Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Catholic Position on Homosexuality

Recently Nathan blogged on this topic, more directly on Homosexuality and Marriage, and a few years ago I also blogged more generally expressing the Catholic position on this subject, citing my sources fairly thoroughly from (Catholic) primary sources.  You can see both of those articles (along with this one) if you use the following link:  http://cathapol.blogspot.com/search/label/homosexual

I bring the topic up again, especially as it relates to Nathan's article because I was asked by someone offline regarding the hardlined approach by the Catholic Church on the matter of "marriage" since it is becoming, more and more, accepted by society.  He asked if the Catholic Church is not giving itself a "black eye" over this by not accepting it.  My response was (and remains) the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, which is marriage is Church terminology!  Now, if "society" wants to "approve" something like "civil unions" so that homosexual couples can have the same legal rights as heterosexual couples, well, sobeit, but we do not need to relinquish our approximately 6000 years of defining what "marriage" means.  

God's Law strictly forbids participation in homosexual acts.  This does not mean that people who have homosexual thoughts or even desires are "homosexuals."  The terminology of "homosexual" implies actual participation in the illicit act(s).  For example, one who is a married heterosexual is one who participates in "the marriage act" with their spouse.  On the other hand, an unmarried heterosexual is one who participates in "the marriage act" with someone who is not (or not yet) their spouse.  An unmarried heterosexual, in the view of God's Law would be a fornicator and/or an adulterer.  The there is the third possibility, the celibate.  A celibate person, regardless of their thoughts, desires or tendencies is one who does not act upon these things.   A Catholic priest, for example, if he faithfully adheres to his vow before God is not "sexual" at all, he's celibate.

The problem we have is when the lines are blurred, definitions skewed and people are left with fuzzy, "feel-good" definitions (those that may make them feel better about themselves or others).  The redefining of words like "gay" (which used to primarily mean "happy" or "joyous") and avoiding more precise or accurate terminology, like "homosexuality," is part of what has brought us to the confused state many are in today.  

We need to stand firm in our convictions and our faith.  Some have tried to argue that the Bible is only against homosexuality in the Old Testament and that the New Testament is a more "loving" approach, but is that true?  Let's look at a few passages from the New Testament, shall we?
Romans 1:26-27 - "For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is shameful, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was fitting." 
1 Corinthians 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."
1 Timothy 1:10 - "and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching,"
Jesus specifically upholds the traditional view of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony:
Matthew 19:4-6 - "4“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’6So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”
It is undeniable that the New Testament is just as opposed to homosexual acts as the Old Testament is.

Now, to get a bit more controversial, I wish to express my own opinions - and would entertain comments and/or criticisms of them.

Let's face it, sexual "desire" is the bottom line here.  One may have "desire" for either hetero or homosexual acts - but there really is not sin until they act and/or seriously entertain such acts.  Ones sexual preference is just that, a preference.  Now I'm not saying that a male might get to a point of being very "turned off" by considering a heterosexual relationship - but that does not make acting upon homosexual desires "right."

I also believe that many Christians struggle with such desires, but maintain either a celibate or heterosexual lifestyle.  These Christians balance their faith with their desires and, again in my humble opinion, they gain grace in succeeding at keeping such desires within God's clearly expressed Law.  Those who succumb to the temptations have indeed sinned, and sinned gravely against God, and if they remain unrepentant and/or lack true contrition for their sin, then they are separated from God's grace.

There can be no such thing as a Christian homosexual, for again, to be "homosexual" implies actual participation in a sinful lifestyle.  Now one could be a Christian celibate with homosexual thoughts/desires.  Once one crosses the line into acting upon these thoughts/desires, they have abandoned God's Law. 

Can one who has been married for years but has been suppressing homosexual thoughts/desires all that time and even prior to taking the vow of Holy Matrimony remain married?  Well, not only can they, but yes - they ARE married still!  What they need to do is be honest with their spouse about these feelings, but also remain true to their vows.  Remember that your body truly is not your own, but belongs to your spouse - and you should continue to honor their needs and desires.  1 Corinthians 7:4 makes this quite clear:
The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. (NIV)
Now, as I said, I am expressing my own opinions here, but I believe they are well-founded in Church teaching and Scripture.  That being said, I repeat, I would be happy to entertain respectful comments and challenges to what I have posted.

I found it interesting that even some homosexuals have rejected the concept of "Gay Marriage" as "unnatural."  See article.

Quoted from the National Catholic Bioethics Center:  
On this point, we agree with same sex marriage advocate Professor John Corvino: 'The fact is that there are plenty of genetically influenced traits that are nevertheless undesirable. Alcoholism may have a genetic basis, but it doesn't follow that alcoholics ought to drink excessively. Some people may have a genetic predisposition to violence, but they have no more right to attack their neighbors than anyone else. Persons with such tendencies cannot say 'God made me this way' as an excuse for acting on their dispositions.'"  http://www.ncbcenter.org/page.aspx?pid=1128 
From CourageRC.net:
While those who promote the normalization of SSA (same sex attraction) may argue in public that people are ‘born that way,’ there is no scientific evidence to support the view that SSA is genetically or biologically predetermined. The few studies which have been mis-reported in the media as offering support for such predetermination either have been discredited or were not supported in subsequent, higher quality research. Even the American Psychological Association has publicly declared that “there is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation...Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles; most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.”  http://couragerc.net/Informed_Consent/Phil_FandG_Excepts.pdf
The Catechism of the Catholic Church:
Chastity and homosexuality
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,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142 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.
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.  
2360 Sexuality is ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman. In marriage the physical intimacy of the spouses becomes a sign and pledge of spiritual communion. Marriage bonds between baptized persons are sanctified by the sacrament.
2361 "Sexuality, by means of which man and woman give themselves to one another through the acts which are proper and exclusive to spouses, is not something simply biological, but concerns the innermost being of the human person as such. It is realized in a truly human way only if it is an integral part of the love by which a man and woman commit themselves totally to one another until death."143
IN BRIEF
2392 "Love is the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being" (FC 11).
2393 By creating the human being man and woman, God gives personal dignity equally to the one and the other. Each of them, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity.
2394 Christ is the model of chastity. Every baptized person is called to lead a chaste life, each according to his particular state of life.
2395 Chastity means the integration of sexuality within the person. It includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery.
2396 Among the sins gravely contrary to chastity are masturbation, fornication, pornography, and homosexual practices.
2397 The covenant which spouses have freely entered into entails faithful love. It imposes on them the obligation to keep their marriage indissoluble.
2398 Fecundity is a good, a gift and an end of marriage. By giving life, spouses participate in God's fatherhood.
Footnotes:
141 Cf. Gen 191-29; Rom 124-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10.
142 CDF, Persona humana 8.
143 FC 11.
http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s2c2a6.htm

May God bless and guide you.

1 comment:

  1. I spoke with my friend again whom I mentioned at the beginning of this article.  It was pointed out that I had opened many topics here.  I agree, this posting was pretty much a "shotgun" approach.  My next posting on this subject will be more focused.  I would still entertain respectful comments and criticism regarding what has been posted in this article - pick a topic, if you will, and let me know what you think.  The main topic I thought my friend and I were getting at was that of homosexual marriage.  In our recent offline discussion it was pointed out that was more of a minor topic.  More fundamentally that would be the matter of whether or not a "homosexual" can be a Christian.
     
    As for the homosexuality and marriage topic - my position is that "marriage" implies the sacramental condition established by God, that when a man and woman cleave to one another - the two become one, and that which God has put together, let no man put asunder.  This is not possible - at all - in a homosexual relationship if for no other reason than God not only does not put two persons together of the same sex, He flatly condemns such an act as an abomination.  My friend's position is that the term "marriage" is not wholly owned by the Catholic (or Orthodox) Church(es).  There has long been the acceptance, socially, of the marriage between a man and woman where one (or both) of them has been divorced.  I guess my position here has to be/remain that as far as I am concerned, as a Catholic apologist especially, is that the Catholic Church does not ever have to "accept" homosexual marriages.  Society might, and has even begun accepting such homosexual unions - but as I pointed out to my friend - that just lends itself to the scientific principle of entropy - where order becomes disorder, or chaos.  Christian society begins ordered, according to God's Law - and the more secular society influences Christian society, the more disorder we see. 
     
    At one point, well, actually until relatively recently, homosexual acts were considered illegal by most, if not all, societies (and still is in some).  That "crime" against society was even punishable by death.  In Scripture those caught in homosexual acts were to be put to death http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Leviticus+20%3A13&version=DRA and in some Muslim societies - that is still the case!   My friend asked if I believed homosexuals today should be put to death.  My answer is that this is forgivable and thus they should seek forgiveness and society should not put them to death.  More later.

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