Appropriate Language when debating LGBT Issues

{13:10} The love of neighbor does no harm. Therefore, love is the plenitude of the law.

[2 Cor]
{6:3} May we never give offense to anyone, so that our ministry may not be disparaged.

I disagree with some of my fellow conservative Catholics on this topic. I see nothing wrong with using language that is acceptable to persons in the LGBT community when discussing Catholic teaching on faith and morals. Are we speaking condemnation to persons who are irreformable? No. Do we not engage in these discussions, particularly in public forums open to everyone in society, with the hope of changing minds and hearts? So, then, we should not use language that offends, not unless absolutely necessary to speak the truth.

It’s an unnecessary offense to turn aside from the use of terms such as gay, or gay marriage, or LGBT, or other terms in common use and generally acceptable. Under Catholic teaching, a same-sex marriage or gay marriage is not a valid natural or sacramental marriage. However, I don’t think we need to unnecessarily offend people by putting marriage in quotes: gay “marriage”. This gives the impression that we are expressing hatred toward gay persons . And in some cases it seems to me that conservatives do have hatred for them — and for anyone whose life is contrary to the conservative Catholic understanding of morality. And that is not merely an unnecessary offense, but a grave sin. We are not justified in hating anyone, no matter how different their views on faith and morals may be.

I suggest to my fellow Catholics that we adopt the use of terms such as “gay”, “gay marriage”, LGBT, LGBTQ+, etc. without raising any major objection, so that we can discuss these important issues without a useless distraction, and without causing unnecessary offense. For the love of neighbor does no harm.

I continue to object to the use of terminology, widely viewed as hate speech and gay slurs, by Michael Voris, regardless of his intention in using these terms. Voris is unnecessarily harsh toward gay persons and toward any Catholic who holds a theological view on these issues different from his own. This harshness is an obstacle when spreading the Gospel.

Jesus was not harsh toward the Samaritan woman, even though Samaritans followed an altered version of the Jewish faith. She was living with a man who was not her husband, and Jesus was not harsh toward her. Neither was our Lord harsh toward the woman caught in adultery. So it is not necessary to use language that does offend, and is perceived as hateful, when speaking about Church teaching on controversial issues.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian
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1 Response to Appropriate Language when debating LGBT Issues

  1. Fr Joseph says:

    Well said. Vince in bonum malum!

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