Richard Rohr on Homosexuality & Celibacy

17 Mar

Richard Rohr is a theologian whom I have found both challenging and encouraging over the years. He is one of the brightest and deepest minds within the Roman Catholic church today — and I would say within the universal church universal. His writings on justice and spirituality have been particularly influential on me, as well as his writings the sacraments.  Here are some quotations from him writing about celibacy and homosexuality. While from a particularly Roman Catholic perspective, I think they are helpful and insightful.

Father Richard Rohr, OSM:

“I think God would ask of the homosexual relationship exactly what God asks of the heterosexual relationship : truth, faithfulness, long-suffering, and the continuing forgiveness of the other. “Against these there is no law!” (Gal. 5.23) It’s amazing how we are willing to avoid modelling and living these demanding virtues in favour of judgments about mere physicality that we can more easily measure, punish, and mandate. As others have said, the church continually slips into “spiritual materialism” while calling materialism a sin in others.” (page 85)

“ The Achilles’ heel of the official Catholic position is necessitated by its own theology. Cardinal Ratzinger says that we do not consider the state of homosexuality a sin (this is actually quite an advancement in our thinking and implies that homosexuality is probably seen as an un-chosen condition), but only “acting” accordingly. Apart from the inconsistency with the theory of “natural law” (things must act according to their nature), this thinking proposes a second impossibility – to “mandate” a charism which is by definition a free gift. You cannot possibly order someone to have a charism, the “gift” of celibacy for example. It is an oxymoron and an insult to our theology of grace and gift. I have no doubt that we can and will do much better in the future.” (page 86)

“If this were cheap liberalism, I would be merely arguing for personal rights, economic justice, or sexual freedom. If this were mere ideology, I would need to line up my credible arguments and proofs. I have very few. I, like many of you, am only a disciple of the poor man of Nazareth. He has made me content with mystery. He has made me less afraid of chaos. He has told me that control is not my task. He, like the cosmos itself, is about two things : diversity and communion. The whole creation cannot by lying.” (page 88).

Source: “Where the Gospel Leads Us” (An article in “Homosexuality and Christian Faith – Questions of Conscience for the Churches”. Edited by Walter Wink. 1999. Fortress Press, Minneapolis)



Posted by on March 17, 2010 in Uncategorized


3 responses to “Richard Rohr on Homosexuality & Celibacy

  1. Ben D.

    March 17, 2010 at 4:50 am

    <p>Thanks Omar. I think you are right that there s a big difference between chastity and celibacy… I have reflected upon (and written about that issue a lot…</p><p>BD</p>


  2. Pete

    September 20, 2016 at 11:42 am

    Natural law: Concupiscence is part of our nature, so we act accordingly and reap eternal death. Through the supernatural grace of God, we receive repentance, forgiveness and the ability to conquer our human nature, and not act according to our disordered desires. One does not need a special charism to avoid homosexual acts any more than to avoid stealing, pride, or anything else which is always sinful.


    • Kasia

      June 28, 2017 at 4:29 pm

      The christianity is not about law and judgment, but about Love and forgiveness.



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