Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What The Catholic Church Says About Homosexuality

With gay "marriage" apparently dominating the news these days much has been said about the position of the Catholic Church on marriage and homosexuality.

To hear some reports you might think that the Church has proclaimed war on gay people.
In truth, the Church's position on homosexuality is very clear: Gay people are to be respected and loved. Homosexual acts however are viewed in opposition to the natural order of things and are to be avoided.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (which is official Church teaching) begins by defining homosexuality:
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 Catechism then addresses homosexual orientation:
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.
The Catechism then challenges those who are tempted to avoid such acts:
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.
Lest you think the Church abhors sexuality, you should know that the Catechism clearly proclaims:
"Sexuality is a source of joy and pleasure." But the Church proscribes that sexuality is exclusively "an integral part of the love by which a man and woman commit themselves totally to one another until death." In other words, sexuality is for marriage.

More from the Catechism:
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.
“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.”
“The acts in marriage by which the intimate and chaste union of the spouses takes place are noble and honorable; the truly human performance of these acts fosters the self-giving they signify and enriches the spouses in joy and gratitude.” Sexuality is a source of joy and pleasure.
The spouses’ union achieves the twofold end of marriage: the good of the spouses themselves and the transmission of life. These two meanings or values of marriage cannot be separated without altering the couple’s spiritual life and compromising the goods of marriage and the future of the family.

The conjugal love of man and woman thus stands under the twofold obligation of fidelity and fecundity.
The married couple forms “the intimate partnership of life and love established by the Creator and governed by his laws; it is rooted in the conjugal covenant, that is, in their irrevocable personal consent.” Both give themselves definitively and totally to one another. They are no longer two; from now on they form one flesh. The covenant they freely contracted imposes on the spouses the obligation to preserve it as unique and indissoluble. “What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”
So, yes -- the Church clearly defines homosexuality and marriage and states its position on both. And yes, the Church states that marriage is the union of one man and one woman -- that it is an exclusive and sacred union and and that it is that and only that.

You may not agree with the Church's position. Indeed, many people who say they are "Catholic" nonetheless disagree with all or part of what is explained in the Catechism.

Anyone is free to disagree.

But know what you're disagreeing with.

The Church does not teach hatred toward nor discrimination of any person of group. 

The Church's position is based on sacred scripture. It is the teaching of the Church passed down over two thousand years. It is not likely to change.

No comments: