Early Teachings on Homosexuality

By October 21, 2014 26 Comments

Some people like to think that neither the bible nor tradition condemns the practice of homosexuality. However, passages like Leviticus 18:22-30, 1 Corinthians 6:9, and Romans 1:26-27 show that the Scriptures condemn the act.

You are not to sleep with a man as with a woman; it is detestable. You are not to have sexual intercourse with[a] any animal, defiling yourself with it; a woman is not to present herself to an animal to mate with it; it is a perversion.
“Do not defile yourselves by any of these practices, for the nations I am driving out before you have defiled themselves by all these things. The land has become defiled, so I am punishing it for its sin, and the land will vomit out its inhabitants. But you are to keep My statutes and ordinances. You must not commit any of these detestable things—not the native or the foreigner who lives among you. For the men who were in the land prior to you have committed all these detestable things, and the land has become defiled.If you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it has vomited out the nations that were before you. Any person who does any of these detestable practices must be cut off from his people. You must keep My instruction to not do any of the detestable customs that were practiced before you, so that you do not defile yourselves by them; I am Yahweh your God.” Leviticus 18:22-30

Below are some quotations from the Fathers proving that apostolic tradition has always taught the evil of this behavior:

The Didache

“You shall not commit murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not commit pederasty, you shall not commit fornication, you shall not steal, you shall not practice magic, you shall not practice witchcraft, you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill one that has been born” (Didache 2:2 [A.D. 70]).

Justin Martyr

“[W]e have been taught that to expose newly-born children is the part of wicked men; and this we have been taught lest we should do anyone harm and lest we should sin against God, first, because we see that almost all so exposed (not only the girls, but also the males) are brought up to prostitution. And for this pollution a multitude of females and hermaphrodites, and those who commit unmentionable iniquities, are found in every nation. And you receive the hire of these, and duty and taxes from them, whom you ought to exterminate from your realm. And anyone who uses such persons, besides the godless and infamous and impure intercourse, may possibly be having intercourse with his own child, or relative, or brother. And there are some who prostitute even their own children and wives, and some are openly mutilated for the purpose of sodomy; and they refer these mysteries to the mother of the gods” (First Apology 27 [A.D. 151]).

Clement of Alexandria

“All honor to that king of the Scythians, whoever Anacharsis was, who shot with an arrow one of his subjects who imitated among the Scythians the mystery of the mother of the gods . . . condemning him as having become effeminate among the Greeks, and a teacher of the disease of effeminacy to the rest of the Scythians” (Exhortation to the Greeks 2 [A.D. 190]).
“[According to Greek myth] Baubo [a female native of Eleusis] having received [the goddess] Demeter hospitably, reached to her a refreshing draught; and on her refusing it, not having any inclination to drink (for she was very sad), and Baubo having become annoyed, thinking herself slighted, uncovered her shame, and exhibited her nudity to the goddess. Demeter is delighted with the sight—pleased, I repeat, at the spectacle. These are the secret mysteries of the Athenians; these Orpheus records” (ibid.).
“It is not, then, without reason that the poets call him [Hercules] a cruel wretch and a nefarious scoundrel. It were tedious to recount his adulteries of all sorts, and debauching of boys. For your gods did not even abstain from boys, one having loved Hylas, another Hyacinthus, another Pelops, another Chrysippus, another Ganymede. Let such gods as these be worshipped by your wives, and let them pray that their husbands be such as these—so temperate; that, emulating them in the same practices, they may be like the gods. Such gods let your boys be trained to worship, that they may grow up to be men with the accursed likeness of fornication on them received from the gods” (ibid.).

“In accordance with these remarks, conversation about deeds of wickedness is appropriately termed filthy [shameful] speaking, as talk about adultery and pederasty and the like” (The Instructor6, ca. A.D. 193).
“The fate of the Sodomites was judgment to those who had done wrong, instruction to those who hear. The Sodomites having, through much luxury, fallen into uncleanness, practicing adultery shamelessly, and burning with insane love for boys; the All-seeing Word, whose notice those who commit impieties cannot escape, cast his eye on them. Nor did the sleepless guard of humanity observe their licentiousness in silence; but dissuading us from the imitation of them, and training us up to his own temperance, and falling on some sinners, lest lust being unavenged, should break loose from all the restraints of fear, ordered Sodom to be burned,
pouring forth a little of the sagacious fire on licentiousness; lest lust, through want of punishment, should throw wide the gates to those that were rushing into voluptuousness. Accordingly, the just punishment of the Sodomites became to men an image of the salvation which is well calculated for men. For those who have not committed like sins with those who are punished, will never receive a like punishment” (ibid., 8).


“[A]ll other frenzies of the lusts which exceed the laws of nature, and are impious toward both [human] bodies and the sexes, we banish, not only from the threshold but also from all shelter of the Church, for they are not sins so much as monstrosities” (Modesty 4 [A.D. 220]).


“[God forbade the Jews to eat certain foods for symbolic reasons:] For that in fishes the roughness of scales is regarded as constituting their cleanness; rough, and rugged, and unpolished, and substantial, and grave manners are approved in men; while those that are without scales are unclean, because trifling, and fickle, and faithless, and effeminate manners are disapproved. Moreover, what does the law mean when it . . . forbids the swine to be taken for food? It assuredly reproves a life filthy and dirty, and delighting in the garbage of vice. . . . Or when it forbids the hare? It rebukes men deformed into women” (The Jewish Foods 3 [A.D. 250]).

Cyprian of Carthage

“[T]urn your looks to the abominations, not less to be deplored, of another kind of spectacle. . . . Men are emasculated, and all the pride and vigor of their sex is effeminated in the disgrace of their enervated body; and he is more pleasing there who has most completely broken down the man into the woman. He grows into praise by virtue of his crime; and the more he is degraded, the more skillful he is considered to be. Such a one is looked upon—oh shame!—and looked upon with pleasure. . . . Nor is there wanting authority for the enticing abomination . . . that Jupiter of theirs [is] not more supreme in dominion than in vice, inflamed with earthly love in the midst of his own thunders . . . now breaking forth by the help of birds to violate the purity of boys. And now put the question: Can he who looks upon such things be healthy-minded or modest? Men imitate the gods whom they adore, and to such miserable beings their crimes become their religion” (Letters 1:8 [A.D. 253]).
“Oh, if placed on that lofty watchtower, you could gaze into the secret places—if you could open the closed doors of sleeping chambers and recall their dark recesses to the perception of sight—you would behold things done by immodest persons which no chaste eye could look upon; you would see what even to see is a crime; you would see what people embruted with the madness of vice deny that they have done, and yet hasten to do—men with frenzied lusts rushing upon men, doing things which afford no gratification even to those who do them” (ibid., 1:9).


“[T]he mother of the gods loved [the boy Attis] exceedingly, because he was of most surpassing beauty; and Acdestis [the son of Jupiter] who was his companion, as he grew up fondling him, and bound to him by wicked compliance with his lust. . . . Afterwards, under the influence of wine, he [Attis] admits that he is . . . loved by Acdestis. . . . Then Midas, king of Pessinus, wishing to withdraw the youth from so disgraceful an intimacy, resolves to give him his own daughter in marriage. . . . Acdestis, bursting with rage because of the boy’s being torn from himself and brought to seek a wife, fills all the guests with frenzied madness; the Phrygians shriek, panic-stricken at the appearance of the gods. . . . [Attis] too, now filled with furious passion, raving frantically and tossed about, throws himself down at last, and under a pine tree mutilates himself, saying, ‘Take these, Acdestis, for which you have stirred up so great and terribly perilous commotions’” (Against the Pagans 5:6–7 [A.D. 305]).

Eusebius of Caesarea

“[H]aving forbidden all unlawful marriage, and all unseemly practice, and the union of women with women and men with men, he [God] adds: ‘Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for in all these things the nations were defiled, which I will drive out before you. And the land was polluted, and I have recompensed [their] iniquity upon it, and the land is grieved with them that dwell upon it’ [Lev. 18:24–25]” (Proof of the Gospel 4:10 [A.D. 319]).

Basil the Great

“He who is guilty of unseemliness with males will be under discipline for the same time as adulterers” (Letters 217:62 [A.D. 367]).
“If you [O, monk] are young in either body or mind, shun the companionship of other young men and avoid them as you would a flame. For through them the enemy has kindled the desires of many and then handed them over to eternal fire, hurling them into the vile pit of the five cities under the pretense of spiritual love. . . . At meals take a seat far from other young men. In lying down to sleep let not their clothes be near yours, but rather have an old man between you. When a young man converses with you, or sings psalms facing you, answer him with eyes cast down, lest perhaps by gazing at his face you receive a seed of desire sown by the enemy and reap sheaves of corruption and ruin. Whether in the house or in a place where there is no one to see your actions, be not found in his company under the pretense either of studying the divine oracles or of any other business whatsoever, however necessary” (The Renunciation of the World [A.D. 373]).

John Chrysostom

“[The pagans] were addicted to the love of boys, and one of their wise men made a law that pederasty . . . should not be allowed to slaves, as if it was an honorable thing; and they had houses for this purpose, in which it was openly practiced. And if all that was done among them was related, it would be seen that they openly outraged nature, and there was none to restrain them. . . . As for their passion for boys, whom they called their paedica, it is not fit to be named” (Homilies on Titus 5 [A.D. 390]).
“[Certain men in church] come in gazing about at the beauty of women; others curious about the blooming youth of boys. After this, do you not marvel that [lightning] bolts are not launched [from heaven], and all these things are not plucked up from their foundations? For worthy both of thunderbolts and hell are the things that are done; but God, who is long-suffering, and of great mercy, forbears awhile his wrath, calling you to repentance and amendment” (Homilies on Matthew 3:3 [A.D. 391]).
“All of these affections [in Rom. 1:26–27] . . . were vile, but chiefly the mad lust after males; for the soul is more the sufferer in sins, and more dishonored than the body in diseases” (Homilies on Romans 4 [A.D. 391]).
“[The men] have done an insult to nature itself. And a yet more disgraceful thing than these is it, when even the women seek after these intercourses, who ought to have more shame than men” (ibid.).
“And sundry other books of the philosophers one may see full of this disease. But we do not therefore say that the thing was made lawful, but that they who received this law were pitiable, and objects for many tears. For these are treated in the same way as women that play the w****. Or rather their plight is more miserable. For in the case of the one the intercourse, even if lawless, is yet according to nature; but this is contrary both to law and nature. For even if there were no hell, and no punishment had been threatened, this would be worse than any punishment” (ibid.).


“[T]hose shameful acts against nature, such as were committed in Sodom, ought everywhere and always to be detested and punished. If all nations were to do such things, they would be held guilty of the same crime by the law of God, which has not made men so that they should use one another in this way” (Confessions 3:8:15 [A.D. 400]).

The Apostolic Constitutions

“[Christians] abhor all unlawful mixtures, and that which is practiced by some contrary to nature, as wicked and impious” (Apostolic Constitutions 6:11 [A.D. 400]).


  • john says:

    You know who writes this garbage? Where is the Christian love? This whole column is about things you shouldn’t do and how bad people are and how terrible things are I’m getting rid of this. By the way God made gay people and he’s very happy with them.

    • PHADER says:

      you are vwrong brother…bible even speaks aqgainst it.

    • hank says:


    • Allan Ecleo says:

      Let’s put it on a human perspective before we could end up with justification why does God forbid homosexuality, because its normal for humans to expect for justification before he/she believes God’s word, which not supposed to be the case. Although I understand such a gesture because I was also like that before. I’m doing this exhausting job of evangelization (although fulfilling esp. when I tapped souls) just the way how God transforms me through different intervention.
      God loves homosexuals but not homosexual’s destructive practices particularly same sex union.
      First, I know how a homosexual behaves because I’ve been there for long years. I’ve been very grateful because God found me while I was almost at the point of leaving the “real me” because of that choice. I would be hypocrite if I’ll tell you that i did not enjoy it because it’s pleasurable in fact. However, its pleasures can never be equaled to its long-term effects in terms of tranquility, contentment, truthfulness which are essentials to be at home with myself and with others.
      Redirecting my choices from homosexual tendencies has been tough considering that I’ve been there since my childhood until adulthood but because of my eagerness to correct my values, i had to stand up after falling from the same temptation. People around me never believed my sincere transformation stages up to the point that i decided to leave my friends. i’d rather lost my friends than be with them forever in homosexual activities.
      Let me go further, in the United States, millions of children have lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT) parents. Based on research, children with a parent in a same-sex relationship “underperform” in almost every sort. Less than 2 percent of children from unbroken, biological families reported experiencing sexual abuse of some nature, but that number for children of same-sex union is 23 percent. 14 percent of children from same-sex couples have spent some time in foster care, versus around 2 percent of the American population at large. Arrest, drug experimentation, and unemployment rates were all elevated among children from same-sex couples. This is why God says that homosexual cannot enter God’s kingdom. God’s kingdom can be equated to man’s happiness and joy.
      Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) represent approximately 2% of the United States population are accounted as the group that is most severely affected by HIV.
      In 2010, young gay and bisexual men (aged 13-24 years) accounted for 72% of new HIV infections among all individuals aged 13 to 24, and 30% of new infections among all gay and bisexual men. At the end of 2010, an estimated 489,121 (56%) individuals living with an HIV diagnosis in the United States were gay and bisexual men, or gay and bisexual men who also inject drugs.
      In 2011, gay and bisexual men accounted for 79% of 38,825 estimated HIV diagnoses among all males aged 13 years and older and 62% of 49,273 estimated diagnoses among all individuals receiving an HIV diagnosis that year.
      Just recently, my friend’s friend has died at a young age because of AIDS. The question is, who are the rest to follow if he left with some whom he infected, and the people he infected also infect others and the infected by whom he infected also infect and so on and so forth.
      There are Scriptural verses which point to homosexuality as a forbidden thing:
      Genesis 19:1-9 speaks about how the Angels struck men who desired intimacy with them which is itself an act of homosexuality.
      Also in Roman 1:24-27 Therefore, God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts for the mutual degradation of their bodies. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity.
      1 Corinthians 6:10 Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.
      1 Timothy 1:8-11 We know that the law is good, provided that one uses it as law, with the understanding that law is meant not for a righteous person but for the lawless and unruly, the godless and sinful, the unholy and profane, those who kill their fathers or mothers, murderers, the unchaste, practicing homosexuals, 5 kidnapers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is opposed to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.
      With the statistics presented above, God’s word indeed with relevance to homosexuality as a loathsome practice is true.

      • Rowena says:

        I agree with you Allan and I honor you for sharing your transformation here. God bless you and I pray that God will continue to empower you. Keep up the good work.

    • He created Hitler, Charles Manson, and Stalin also…..what’s your point??

    • God told you He is very happy with them? Really. Interesting since the only way God communicates with most of us is through His word: the Holy Scriptures.

    • Bart says:

      God is Love. Let’s put this at the it is writing down by people. Homosexuality was not done at that time. So people write down that God had forbidden it. I don’t believe at all that God would forbid Love. Love is a gift from God, so God will be the one who will tell if it was wrong if you stand I’m front of God and it is not to us to justice this. I’m not gay, but I am what God have teach me to be; Love. I have no problem with homosexuality. My path is Love and Compassion, the path of Jesus. So stop justice, you are not alowed to do.

  • Hilda says:

    hello John, will you not be going to far as to comment on God’s reaction. how on earth did you find out what is going on in heaven.

    • Catholic & Gay says:

      How do you know GOD isn’t Hilda…its people like you espousing ignorance who create the greatest sins! AMEN!

    • Catholic & Gay says:

      And how do you know God isn’t Hilda….its people like you espousing ignorance and condemning others that commit the greatest sins! AMEN!

  • Thomas R says:

    I agree with the teaching of the Church on this matter, but several of these are more about pederasty than homosexuality proper. Also one seems to say we should praise the killing of homosexuals and that’s kind of upsetting. (Especially as I fear killing them might actually be defended here) “He who is guilty of unseemliness with males will be under discipline for the same time as adulterers” sounds fair to my understanding of the teaching and Basil also seemed, to my surprise, to be trying to give advice to same-sex attracted people on maintaining chastity.

  • I am a Christian all my life, all my life believe in the Bible, that I will never change, if the church changes then I will fall always from the church and only follow the Bible, you all do what you want, there is only one God that forgives us when we are sorry for our sin’s, if in the Bible when Jesus told the women Mary, he said your sins are forgiven, go my child and sin no more, that means just what he said, has for you John if you don’t try and follow the word of God then you don’t believe what the Bible say anyway, you as a Christian can’t have just follow what suite you, to be a real Christian is to follow the hold BIBLE not just your wants,, I really think none off you read the Bible much, just the parts that you want to, what is the big deal about gays thinking it is ok to marry then go to the courts who is changing all this and leave the church’s alone, we are not asking you to follow the Bible, then do not ask us not to follow the Bible, if you are good people then show it and don’t make trouble, Jesus has so much trouble already trying to keep this world in tack, that have gone so bad

  • Jeremy says:

    To be christian is to love, accept and be free of judgement. While the OT did say this, didnt Christ also teach us not to judge, to treat others as you would like to be treated? What is and isn’t a sin should be something that God decides, not us.

  • Catholic & Gay says:

    Totally agree with you John….those people who preach ignorance and condemn others are the greatest SINNERS of them all!!! We must love and respect others if we want to be love and respected! AMEN!

  • Sonia says:

    The Lord dose not make mistakes when he sends you down as a boy you ar not a girl dogs in the street go with each other 2 dogs 2 bitches will mess about one another because there don’t no eney better but we do when the end comes to this world there will eat each other temper will get the best of them today there will ride on the devils back

  • Fox says:

    I am not here to judge anyone. I never tell anyone that they are going to hell. I am not God but I am totally apprised to the sin. The problem stems from individuals who believe just because it doesn’t Impact someone else that it is alright or to be numb to the sin. God does say to love everyone without question. Please point out to me where I have to accept this grievous sin?

  • Teejayrulez says:

    Love Has No Gender !!!

  • Tony says:

    John the sin isn’t being gay the sin is fornication. No different for heterosexuals. God makes the rules not us. Jesus is the way the truth and the light. If he were before any of us he would forgive and say sin no more.

  • Jon Wheeler says:

    To be honest, if anybody commenting here does so from the perspective of being a heterosexual person, they have no understanding of what it means to be homosexual or lesbian and they speak out of ignorance. If anybody here uses this forum as a means to judge or condemn others, they are condemning themselves and will one day be judged with the same rigour. Homosexuality is not a choice. Ipso facto, it is not a sin. I am lucky, in that I don’t have to pay any attention to the quotes attributed to the “early Church fathers” above. I am not a Roman Catholic, thank God, and am free from having to listen to the ramblings of ancient leaders. 🙂

  • Jon Wheeler says:

    PS: As an addition to my previous comment, can I just add this thought:
    If everyone posting anti-gay comments on here is doing so in obedience to the teachings of Scripture, can we all trust that they themselves are in full obedience to other exhortations? For example, Sell your possessions and give to the poor. (Luke 12:33)
    If not, I would suggest that they are merely being hypocritical. And all in the name of our Lord! Ah, the irony…

  • Jack... says:

    We can love the sinner, but hate the sin. Homosexuality is indeed a sin of insidious nature which perverts natural relations with the unnatural. It is not hate to call it as such. God accepts no sin lest we forget even liars are denied access to heaven. But you cannot call sin good or natural…For the Christian, calling evil good and good evil is anethema. Certainly God loves gay people…But to act upon those lusts is sin. Just as sex outside of marriage s sin. What most do not seem to understand is sex is not only physical, but even more so spiritual… I have family and friends who are gay…Some quite flamboyant about it. I love them deeply…Pray for them often…But it is obvious they try and rationalize their lifestyle as natural…They desperately look for acceptance and often demand it as if they are entitled to such…If you can’t see that God hates sin and specifically names homosexuality, and you feel the need to attempt to alter scripture and malign others for following their deeply held religious beliefs…And if you are so vitriolic as to sue a baker for not making you a wedding cake, then I submit you have been received by a devil that wants to take you to hell and make your life miserable… Or have you forgotten Christian people that the devil is a real enemy traveling to and fro across the earth seeking whom he can devour.

  • Mike says:

    God didn’t say men can’t love other men. He said man can’t have sex or lust for another man. I agree the ACT of homosexuality is a sin but a man merely loving a man isn’t a sin. I not only support the Roman Catholic Church but I am also a Catholic as of last Saturday. I am letting my guard down to say I’m attracted to both men and women but I’m devoting my life to being chaste unless I find a wife. I agree with the comment you don’t know what homosexuals go through unless you are one. I also agree the Bible states “judge not lest ye be judged” it also say the amount of judging you do will be done to you at the day you met God. Yes, I am attracted to men but I am working everyday to not fall into sin and it’s hard but I’m doing better than I thought I would. I guess I’m trying to say I agree the act is a sin but I also agree we needn’t to stop pushing the homosexuals away by judging them and instead love them so much God takes over and brings them into the church. I can attest this to be possible because the church I go to taugh me the act is a sin but also told me as long as I’m chaste im loved by God and everyone who loved me including the priests brought me into the church. So again take it from someone who knows loving them will do better then bashing or forcing your religion on them.

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