Is it possible for a homosexual couple to live together chastely?

Full Question

I’m a 31-year-old male and I am living with my male partner. We are both practicing Catholics. We have been living together for a year now and we are both concerned about saving our souls, and so decided to live and practice chastity for the rest of our lives together. We are totally aligned with the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality. I mean, we neither support nor encourage gay marriages or abortion, and due to this we are getting the heat from our friends, relatives, and neighbors, and often accused of being hypocrites for being a gay couple and not supporting gay rights.

One thing though is I really love him very much and our relationship has gotten to that point where it's not centered in sex, which most homosexual relationships are, but it's more on companionship and faith. Personally, I cannot imagine life without him, but I don’t want to go to hell either, and I am not sure if the chastity thing would be enough to save us. Are we still condemned for eternal damnation when we die unless we end the relationship and go our separate ways?

Answer

I think you might be confusing abstinence with chastity. Abstinence from sexual relations is simply living without sex. Anyone can do that, and, like anything else, if it is done without love then it is worthless (cf. 1 Cor. 13:1-3). Chastity, on the other hand:

Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being. Sexuality, in which man's belonging to the bodily and biological world is expressed, becomes personal and truly human when it is integrated into the relationship of one person to another, in the complete and lifelong mutual gift of a man and a woman. The virtue of chastity therefore involves the integrity of the person and the integrality of the gift (CCC 2337).

What this means is that chastity is sexual integrity. It is living out the truth about God's design for man and woman within the state of life to which one is called. For two men to live in a romantic relationship with one another, whether or not they abstain from sex, violates chastity because it does not conform to the sexual integrity to which mankind is called.

I hasten to add that it sounds like you and your friend are taking steps in the right direction. Halting sexual relations is a good thing. If you truly desire to grow in the Christian life and ultimately to live in communion with God and neighbor, then I urge you to re-evaluate your living arrangements. If you truly love each other, then you will desire for the other that he grow in the virtues (including chastity) so that he might live in closer communion with God. That could entail sacrificing your personal desire to live together. But Christians are called to sacrifice because they follow the God who sacrificed his very life for our sake and called upon us to take up our cross and follow him (Matt. 16:24).