Are homosexual families dysfunctional?

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We used to talk more about dysfunctional families — those in which love was lacking due to a variety of circumstances. Dysfunction means not operating normally or properly. Most families actually were dysfunctional to a degree, yet fixable. Papa joined Alcoholics Anonymous. Mom went on medication for her depression. Financial counseling got money concerns more organized. Children, who suffered the most, often helped their parents grow up. Whatever, but dysfunctional families could and sometimes did improve.

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Dr. Jim Asher is a graduate of Marquette University and Des Moines University. He earned a master’s degree in bioethics from Midwestern University. He and his wife of 48 years, Rose Neidhoefer of Milwaukee, have seven children and 13 grandchildren. He is a retired family physician. He is a parishioner at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral, an officer in the Catholic Physician’s Guild, and a member of the Knights of Columbus.
Opinions expressed are the writers’ and not necessarily the views of The Catholic Sun or the Diocese of Phoenix.

Dysfunctional people mostly come from such families, thus society has an interest in helping them. But in the past dysfunctional families usually included children and mom and dad living together for better or worse till death. Today things are different.

Then and now

Now we’ve got 40 percent of children being born to unmarried mothers. This alone is a profoundly dysfunctional influence — consider the poverty. And there’s the insecurity and loss of a missing parent — even if it’s a dysfunctional one.

Within the first 20 years, 50 percent of couples now divorce, creating a similar dysfunctional environment with the added trauma of custody battles.

And our secular culture today includes raising children with the spiritual dysfunctions of relativism, non-church affiliation — or even atheism, radical feminism, a contraceptive-abortion mentality, pornography, occultism, new-age ideologies, and more, which are being abundantly proffered to them through the media, and even by their parents.

What is a dysfunctional adult?

Years ago we would have expected a promiscuous person, or a perpetual adolescent uninterested in marriage, or someone having no religion, or a healthy person living on welfare, or one who was somewhat dishonest, or someone prone to depression, to have likely come from a dysfunctional family. Today, all these behaviors could well be considered as within the range of normal. Therefore, we can well ask, how do you tell an adult who has been raised well today? One who mostly stays out of jail?

These considerations are important because just now, virtually every social researcher — at least who hopes to keep his job — has found that homosexual couples do as well raising children as actual parents. And this may even be true, considering many families today.

But the possibility exists that homosexual couples are not really able to be such good parents on several counts. Why? Because dysfunctional people beget dysfunctional families. Until 1975, it was not for nothing that homosexually active persons were regarded as having a mental affliction. This diagnosis was eliminated more from sentiment than science, but the facts remain that practicing homosexuals are often unhappy and dysfunctional people. They have more illness, more assaults, more substance abuse, shorter life expectancy, more imprisonments, more depression, more suicides, and more difficulty maintaining long term relationships than heterosexual people. (See comprehensive, well-researched “The Negative Effects of Homosexuality, “ Family Research Council, 2013. In 2008, a study published in the medical journal BMC Psychiatry found higher rates of substance abuse, depression and suicide among active homosexuals.)

Spiritual considerations

Active homosexuals tend to respond antagonistically toward orthodox Christianity, which condemns their behavior. So it seems unlikely they would raise their children in such a faith and likely there would be spiritual dysfunction. But such children might not look too different from families of heterosexual parents — even Catholics — who are contracepting, sterilizing, aborting, engaging in pornography, divorcing, and otherwise also separating themselves from God.

Even so, dysfunctional married people are fixable, ultimately able to live out their unitive and procreative vocation. Active homosexuals living a pretense of marriage are not.  In spite of loving, or caring, or giving financial support, their fundamental relationship is spiritually disordered — therefore hopelessly dysfunctional. It is based on an anatomically and biologically incorrect counterfeit of the God-created marital embrace, and therefore blocks movement towards God.

Openness to life is meaningless in a practicing homosexual context, because it is impossible. And to try and make it so by artificial technologies, or insemination, is to forcibly remove God from any procreative act — as it would be for a normally married couple.

The heavy cross of homosexuality

Homosexuals wish to love and be loved, and to be considered like everyone else except for their same sex attraction. But when seeking married love through homosexual activity the unitive aspect of the relationship is disordered, and the procreative non-existent. They can therefore never give a child — or each other — the true equivalent of a marriage.

Theirs is a heavy cross to bear. Nevertheless, they are called to live — and will live most happily and normally — as chaste, single persons. And the rest of us are called to love and include them in our lives. Benedicamus Domino.

Dr. Jim Asher is a graduate of Marquette University and Des Moines University. He earned a master’s degree in bioethics from Midwestern University. He and his wife of 49 years, Rose Neidhoefer of Milwaukee, have seven children and 13 grandchildren. He is a retired family physician. He is a parishioner at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral, an officer in the Catholic Physician’s Guild, and a member of the Knights of Columbus. Opinions expressed are the writers' and not necessarily the views of The Catholic Sun or the Diocese of Phoenix.

10 COMMENTS

  1. So when the homosexual goes back to living a chaste lifestyle, does that mean we should go back to the old catholic teachings that a man or women who has no attraction to the opposite sex is being saved the burden of choosing between a life of service to god, and a life of service to ones spouse, and that all those with no feelings towards the opposite sex should become priest and nuns?

  2. Historically (at least before there was such a thing as a Gay rights movement) if you were a Straight Catholic man, you got married to a nice girl, had lots of kids, and lived happily ever after. If you were a Gay Catholic man, you became a priest.

    For Gay Catholic men, the benefits were considerable. You got to keep company with a lot of other like-minded men, you got to discuss weighty theological issues, and between the incense and candles and jewels and FABULOUS robes, it was just step away from musical theatre. Best of all, it negated any pesky questions from family members about why you were still a bachelor.

    Is it any wonder why the Catholic priesthood is dominated by Gay men? And I suppose if anyone decided to investigate, they’d probably find a similar preponderance of Lesbians in the convents. Since the church insists on such strict segregation between the sexes and doesn’t allow priests to marry, it’s a situation that just perpetuates itself. As a Gay man who was raised in the Catholic Church myself, I know this has been pretty much of an open secret for the better part of the last century.

    • “just step away from musical theatre” :D ‘cute’ IMHO it would be harder for a man to be a priest in the last 50 or 60 years than before for a multitude of reasons that I won’t go into here. We know men gay or not are born with a predator instinct, a desire for variety, and what I like to call the unspoken or ‘third rail’ of celibacy, which is the prostate gland. When St. Paul said, he was working out his own “salvation in fear and trembling” what he was saying is that it’s hell to imitate Christ but if we love Him we must make that journey.

  3. John, That is a (purposely?) disingenuous question. It isn’t (and never was) only one or the other of the choices you put forth. There is a third; living singly and chastely in the world, serving God and fellow man. I have the cross of gluttony. I have to fight a disordered view of and desire for food every day of my life, yet I will NEVER try to tell anyone that my disordered desires are good, normal, or healthy. I don’t know whether it stems from a chemical imbalance or psychological damage as a young child; but that doesn’t matter. My desires are disordered. I struggle, and with the help of grace, prayer, discipline, and love for God and the Truth, I am able to overcome. Sometimes I fall, and when I do I get to Confession, feel the strength of that great Sacrament, get up, and fight on another day, all the while never demanding that everyone else must accept, love, teach, and condone my disordered behavior.

  4. I know I have some dysfunctional habits and I know some of them have lead me to sin. So I confess the sin. I don’t create a political lobby.

  5. Chuck, you engage in the worst type of calumny against good men and the sacred institution of the priesthood. Have gays always gotten into Sacred Orders? Of course. Was it in past times as rampant as it is now? Unequivocally NO. Read a little of St. Peter Damian’s commentary on homosexuals in religious life to see what the Church thought on the issue, and how she dealt with it. The modern problem began in earnest last century with the allowing (even recruiting) of homosexuals into the seminaries (and even keeping solid, straight men out in far too many cases).

    As to the nuns, look at the orthodox Catholic orders…young, beautiful, healthy (psychologically and spiritually) women thrilled to be called brides of Christ. You’ll find the kind you referred to in the old, polyester swathed, habitless, dissenting orders that wouldn’t know what the Church actually teaches if it bit them in the leg.

  6. Homosexuals, as with all forms of liberal deviancy, cannot debate the facts (scientific, natural, religious, financial, etc ad infinitum) of an issue. They thereby launch into rabid tirades of personal attack on those they oppose, the purveyors of truth. Do not be distressed by their torrid assaults, which stem from their own feelings of guilt and shame. They still comprise the tiniest of population sub-cultures, and will continue to silence truth and propagandize the ill informed to rationalize what they do and to make normal what is perverted.

    Continue to live and raise your families in the shadow of the Cross. Do not allow your children to be bombarded by the lies of “inclusion and diversity” in their schools, nor to be labeled as “bullies” for being Christian kids. Continue to talk to your children in the family setting, to educate them in the truth and give them strength. Continue to support our faithful priests and nuns who strive for our salvation, and pray for Christ’s Holy Church.

  7. Please note that the well intentioned doctor is neither a trained psychiatrist nor a clinical or diagnostic psychologist.

    His curriculum vita lists his degrees yet not his experience (if any) in the subject matter being addressed.

    Issues of sexuality are matters not within the prevue of any church or political party.

    Issues of sexuality are matters reserved to the individual and the individual alone with his or her own conscience and choice given to all under the manifestation of “free will”.

    [Being a Knight of Columbus or any other lobbying fraternity member (Royal Equestrian Order of St. Swizzle Stick, KC) is probably very self satisfying yet not relevant.]

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