Wednesday, April 22, 2015


There have been several comments related to homosexuality. Some I have published, others I have held as I could see they could be hurtful as well as wrong. 

While our church leaders seem to flounder about when all they need to do is quote the Catechism, let us not make the same mistake by similarly floundering about with our own ideas of what the Church teaches or what we would like it to teach. 

Instead, let us carefully read EXACTLY what the Church teaches as written in 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. 
141 Cf. Gen 191-29; Rom 124-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10.
142 CDF, Persona humana 8.
So here's the summary:

  • Homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.
  • A homosexual "inclination" is objectively disordered.
  • Persons who experience homosexual inclinations are simply persons.
  • The Church recognizes that same-sex attraction constitutes a "trial".
  • Persons who experience same-sex attraction are called to chastity.


Now, some personal notes. Disregard if they are not helpful because all you really need is what the Church says.

First, since the publication of the Catechism in 1992, experts in the field have clarified that the use of the term "homosexual persons" is not an accurate designation. There are only persons. There are only male persons and female persons who may or may not be attracted to the same-sex. Thus the more accurate term is "persons who are attracted to the same sex." 

Second, the "order" in the term "disordered" refers to the "order of nature". All of nature is designed to make more of itself. Thus the use of a procreative faculty for that which is inherently and intentionally not procreative is contrary to the natural order and thus "disordered". 

Third, the use of the procreative faculty in a way that intentionally frustrates procreation is also disordered for the same reason. In fact, the Church goes farther in the case of sacramentally married couples who deliberately frustrate the procreative ends of the sexual act, calling such acts "intrinsically evil." 
2370 "...every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" is intrinsically evil."
None of this is the Church making up "rules". All of the Church's teachings relative to the sexual function descend from the first account of creation as found in Genesis 27-28:
"God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and God said to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it."
In short, and as John Paul II expounded in his Theology of the Body, the union of a sacramentally married male and female, especially at the moment of sexual union, is the very image of God. This is why "sex is sacred". It is meant to image God.

Let's look at this a bit more carefully. In the preceding verse, 26, God says "Let US make man in our image." Who was God talking to when he said "Let US make"? It's not the angels because the angels can't "make" anything. Obviously the US is all three persons of the Blessed Trinity. 

Thus man and woman are made in the image of the Trinitarian God. But where is the third? 

This is why the "be fertile and multiply" is contained all in the same act as the making of the man and woman. God is generative, the Creator. We were created to cooperate with him as procreators. Thus, "be fertile..."

So this is why the intentional frustration of fertility (whether it be through contraceptive or homosexual acts) isn't just some sin against a church law, it is a direct distortion of the image of God as he ordered it.

But what about natural infertility. Is sexual union then wrong? No. We have no direct control over whether fertility actually occurs as a result of of a procreative act (except when we intend to frustrate it). We only have control over the act. It is GOD who determines fertility, as he did with Abraham and Sarah and Zachary and Elizabeth.

This is an important conversation to have, but for now, I would like to end it here and simply encourage you to study the whole section on the Sixth Commandment in the Catechism. There is no need to argue over the Church's teaching on the matter. It can't be changed. And it can't be changed because the Church did not make it up in the first place. God did. 

We all have our crosses. Marriage does not take them away. In fact, it gives you more. But then that's why we have the Sacrament. 

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