Raymond Kyaw Aung
I have seen and met same-sex persons in my village when I was young. Some were my relatives. During that time, I did not know that they were same-sex persons. I only knew that they were close friends. It was only later that I came to know about their relationships.
I was aware that many people in the village were not so happy with their situation. Some villagers were talking about them. Some raised questions about how they would have conjugal relations. They were looked downed by some villagers who could not accept same-sex persons in society.
There were only one or two same-sex couples in my village before. The number of couples increased later.
When I went back to my village for the summer holidays after a year in the seminary, I saw another same-sex couple. When I visited the family, the mother opened her heart to me about her daughter’s situation. The mother said she was ashamed of “irregular behavior” of her daughter. At that time I have no idea how to console the mother except to say: “Let us pray for her.”
When I became a Catholic priest working as an assistant pastor in the parish, a mother came to me while I was in church and told me about her daughter who was living together with her close friend.
“Father, my daughter never goes to confession although she committed sins by always going, eating, working, and sleeping together with her girl,” the mother told me.
“I told her to behave, but she does not pay any attention to me. I do not know how to do it. As a mother, I am ashamed of their actions,” she added.
It was the second time I encountered issues pertaining to homosexuality.
The third time was in a parish on an Island. It was in the fourth year of my priesthood. Like the previous case, a woman came to me and told me about girls who were living, eating, sleeping, and working together in the same house.
They were inseparable even as neighbors urged them to leave the village. Sometimes, they would fight and even beat each other. The neighbors were not happy. They wanted to drive them out of the village.
I did not have any idea what to tell them.
“Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They are children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it,” said Pope Francis.
Homosexuals are children of God, he said. They are also human beings and have human dignity. One should respect their dignity as children of God although the Church does not allow gay marriage.
In Jesus’s name, we should respect homosexuals and their right to be part of the family. They are created in the image of God. They should get involved in the family’s affairs. They should not be excluded from the family and human society.
Now I know what to tell the parishioners.