Homosexuality—Hereditary or Acquired?

Posted March 3, 2013

The question of homosexuality as an inherited trait, rather than environmentally caused, is a very problematical issue among some sociologists, although the vast majority of professionals in this field agree that it is hereditary. And of course not all hereditary characteristics are necessarily found in one of the parents. If that were true, every Down syndrome child would have at least one Down syndrome parent. The same would be true of Alzheimer’s disease, asthma and thousands of other inherited ailments.

But regardless of the source, heredity or environment, this disorder can be and is healed (though very rarely) by prayer, because “What is impossible with humans is possible with God” (Luke 18:27)–even for those born blind (John 9:19-20). In my 60 years as a priest, with 43 years in the charismatic healing ministry, I’ve seen more cases of miraculous healing of blindness (13) than healings of homosexuality–about five cases, as I recall.

The reason I maintain that homosexuals are born with that disorder is because Jesus said so himself in Matt. 19:12. That chapter 19 deals with Jesus’ teaching about eligibility and non-eligibility for marriage. Those ineligible for marriage were called eunuchs. (Remember, the word homosexual didn’t exist until this last century; formerly the term “eunuch” was used.)  Jesus speaks of three kinds of eunuchs. The first kind of eunuch consists of those “born that way from their mother’s womb,” as one translation has it.

The second type of eunuch, Jesus says, consist of those “made that way by man” (i.e., by human intervention, such as castration, sterilization, etc.).

The third type of “eunuch” consists of those who, called by God in a vocation, “renounce marriage voluntarily for the sake of the kingdom of heaven” (that is, non-eligibility for marriage by reason of celibacy, as required of priests, nuns, religious brothers, monks, etc.). This type of “eunuch,” said Jesus, is “for those who can accept it”–by free choice.

We know that Jesus was speaking about homosexuals as the first type of eunuch in the context of marriage ineligibility–since normal marriage is repulsive to most homosexuals (and some bisexuals). What other persons are “born that way,” maintaining a powerful life-long sexual attraction toward the same gender that makes them ineligible for normal husband-wife marriage?

Of course, I agree with Jesus, who spoke of them as “born that way from their mother’s womb,” and I therefore I must respectfully disagree with any priest or anyone who thinks otherwise. The vast majority of professional therapists and the entire American Psychiatric Association accept the hereditary explanation–though not relying for their opinion on the words of Jesus.

To be a homosexual is certainly not a sin, just as any close and intimate non-sexual friendship is not a sin, as St. Alphonsus says, but homosexual activity, such as sodomy, is “an abomination to the Lord,” just as adultery is for heterosexuals. (See Romans 1:24-28 for detailed condemnation of acts of male and female homosexuality, as well as many relevant Old Testament passages.

Gay people are called to the heroism of chastity, just as non-re-married widows and widowers, but they will not go unrewarded for their heroic chastity.

Twice—in Isaiah and in the book of Wisdom—God’s word promises the most extraordinary heavenly reward for eunuchs who live a life of chastity. A chaste homosexual is truly precious to God, and their sexual deprivation is rewarded beyond anything one can imagine. This is Catholic doctrine, and is expounded by the splendid organization for Catholic homosexuals, called COURAGE. +++

John H. Hampsch, cmf