Fr. Dwight P. Campbell, S.T.D
“We must obey God rather than men.” This was the response of Peter & the Apostles when the Jewish leaders of the Sanhedrin commanded them to stop teaching about Jesus.
The Jewish leaders at Jesus’ time found the truth of His Gospel message to be intolerable and tried to silence those who preached it.
In every age there have been people opposed to the truth of the Gospel, which has always been counter-cultural, has always gone against the prevailing thinking of the culture. The same is true today on many issues, but especially with regard to the teaching of Christ on marriage and the family, and the recent attempts to redefine marriage to include people of the same sex.
A letter to the editor in this past Wednesday’s Kenosha newspaper (4/10/13) is indicative of the misdirected thinking of so many in our society on this issue. The author states, “Opponents [of same sex marriage] have no arguments, setting aside religion. I enjoy watching opponents flail about, grasp at straws, and put forth nonsensical drivel.” Nonsensical drivel? Really?
Just last week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments challenging the right of the federal government and the State of California to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
Today I will explain the Church’s teaching on marriage, and show that it is most reasonable, and very sensible. Why take the time to do this? Because we, as Catholics and followers of Christ, must be able to respond to people like Larry Harding; we must be able to articulate, to explain in a clear and well-reasoned manner, the Church’s position on this most important issue.
So many people today, especially our young people, are confused about the true meaning of marriage and are persuaded by the powerful propaganda put forward by the gay agenda in the media – on television programs, in the movies, in music, to name a few media channels.
Back in 2006, a survey found that 71% of people who regularly viewed the program “Will and Grace” believe that homosexual relationships were normal. (“Wormwood: How television poisons our hearts, our minds and our culture,” America Family Assoc. Journal, Feb. 2013, pp. 14-15)
College students tell me that if they voice opposition to the gay agenda, they are looked upon as Nazis by fellow students.
I was told by a sophomore girl in high school that her teacher asked her class, “How many think that homosexuals should be allowed to marry?” She said almost all the students in class raised their hands; only she and one other student did not; and after class, her fellow students berated her, saying, “Why do you hate gays?”
Things have gotten so bad that anyone who dares to speak the truth on this matter, or who follows his or her conscience and refuses to cooperate with the gay agenda, is persecuted. I’ll give a few examples.
A few years ago an acquaintance of mine, Professor Ken Howell, was teaching a Catholic identity class at the University of Illinois. The class covered a broad overview of Catholic beliefs and teachings, including morality. One of the students complained to the university when Dr. Howell explained the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexual acts; the student said he was offended. Dr. Howell was promptly fired from his teaching position.
And just a couple of days ago it was reported that Fr. Greg Shaffer, the Catholic chaplain at the Newman Center at George Washington University, is being kicked off the campus because some students complained about his defense of traditional marriage in his preaching. (LifeSiteNews.com, 4/13/13)
There are many cases of couples who run bed and breakfast establishments who are being sued or facing fines for refusing to rent rooms to homosexual couples.
What about religious liberty? And the freedom to profess one’s faith, guaranteed by the First Amendment to our Constitution? Well, the gay agenda trumps all of these; because those who promote this agenda, while they loudly proclaim “tolerance,” are intolerant of anyone who voices opposition to their agenda.
Let me make something clear. We must speak out on this issue because we have a duty to do so in justice, and in charity. We hate the sin, but love the sinner. We do an injustice to those promoting the gay agenda, and deny them Christian charity, by not speaking the truth on this matter. As Jesus tells us, the truth will set you free.
So, let us first look at marriage from God’s perspective. Scripture reveals that God instituted marriage at the very beginning of the human race: Jesus teaches that “from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. They are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human beings must separate” (Mk. 10:6-9).
Jesus in fact raised marriage to a sacrament, making it an image of the covenant of love between Himself and the Church, of which He is the Bridegroom and the Church is the Bride; a covenant that is totally faithful, which no human power can separate, and which ends only at death.
Essential to the notion of being made “one flesh” is the complementariness of the sexes, male and female. Two people of the same sex cannot enter into a union and become one flesh.
Why is it that God will not join two people of the same sex into one flesh in marriage? Because in God’s plan, marital relations have a twofold purpose that is inseparable: 1) to unite a couple in love; and 2) to procreate new human life. If we keep reading in the Genesis story, we see that God tells Adam and Eve, “Be fertile and multiply, fill the earth . . .” (Gen. 1:28).
Neither of these purposes is possible with two people of the same sex because two such individuals lack the complementarity to be united in one flesh, AND they lack the natural capacity to produce new human life through their relations.
The Bishops of Illinois recently issued a letter in response to the bill currently before the Illinois legislature which would allow two people of the same sex to “marry.” This letter says:
“Marriage comes to us from nature. The human species comes in complementary sexes, male and female. Their sexual union is called marital. It not only creates a place of love for two adults but also a home for loving and raising their children. . . .
“[M]arriage is what nature tells us it is, and that the State cannot change natural marriage. Civil laws that establish “same-sex marriage” create a legal fiction. The State has no power to create something that nature itself tells us is impossible.”
Archbishop John Myers of Newark, New Jersey, in his pastoral letter on marriage, says that “We cannot define and redefine marriage to suit our personal tastes or goals. We cannot make forms of relationship or types of conduct marital simply by attaching to them the word ‘marriage.’”
Archbishop Myers offers cogent reasons for both the confusion over the correct view of marriage, and success of the gay agenda. He says that “many young people today have not experienced permanence and faithfulness in the familial relationships around them. This impedes their appreciation of the truth about marriage . . . the dramatic increase in the number and the social acceptability of divorces . . . has produced a generation that knows marriage only as an unstable state meant to serve the individualistic happiness of the spouses alone. . . .
“Closely related to this,” he says, “the widespread use of contraception in sexual relations makes it difficult for young people today to grasp the intrinsic meaning and relation between sexual activity and procreation . . . To some, sexual activity is understood simply as a source of pleasure or recreation, . . Its deeper meaning as a one-flesh unity of covenantal partners is lost.”
The fact is, that any attempt to redefine marriage to include couples of the same sex is in reality an effort to give legal recognition, and societal approval, to the practice of homosexual sodomy, which God has revealed in both Scripture and the Church’s constant teaching to be a grave sin, because it goes against the natural law of God; i.e., the law God has implanted in our human nature, which He Himself created.
St. Paul makes this clear in his letter to the Romans, when he says: “God has given them up to shameful lusts, for their women have exchanged the natural use for that which is against nature, and in like manner the men also, having abandoned the natural use of the woman, have burned in their lust for one another, men with men doing shameless things and receiving in themselves the fitting recompense for their perversity” (Rom. 1:26-27).
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to the Natural Law” because “they close the sexual act to the gift of life” and “do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity” (CCC 2357).
If homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered” and contrary to the Natural Law, we must ask: What is the genesis of the homosexual attraction? The best study on the topic is called Homosexuality & Hope, published by the Catholic Medical Association (one can get it online), which reports that:
– There is no “homosexual” gene; no credible evidence that a same-sex attraction is genetically determined; and
– People are not “born that way” – contra a popular song.
Psychiatrists and psychologists who have studied same-sex attraction say that:
– Often it is a developmental condition, a problem in normal development in the child; e.g., when one has an abusive or distant father, and one does not develop a healthy male self-image;
– Another cause is predatory behavior: Most homosexuals say their first intimate experience was being preyed upon by an older man when they were adolescents, which resulted in setting them on a “track” of this behavior.
Because the same-sex attraction is not natural, it is wrong to insist that people are “born that way” and “cannot change.” In fact, a growing number of psychiatrists and psychologists – some of whom I know – report much success with what they call “reparative therapy,” i.e., changing the sexual attraction from same sex to the opposite sex through counseling, by bringing people to a knowledge of what influenced them when younger toward their same-sex attraction.
But even here, the gay agenda is on the offensive: The State of California passed a law recently that bans such reparative therapy, claiming that it can lead to “emotional harm.”
Those with a same-sex attraction are burdened with a heavy cross; in most cases they did not choose their condition, and those that are active have very sad and lonely lives because the conduct in which they engage leaves them empty and without authentic fulfillment. The truth is that the male active homosexual lifestyle is very promiscuous.
The Church teaches that persons with a same-sex attraction must be shown true compassion: We must explain to them the truth about their condition, and tell them that while they did not choose the same-sex attraction, they can choose not act on their desires; we must urge them to lead chaste, pure and holy lifestyles.
Our Lord, Jesus Christ, calls those with a same-sex attraction – as He does all Christians – to chastity and holiness aided by disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace.
Francis Cardinal George of Chicago says that for someone to deny the possibility of living chastely is to deny the power of Christ’s death and resurrection.
Pope, Benedict XVI, in an address to the U.S. Bishops last year (1/12/12), said: “The Church in the United States is called . . . to proclaim a Gospel which not only proposes unchanging moral truths but proposes them precisely as the key to human happiness and social prospering.”
The Church, he says, “seeks to convince by proposing rational arguments in the public square. . . . Here once more we see the need for an engaged, articulate and well formed Catholic laity endowed with a strong critical sense vis-à-vis the dominant culture and with the courage to counter a reductive secularism which would delegitimatize the Church’s participation in public debate . . . . As essential components of the new evangelization, these concerns must shape the vision and goals of catechetical programs at every level.”
And in a homily last July, Pope Benedict said this about the Church’s war with the current culture: “[T]he Church . . . does not preach what the powerful want to hear. Her criterion is truth and justice, even if that garners no applause and collides with human power.”
Yes, just like Peter and the Apostles up against the Sanhedrin. Amen.