I actually have no idea what the great Chinese philosopher, Confucius, may have said--if anything--about same-sex feelings. But I do know something that he said that bears on the question.
One of the teachings of Confucius was the "rectification of names," which you can read about here--the idea being that until you call things as they are, and thus know what things actually are--you can't get where you have to be. In other words, realism.
Anyway, I was driving back from Clermont County on Saturday evening, thinking about a conversation I had recently with someone asking me what's wrong with the "love" expressed by someone who is homosexually oriented?
That's when Confucius' rule came to mind. Are we using the term correctly?
The answer is no. To put it simply: we insist that "love" doesn't mean what you think it means.
What do we mean by love?
Of course there are different sorts of love--and I'm skipping over, "I love cinnamon rolls." We speak of love between friends, among family, the love of parents for children, the love of a patriot for his country, the love of self-sacrifice...
And then there is erotic love. And that's where the controversy lies. No one objects to love between two men or two women, when it is the love of friends or family, the love of comrades at arms.
The issue is sexual love expressed between two people of the same sex. Why do we care?
The answer is, strictly speaking, that's not truthful "sexual love," because sexual love, by its very nature, is nuptial. It is, by nature, complementary. And, by nature, ordered toward procreation.
And there it is. This is a common thread to a number of teachings of the Church, so much mocked and derided:
> Who cares if people have sex before marriage?
> Who cares if people give themselves sexual pleasure?
> What's so terrible about contraception, especially if a couple at least has some children?
> How can you be against using technology to conceive a child ("in vitro")?
> What's wrong with the love of two men or two women for each other?
The answer is that sexual love is essentially nuptial--meaning it's ordered toward, and realizes its truth in, the complementary union of a man and a woman. This union by its nature is ordered toward procreation. And, for what ought to be obvious reasons, this physical union is only truthful and moral when it is not only a union of body but also mind; and when it has permanence.
So when our society speaks of "love" in its loose way, an accurate answer is to say, "that's not really love." That is to say, while there may be love of friends, the expression of sexual love is false. It is not--it cannot be--what sexual love is made to be. It cannot be complementary. It cannot procreate. It cannot be nuptial.
Remember, this life isn't a different story from eternity--as if in this life, we enact whatever narrative we wish, and then when we die, we start with something entirely different. No, this life is our preparation for eternity. With every choice we make, we shape ourselves, bit by bit, into the persons we will be forever. And ultimately, the choice of good versus evil is the choice of reality versus non-reality, the will of God or our own.
Heaven--whatever else we can say about it--is also the ultimate realism. If God exists, he's in charge; and if we want to be happy forever, we must be happy with him. So when someone is aghast at our suggestion that you have to believe in God--and, for that matter, believe in Jesus Christ and the Trinity--in order to go to heaven, all we're really saying is, you must be reconciled to reality. If Christianity is true, then you're "stuck" with the Triune God, including the Son, forever. If you can't bear that, then you face an eternity of gnashing your teeth in misery. In other words, hell.
I am greatly influenced in my thinking by C.S. Lewis, particularly his Screwtape Letters and The Great Divorce, in which he illustrates powerfully this idea that someone would not go to heaven because she or he is, as a result of a lifetime of choices, incapable of wanting what heaven is. And in that context, one wonders: if our Faith is correct about the falsity, the reality-rejection of erotic love that refuses to be nuptial--and that means not just same-sex eroticism, but all eroticism outside marriage--then it isn't just that it "offends" God, but that it shapes us with an orientation toward unreality. A lifetime of seeking happiness in illusion is not a happy preparation for heaven.
Now, it may be that of all the ways our deviations from God's plan can render us incapable of true happiness, the sins of the flesh may be less destructive in their effect on the sinner than others. Some--including Lewis--have argued that. That contention will get vigorous push-back from some, and it's only a speculation. But if it has merit, it has it to the extent that sinful erotic behavior is a result of misplaced love, love that is in other ways seeking to be generous. It may be that, somewhere this side of eternity, even just shy of it, the person who spent a life seeking happiness along that particular wrong path may come to distinguish the love that was noble from the eroticism that was wrongly appropriated.
In any case, let's rectify our terms. We are not against love; we're for it. True love is permanent; true love is wholly self-giving. True love is open to the gift of life--it does not render itself sterile, either permanently or periodically. And when true love can be sexual, it is procreative. They go together. This true, sexual love takes the risk of giving ones power to procreate to the other. True love has, imbedded with in it, a willingness to be a parent, even if that never happens. A husband (or wife) is, by nature, someone willing to be a father (or mother); and a father is someone willing to be a husband. True love recognizes children as a gift, not a right. Children have a right to be the fruit of human love, not the product of an industrial process.