricting marriage to be only between two people. Do you support marriage to inanimate objects? If someone decides that they want to to formalize their committed relationship to say a doll, and they call her their wife, why should anyone discriminate against their committed relationship and deny them the right to marry? I can keep going on this, but you catch my drift.
      Never in the history of man has there been an experiment like what we are doing were the basic bond of the family unit has been redefined to be between any two people regardless of gender as long as they love each other. Given the family unit is the basic building block of society, it is reasonable to expect that some people will be worried of what will happen as we set sail into these unchartered waters.
      I for one hope that every single group that lives an alternative lifestyle sues the Federal and state government, and challenges any limitation towards their “right” to marry. The quicker the changes, the quicker the fall. Lets rename and redefine anything as we wish. Lets discriminate against no one on the basis of their God given characteristics. Lets pretend to be gods and relabel and rename anything whichever way we want. Lets pretend up is down, and down is up, and anyone can decide what they can call anything based on their own preference. Let there be confusion, as there was when people did the same thing pretending to be gods when they built the tower of Babel. The cycle repeats.

  • Ed Himes

    LUST CAN MEAN ANYTHING AND APPLY TO ANYONE….I BET YOU LUST JUST LIKE THE REST OF US !!!

  • Ed Himes

    JOHN SHELBY SPONG, bishop of the Episcopal Church in Newark says PAUL IS OBVIOUSLY A HOMOSEXUAL !!! Read all about it, you will soon see the TRUTH !!!

  • Carol Leeda Crawford

    St. Paul was chosen by Christ when he was persecuting Jews who had chosen to follow Jesus. Christ knocked him off his horse, blinded him and then spoke to him. I often feel Jesus chose him because he was relentless and acted on what he believed to be true. Once Paul was baptized and received his sight he became an extraordinary apostle, my favourite. Scripture is clear regarding sexual immorality. I appreciate in Roman’s how he identifies the desire for same sex relations as the result of sin. I encourage those with the desires to choose not to act, and follow God’s law which leads to Eternal Life with God.

    • Ed Himes

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…that is the funniest story I have heard yet !!!! I rock with laughter at you Bible thumpers,,,,,That is no different from the WILD STORY OF GRANDUER from the sloth JOSEPH SMITH (pedophile and founder of the sloth mormon church) when he said he was visited by JESUS !!!!! What an ignorant person you are to believe such a foolish story

      • Carol Leeda Crawford

        People are not their desires or behaviour. Personally, I never use the word “homosexual”. I trust scripture, and Paul is clear on same sex behaviour as being a sin. It is clear in Leviticus as well. Scripture is inspired by God and written by those He has chosen. People who would claim your insinuations about Paul likely are caught in the sin themselves. I encourage you and others who are attempting to scandalize Paul to be careful. Causing scandal is a mortal sin.

    • Ed Himes

      LOOK IT UP….PAUL IS NOT A SAINT OR A DISCIPLE !!!

    • Ed Himes

      i AM NOT INTERESTED IN YOUR LAME WARNINGS. JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE TOO IGNORANT TO SEE THE FOREST FOR THE TREES IS YOUR PROBLEM AND NOT MINE……IF YOU WOULD LIKE A COPY OF MY BOOK TO FIND OUT WHY I FEEL THE WAY I DO, I WOULD BE GLAD TO SEND YOU A COPY FREE. JUST WRITE BACK

      • Carol Leeda Crawford

        No thank you, I am only interested in reading well reasoned arguments and by the way, ignorance is not knowing or able to comprehend. Neither meaning is true for me. I see clearly and feel confident and at peace. Both my secular education and faith have provided me with sound and well verifiable arguments for what I believe and know to be true.

  • Myra Madeline

    Did Paul advocate homosexuality anywhere in the bible if an apostle or man of God could not control his sexual passion?

    • Ed Himes

      Paul says he had “something inside of him that he cound not control” and he also thought of himself as a “WRETHED MAN” !!! We ALL know PAUL was a homosexual and that Luke was his LOVER. Anyone who cannot see these FACTS is an idiot with no brains and no eyes to see the TRUTH !!!

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