“Man and woman He created them”: try to say just these five words today in
public western society, and all hell may break loose.
Not only because this expression comes from the Bible––and for many people
sacred texts should be condemned regardless. Nevertheless, there are still
people that see marriage as something that belongs to the “language of
nature.” Yes, there are even some sociologists who share the minority’s
opinion: Pierpaolo Donati, for example,
argues that men and women can “adapt or not” to reality, but they
cannot transform it without harming the whole society
. Anyway, although it is not the most popular view, the fact is that unity in difference is the essential foundation of the family,
since life itself originates from that difference. This does not depend on
our cultural constructions. Respecting that this reality “given to us
before” is “for our own good” is not shared by the many: no, such a
conception is often considered, or even blamed, as being too moralistic.
We’d like to believe, however, that we can still propose these
counter-current ideas on such crucial issues that regard human life,
enriching the public debate.
It is certainly important neither to impose our views nor to feel we have
to tiptoe into a conversation, but it is equally as important to respect
the interlocutor and to ask more questions than to judge.
Here are a few ideas for talking about these topics without offending those
who do not share our beliefs…
1. Beyond simple ideologies, there are people with homosexual or
bisexual tendencies, men who claim they feel they are women, women who
claim they feel they are men. Those who have such an experience very often
have to face a painful journey of self-discovery, of processing their past,
and of accepting their history. Many go through the ordeal of “feeling
different” and find themselves having to deal with psychophysical
perceptions that come on, regardless of their will.
Can we really understand what they feel if we haven’t been through it?
Let’s avoid, therefore, trampling on the sensitivity of others, to be
judgemental about the lives of others. Let’s try to “diminish suffering”,
meaning: let’s practice empathy!
2. On these issues, which are so personal and sensitive, we must not be
superficial. When one experiences great suffering, it is reductive to say:
“Do what you feel, you are free to do what you want.” And it is also
reductive to simply say, “This is not all right!” Since one’s sexuality is
very much linked to a person’s inner well-being, it is not possible to
“liquidate,” with just a few words, those who experience such an inner
travail: we invite ourselves and those who have similar experiences to have
a deeper look at the issue.
3. Being welcoming is a golden rule! Our first concern must be to show
acceptance, in deeds and words. We must have a delicate and not peremptory
attitude! Sexuality – not “sex” – is something very personal and intimate,
and it is easy to hurt some by “speaking from the outside” of such deep and
delicate matters. Absolutely avoid insulting, denigrating, and treating
people as “mistakes of nature.” Every personal story deserves, above all,
kindness and respect. How can anyone be moved to open his heart or to
listen to you, if he feels rejected from the outset?
4. One can propose–without imposing–a path that starts from the recognition
of objective biological data. Some people, seeing these particular
situations, affirm the existence of “more than one gender” and that the
realization of the person consists in following his own inclination,
whatever it may be. In this way, he “will be fully himself.” Following
one’s first impulse may be an option, but the world basically imposes this as the only way. Actually, if it is possible to deny
one’s biological identity, it is also possible to ask oneself whether that
“given” identity (because it is a fact: we have not chosen it ourselves)
has something to communicate to us, independent of what we feel. Some
people in this way––in re-appropriating their biological identity even
after having denied it for years––have found their happiness.
5. The world needs witnesses more than teachers. If we have a message to
communicate it is much easier to convey it by telling a true story, of a
real person, than to propose a theory. This is also true if we want to
suggest the reading of the Gospel and the way of living a chaste life for
people who are attracted to their own sex. Far from being a rule dropped
from above, a life lived in such a way is credible to the extent that
someone has really experienced it and benefited from it. (We suggest the Courage website, where you can find
numerous testimonies of people who claim to have been reborn in this new
way of life). There are also homosexual people who say (if they have not
been censored, you can still find videos on YouTube): “Although I consider
myself homosexual, I have not found joy in carnal relations with other
homosexuals. On the contrary, it was liberating to recognize an objective
truth about marriage, about the conjugal act, and to dive more deeply into
my friendships or voluntary work in brotherhood and chastity. It was nice
to discover that I could love and find happiness without necessarily having
to follow my impulses.” These are strong words, which might have otherwise
been rejected coming from someone who hadn’t had this experience himself…
but there are others, too, who have had similar stories. It’s good to tell
these stories, too.
6. “Men and women can do with their lives and bodies what they want”: many
support this idea. It is true that we can live freely, absolutely, but is a
freedom detached from any truth about ourselves and from any greater good
It is right to show our affection for freedom, but it is also right to
relativize it, or rather, to make one reflect on the purpose of this
possibility of self-determination. Is it: “I am free to” or “I am free for“? What do I live for? What am I looking for? What does my
soul hunger for?
We must accept others’ free will (God accepts it, can we reject it?), but
at the same time we can ask a question: “Have you asked yourself what gives
you real, true joy?
7. Show good faith. In recounting these stories, it might be good to make
your intentions clear: “I’m not trying to tell you what you have to do
because I am a good person and you are stupid. If I’m offering you some
food for thought, it is to advise you because I care about you, about your
“Do what you want”, often means: “It’s your problem, not mine. I don’t
care.” If we truly love someone, this cannot be the right perspective. In
good faith, if there is mutual trust, we will advise what is “good” from
our own point of view. In this case, recognize (not without pain: which we
can understand) that the sexual act is functional––when done how nature
created it, done out of love and in the exclusivity of the conjugal
relationship––to the consolidation of the man-woman relationship. The other
will, then, have the freedom to listen to us or not.
A homosexual person can easily reject this viewpoint, feeling “deprived of
something good” and can choose to reject such a “heavy burden,” but there
are also those who, beginning with reality and not from their desires,
recognize that they cannot “force” it, and rather find peace, fulfilment,
or joy if they focus on something else. That is why we “allow ourselves to
8. Do not discriminate, nor pity the other person: what interests us is
that people find peace and calm. We are all brothers on a journey; we are
neither superior nor inferior to others…we all share the goal of having
eternal happiness; we all have our trials. What we want is to accompany
each other on the way to this common goal. The only way to reach it is
through love––that is, “to offer one’s life.” And this path is not
precluded to anyone! We invite everyone to look for the path of love
designed just for him, since the beginning of time!