So, I have a little bit of a complaint here.
You see, I am a Catholic. In fact, not only am I a Catholic, but I actually decided to dedicate my life to the Catholic Church by studying theology. I am currently going for my Masters in Theology and further plan to go on to get my PhD. That means I have already dedicated about six years of my life to studying theology and I intend to keep doing so for the rest of my natural existence. Clearly, I care about my faith.
That being said, I am the first to admit when the Catholic Church does something wrong. Actually, because I am Catholic, I tend to come down harder on the Catholic Church and other Catholics for doing something wrong.
And I will come right out and say it—the Catholic Church’s stance on homosexuality is wrong. It’s not just kind of wrong, it’s completely and utterly wrong.
However, fandom, can you please stop making the Catholic Church seem like the freaking Westboro Baptist Church when it comes to homosexuality!
I have read a lot of fanfic and a lot of slash fanfic. Some are what you would call Alternate Universe, where instead of say Dean and Cas being a hunter and an angel fighting demons, they are both starting college and have been paired up as roommates—hilarious hijinks happen!
Inevitably, however, in slash fanfic set in our world a lot of authors tend to incorporate religion into the plot. After all, if one character has been taught their whole life that homosexuality is wrong and then realizes they are gay, well, that is a pretty dramatic and intense story. However, almost all of these fanfic have the uber-religious character be a practicing and devoted Catholic, which would be fine if they didn’t portray my faith like it was Nazism.
First, let me say what the official teaching of the Catholic Church is on homosexuality. According to the Catholic Catechism, a person can be born a homosexual—meaning it is not something that can be fixed, nor is it a choice. Furthermore, there is nothing sinful about being a homosexual. If you are attracted to the same sex, in the eyes of Catholic Church, there is nothing wrong with that.
However, while it is not sinful to be a homosexual, if a person engages in homosexual activity that is a sin. Why? Because they can’t have babies. The Catholic Church believes that there are two goods for sex: to foster and express the love between the couple (the unitive aspect), and to make babies (the procreative aspect).
Now before you tell me that this is wrong and doesn’t make any sense, hey: I have already stated at the beginning of this article that I think the Catholic Church’s reasoning for why homosexuality is wrong is incorrect. I am writing this all out to prove a point.
The point is that, I personally feel that the Catholic Church’s stance on homosexuality is far less harsh than many other Christian denominations, and other religions for that matter.
You will never hear a Catholic official say homosexuality is a choice. Nor will there ever be Catholic camps to cure you of homosexuality. Furthermore, the Catholic Church does not think you are going to hell for being gay. And if you have heard a Catholic say any of these things, know this—they are 100% wrong! The Pope himself would say they are wrong.
So it really, really, really bothers me when I read a fanfic and a character who is Catholic and a homosexual is sent to a camp to be cured. Or told by their extremely devoted Catholic parents that they were born wrong or going to hell for being gay.
The only reason I can think of for this is that Catholicism is very recognizable. And yes, the Catholic Church, and Catholic politicians, has been in the news saying that they are against gay marriage. But again, while I personally believe the Catholic Church is wrong on this issue, the Catholic Church is not nearly as bad as many other Christian denominations. Furthermore, American Catholics are more in support of gay marriage than ever before.
You might say, “Lady Geek Girl, it’s just a fanfic. So what if they make the Catholic Church seem wildly homophobic! What’s the big deal?”
The big deal is like with any medium, TV, movies, books, etc., people assume that what they are reading or seeing is accurate, at least to some extent. It bothers me that people will then believe something wrong about my faith. I further find it extremely damaging that about nine out of ten fanfics that I have read that use religion basically equate religious bigotry to being Catholic. As a Catholic it offends me and does damage to my faith and what people think of my faith.
If someone wrote a character, said they were Catholic and gay, then accurately portrayed what that struggle looks like, if they did their research at all, and still portrayed the Catholic Church as being wrong in their belief I would have no problem with that. All I ask is a little research and a little consideration when writing about not just Catholicism, but all religions.
Remember fanfic authors, you never know who is going to read your fic, so if you want to discuss religion you better check your facts or you may offend or even hurt someone who is reading your story.