Gay Priest “Bart” continues his series of reflections on the challenges that coming out presents to a priest :
I ended my previous post with the question: Will responsible sexual activity fill the space between the Church’s official stance [i.e. marital sex only], and that advocated by health concerns [the “safe sex” maxim]? I would like to take a closer look at the term “responsible sex”, more specifically the word “responsible” because I believe that it is the key to a totally different approach to sex and relationships in general. A quick look at the dictionary entry for the word “responsible” uncovers several overlapping definitions: liable to be required to give account, as of one’s actions or of the discharge of a duty or trust; involving personal accountability or ability to act without guidance or superior authority; able to make moral or rational decisions on one’s own and therefore answerable for one’s behaviour; reliable; answerable. I dare say that a combination of any of these definitions will help us understand how sex and sexuality can be exercised responsibly.
The notion of responsible sex has been around for quite some time now, even in the context of gay sexuality. John J McNeill expands on this approach in his books The Church and the Homosexua (especially in the 4th edition where the author revises some positions taken in the original text) and Freedom, Glorious Freedom. I think he summarises his thoughts very clearly in the following line:
“I still feel that the human ideal for all sexual expression is within the context of a monogamous, committed, faithful relationship.” (The Church and the Homosexual, “Appendix 1: revisions of the text”)