Emmitsburg Council of Churches

True Sexuality, Politics and Spirituality

Father John J. Lombardi

Item: So-called "same-sex unions" are proposed in Canada. Item: A Roman Catholic-Vatican document suggests how Catholic politicians can respond to homosexulist agendas. Item: In an New England Episcopalian community, a man who is openly homosexual, currently living with another man, will be ordained a bishop soon.

All these events have given false hope to some, and fears to others. How do Catholics respond? The answer is simple-simple as the Gospel- compassion and challenge.

  1. Compassion - We need to spread compassion to persons who are homosexual; no matter the origin of their orientation, they are God's children. All people are inclined to sin, but obligated to overcome this through the sanctifying help of the Holy Spirit (1 Thess 2:13.)
  2. Challenge - In some cases, liberal right's groups, activists, politicians, and anti-Christians openly promote acceptance of their homosexual lifestyle. As a result, we need to also challenge such groups because of their rejection of orthodox Christianity, the Bible and sound Church teaching. According to St. Paul, "Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Cor:6 9-10). If one denies homosexual activities as sinful, how can one ask for forgiveness? Archbishop Fulton Sheen was often quoted in saying, "If I deny there is such thing as light, will I ever see? If I deny sound, will I ever hear? And if I deny sin, can I ever be saved?"

Just last week perhaps you read of one Catonsville (Md.) Episcopalian congregation wanting to "dissociate" from its General Convention. Rev. Stephen Randal said in a recent Washington Times story (8/11), that his Episcopal Church, by condoning blatant homosexual practices, "will carry more people to hell than it will save. It is a flying coffin doomed to destruction and despair."

Why is this issue so important today? There are at least three reasons:

  1. Because it deals with the nature of a human being's sexuality.
  2. Homosexuality is a threat to the human family and marriage.
  3. Homsexualism is a prominent cultural and legislative phenomenon. Various groups are seeking acceptance promotion of their lifestyle, attitudes and actions. (The word "homosexualism herafter is used to describe only the forms of an aggressive homosexuality which seek inappropriate ways of life-as an agenda, but NOT to include people genuinely struggling with homosexuality in an effort to live a Christian life).

In the midst of this fiery debate and movement, you may ask: Just what does the Catholic Church teach on the subject of homosexuality?

  1. The Church does not address the issue of the origin of homosexuality ("in born" or "chosen"), but does view homosexuality as an "objective disorder" .Therefore it is not a sinful condition, but homosexual actions are sinful.
  2. This condition can be either overcome or lived with chastely.
  3. We all need to preserve the family and promote it's sanctity.

We must recognize that many homosexuals are seeking a genuine Christian lifestyle and struggle with their condition (see the inspiring conversion story of Episcopal minister David Kyle Foster, at: gsopelcom.net. He gives hope to all persons with homosexuality-and their loving relatives-that this condition can be overcome, or, at least, modified with Christ's help and proper counsel. Committed Christians like this should be supported by all of us. Also, as Bible-believing Catholics, contrary to worldly groups who promote a homosexual agenda, we need to know the proper response toward homosexualism-- by the Church's consistent teachings over time.

Therefore, we now review excerpts from the Vatican document, "Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons," by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, approved by Pope John Paul, June 3, 2003, (Chaplain's comments follow the italicized excerpts):

"The present Considerations are…aimed at protecting and promoting the dignity of marriage, the foundation of the family, and the stability of society, of which this institution is a constitutive element." --- Obviously you're going to incur a lot of wrath when challenging homosexualism.. Perhaps the best approach is honesty: we are promoting the family and healthy, Christian lifestyles.. But, notice the subtle connections: homosexualism threatens marriage and family life; the family is the building block of culture and society, when this institution is attacked, culture is destabilized. Homosexualism can de-stabilize our culture.

"There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law." ---Equating marriage and homosexual unions is impossible for a Christian. We need to challenge this false, irreconcilable notion. Marriage, by God's design, is holy; homsexualism is offensive.

"Homosexual acts '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."

"Sacred Scripture condemns homosexual acts as a serious depravity… Rom 1:24-27---""Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion." 1 Cor 6:9-10--- "neither fornicators, nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Tim 1:8-10---"the law is meant for the… unchaste, sodomites, kidnappers… (this is) opposed to sound teaching."

"This judgment of Scripture does not of course permit us to conclude that all those who suffer from this anomaly are personally responsible for it, but it does attest to the fact that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered". This same moral judgment is found in many Christian writers of the first centuries and is unanimously accepted by Catholic Tradition." --- Many today try to twist the meaning of the above-quoted Scriptures. When this occurs simply refer to the above-mentioned Bible quotes, and also back to this present paragraph and document. No matter how much people today want to change the Bible, this cannot erase two-thousand years of consistent, persistent and insistent teachings on sexual morality-remember, Jesus said: "Upon this rock I will build My Church and the gates of Hell will not prevail over it" (Mt. 16:18),

"Nonetheless, according to the teaching of the Church, men and women with homosexual tendencies "must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided." --- We are called to respect every person--their inherent dignity-but not their sins. So, notice above, where the document says 'unjust discrimination." In another Vatican document, it is stated that some manifestations of homosexualism may be discriminated against (i.e., justly), when, for instance, a person seeks employment at a setting where their sexual orientation threatens the mission or goals of that place.

"They are called, like other Christians, to live the virtue of chastity. The homosexual inclination is however "objectively disordered" and homosexual practices are "sins gravely contrary to Chastity."

Just like everyone else, the homosexual person needs to gain self-mastery and strive for chastity-which means interior harmony of the passions, the mind and heart in accord with Jesus.

"Therefore, discreet and prudent actions can be effective; these might involve: unmasking the way in which such tolerance might be exploited or used in the service of ideology; stating clearly the immoral nature of these unions; reminding the government of the need to contain the phenomenon within certain limits so as to safeguard public morality and, above all, to avoid exposing young people to erroneous ideas about sexuality and marriage that would deprive them of their necessary defenses and contribute to the spread of the phenomenon"--- Some seek to use "tolerance" as a way to get what they want (more "homosexual rights" for example), and acceptance of their sexual agenda at any cost. The Vatican further observes: "Those who would move from tolerance to the legitimization of specific rights for cohabiting homosexual persons need to be reminded that the approval or legalization of evil is something far different from the toleration of evil."

Today, there is a deliberate and concerted effort to convince and convert those who oppose homosexuality. The young today are sophisticated and yet impressionable. Formation of their morality is a battleground fought in the mind. Many are trying to convert them by appealing to their open, idealistic attitudes. Are we as Christians trying as hard? Remember the Gospel ingredients and "simple formula": Compassion and Challenge. We all will need to be "brave as lions," when challenging homosexualism and "innocent as doves" by offering compassion to those who are truly trying to live the Gospel and Church teachings. "When legislation in favor of the recognition of homosexual unions is already in force, the Catholic politician must oppose it in the ways that are possible for him and make his opposition known; it is his duty to witness to the truth." --- The duty of a Catholic politician is to witness to the truth of God, and God's plan for life (no abortions), the family (no same-sex unions), and His plan for authentic human sexuality (chastity). Witnessing to these truths today, just like for the martyrs and saints, will cost reputations and popularity.

"If it is not possible to repeal such a law completely, the Catholic politician, recalling the indications contained in the Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, 'could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality", on condition that his "absolute personal opposition' to such laws was clear and well known and that the danger of scandal was avoided." --- This latter principle, refers to politicians voting for the "lesser of two evils" in abortion-situations, when their own position was clearly known, also applies to homsexualist legislation.

Unfortunately, and tragically, legislators, judges and the State are trying to define what makes a human being "human"-sexually and otherwise-and also, and the definition of family. They are thus creating a controlled anarchy which is wrecking the lives of homosexual persons, the youth and families. You've heard of scientists researching and promoting genetic engineering; this phenomenon is called cultural engineering.

Recently, some Catholic judges have been getting "harassed" because of their strong, faith-filled views. Conclusion: at least the faith is alive in some legislators lives!

"If, from the legal standpoint, marriage between a man and woman were to be considered just one possible form of marriage, the concept of marriage would undergo a radical transformation, with grave detriment to the common good. By putting homosexual unions on a legal plane analogous to that of marriage and the family, the State acts arbitrarily and in contradiction with its duties." --- Jesus Christ originally explained the sacramental character of marriage, but some today feel it necessary to introduce fundamental changes. This distorts the teachings of Jesus on marriage in the form of homosexualism, divorce and remarriage, and will be a natural degradation of the original truths from the Author of Life.

"When legislation in favor of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favor of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral.." --- Notice, the Catholic politician cannot "dodge the political bullet"--he or she has a moral responsibility to counter homsexualist legislation; to do otherwise is immoral. We need more pro-life, pro-family legislators who strongly promote the Bible and Catholic agenda in our land

"In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. "--- Just as some people once rationalized unjust laws promoting the enslavement of black peoples, we cannot accept or promote certain so-called laws in our land. These mindsets must be opposed because they defy natural law. St. Paul implies God "writes in our hearts in Romans 2:15-16.

"Laws in favor of homosexual unions are contrary to right reason because they confer legal guarantees, analogous to those granted to marriage, to unions between persons of the same sex. Given the values at stake in this question, the State could not grant legal standing to such unions without failing in its duty to promote and defend marriage as an institution essential to the common good."

It is impossible to be a slaveholder or an abortionist and a Christian at the same time. Likewise: you cannot promote homsexualism and healthy families simultaneously. Incidentally, there are many homosexual persons who oppose many of homosexuaism's anti-Christian agenda. COURAGE - a Catholic ministry to homosexuals--is one such organization; we must help such persons' and give them hope.

Conclusion: Practice: Compassion-generously extend this toward persons genuinely struggling with homosexuality. Covenant: all of us are called to live within God's spiritual plan of chastity, which helps us gain interior beauty when sexual passions are enlightened by Christ's Light. Challenge: the attitudes and movements which seek coercion of families and others to accept illicit forms of homosexualism. Be Not Afraid!

Briefly Noted

"The Holy Eucharist," by St. Alphonsus De Liguori: "It is one and the same victim; the one that offers sacrifice is the same one who, after having sacrificed Himself on the Cross, offers Himself now by the ministry of the priest; there is no difference except in the manner of offering. Jesus Christ has, then paid the price of our redemption in the Sacrifice of the Cross. But He wishes that the fruit of the ransom given should be applied to us in the Sacrifice of Altar, being Himself in both the chief Sacrificer."

Bible Readings: Prv 9:1-6; Eph 5:15-20; Jn 6:51-58 --Jesus offers union with Him. How much do you desire Holy Communion?

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Quote: When one loves all is joy: the Cross is not heavy; martyrdom is not felt. One lives more in Heaven than on Earth."

R.I.P.: Deacon Vince Perticone died last week: he was truly a disciple, family man, preacher of God's Word, and esp. loved Jesus in the Eucharist and the Virgin in the Rosary. Best to his wife, Agnes-we need more holy couples like the Perticone's!

Read other reflections by Father John J. Lombardi