May 7, 2007
Is the topic of homosexuality one we can or should talk about in an apologetics forum? First off, let me state that we should not discuss individual homosexuals – as that becomes a personal argument and as ad hominem, really would have no place in an apologetics forum. However, we can discuss homosexuality itself, as that is a moral issue which plagues society and is a topic we, as apologists, are asked about more than seldomly. We must be able to provide the Church's stance on moral issues, so yes – it is an acceptable topic for an apologetics forum.
So, what is the moral stance of the Church on this? Let's start with the Catechism of the Catholic Church (hereafter CCC):
2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
The CCC does not come right out and condemn the homosexual acts thus far, but lets look further:
2396 Among the sins gravely contrary to chastity are masturbation, fornication, pornography, and homosexual practices.
In paragraph 2396 homosexual practices and fornication are equated and are considered not only "sins" but "sins gravely contrary to chastity," let us continue:
2353 Fornication is carnal union between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman. It is gravely contrary to the dignity of persons and of human sexuality which is naturally ordered to the good of spouses and the generation and education of children. Moreover, it is a grave scandal when there is corruption of the young.
It doesn't mention homosexuality here – but we must consider that ANY act of sexual intercourse between unmarried persons is fornication as well. Let's look to another source:
fornication: consensual sexual intercourse between two persons not married to each other (source)
Looking further at the CCC:
1852 There are a great many kinds of sins. Scripture provides several lists of them. The Letter to the Galatians contrasts the works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit: "Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God."
In paragraph 1852 of the CCC the warning against those who participate in such acts is quite explicit – "those who do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God." Again, I would reiterate, it is not up to us, as the apologists, to judge individual persons – but if we are asked, we should point to these references and allow the person asking to be convicted themselves by the voice of the Church on these matters.
Continuing, paragraph 1755 contrasts a "morally good" act with those which would be considered a "moral evil." 1755 also points out that this is an "object of the choice." 1853 emphasizes what sort of acts "defile a man." Then in 2517 we see another example of things which "defiles a man."
1755 A morally good act requires the goodness of the object, of the end, and of the circumstances together. An evil end corrupts the action, even if the object is good in itself (such as praying and fasting "in order to be seen by men").
The object of the choice can by itself vitiate an act in its entirety. There are some concrete acts - such as fornication - that it is always wrong to choose, because choosing them entails a disorder of the will, that is, a moral evil.
1853 Sins can be distinguished according to their objects, as can every human act; or according to the virtues they oppose, by excess or defect; or according to the commandments they violate. They can also be classed according to whether they concern God, neighbor, or oneself; they can be divided into spiritual and carnal sins, or again as sins in thought, word, deed, or omission. The root of sin is in the heart of man, in his free will, according to the teaching of the Lord: "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a man." But in the heart also resides charity, the source of the good and pure works, which sin wounds.
2517 The heart is the seat of moral personality: "Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication. . . . " (Matt 15:19-20). The struggle against carnal covetousness entails purifying the heart and practicing temperance:
Remain simple and innocent, and you will be like little children who do not know the evil that destroys man's life.
Matthew 15:19 For from the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. 20 These are the things that defile a man. (DRB).
So, things man (including woman) chooses to do can defile him. Let's continue with more Scripture:
1 Cor. 6:9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders (10) nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
1 Tim. 1: 8 But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers 10 and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.
Lev. 18:22 You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.
Lev. 20:13 If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.
Romans 1:25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. 28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
I believe it is crystal clear, homosexuality is an abomination to the Lord. It is a grave sin and separates man from salvation. Thus, if we truly "love our neighbor" as we should, then we do not sugar-coat the clear teaching of God on this matter. If they are participating in this immoral act, they need to stop – if they want to save their souls. They will stand before God and have to answer for their deeds and their choices. Our duty as apologists is to represent the clear word of the Lord and our Church on this matter when we are asked about it. As 1 Peter 3:15 says, we are always to be ready to give an answer. If this question comes up, we must answer it and must not give answers which may lead to complacency of the sinner – making us then complicit in their sin! Our answer(s) must be firm and straight-forward from Church teaching and from Scripture.
Homosexuality is a sin, period, however, this does not mean that we "hate the sinner." On the contrary – it should be our goal to, with the love of Christ, explain the Church teaching and help guide them and their thoughts back to Christ.
Feel free to leave a comment here in the blog, or join us in the Locutus Message Board for more discussion.