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Theology for the common man

THE CHURCH CHALLENGES THE LEGALIZATION OF HOMOSEXUAL UNIONS

The Catholic Church was the last to take a stand against this new serious challenge in the world. Some US States and many other countries are implementing or trying to implement a law by which civil unions, regardless of sex, would all possess the same rights with the exception of the right to name and government benefits. The new and more liberal Polish Parliament is also considering this possibility. The Church’s stand is very important to Catholics for two reasons:

First, it can have a very disastrous impact in the functioning of Catholic programs mediating the adoption of children, finding surrogate families and various existing works of charity. The Catholic Church here in the USA has had considerable experience and success in these areas. These programs, in essence Catholic, would have to mediate adoptions on an equal basis to homosexual couples in keeping with the law. It bears recalling that in certain US States where same sex unions were earlier legalized, those very dioceses have had to cancel offering adoption programs.

Second, for Catholics this ought to be a sign of change irrevocably disrupting the social order related to the nature of marriage. It is not just so Catholics refrain from joining similar unions, but that they be aware of the Church’s teaching in this matter. And consequently, that they be critical in the face of these disturbing changes. Under such terms, each individual can indeed be fooled by the slogans of democracy, tolerance and ill-conceived freedom relied on by a secular media and a contemporary legislation lost in the sight of the fundamental principles inscribed in human nature and in God’s plan of salvation.

The Holy See Confronts the Problem

Obviously, the problem is of a broader nature and applies to all homosexual occurrences in the contemporary world. However, it becomes even more disturbing when the homosexual element begins spreading its own specific form of gay culture demanding recognition of legal rights in connection with their unions, patterned on traditional marriage, along with inheritance of estates and the adoption of children. To help Catholics better discern the problem, the Holy See published several documents explaining this phenomenon in terms of the teachings of the Church. Most enlightening could be the document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: “Considerations Regarding Proposals To Give Legal Recognition To Unions Between Homosexual Persons” published in 2003. The then Prefect of the Congregation, J. Cardinal Ratzinger, recognizes several points. First, we are reminded of the demonstrable nature and essential qualities of marriage to which homosexual unions are not contingent; next we are given the rational argument of law against the legalization of these unions, raising awareness that politicians are not Catholics.

Natural Truth About Marriage

Cardinal Ratzinger explains that Marriage is no ordinary union between individuals. It was established by our Creator with its own nature, essential properties and purpose. Herein, two persons of the opposite sex by mutual personal consent, proper and exclusive, strive for oneness by mutual support, working in partnership with God in the procreation and upbringing of new life. Thus marriage is a natural unit of society, whereby two persons of the opposite sex extend to each other a mutual gift of love, the fruit of which is the procreation and education of offspring – new replacements for the future world. God’s revelation underlines the equality of men and women in personal dignity, though sexually differentiated. Sexuality belongs to the biological sphere and here it is elevated to the personal level in which body and soul unite. It is exactly this union fulfilled by the communion of persons engaged in the act of sex by which they participate in the act of creation. Thus the complementarities of sex and fertility belong to the very nature of the institution of marriage. It is even more precious to the Christian, since it has been raised to the dignity of a sacrament, becoming a means of sanctification and hence the road to God.

There are no Alternatives to the Institution of Marriage

How easy it is to see that these indicated fundamentals do not fit at all into homosexual unions that aspire to make the majesty of the law an alternative to marriage. The Congregation’s aforementioned document notes that there is no basis of comparison, nor any established analogy, not even the slightest, between homosexual unions and God’s plan regarding marriage and the family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual unions remain contrary to natural moral law. Homosexual actions because they exclude the gift of life from their sexual encounters, do not attain true affective and sexual complementarity, and thus cannot be approved. Holy Scripture notes that these persons are seriously depraved, being intrinsically disordered. Their sin is gravely contrary to chastity. In addition, homosexual unions are not in a position to provide the proper personal upbringing of adopted children sentenced to development with a homosexual couple. In this respect, they are doubly harmed; on the one hand they do not have their own parents, and on the other hand they are exposed in a greater degree to homosexuality.

Rational Arguments against Legalization

The Document of the Congregation emphasizes that the legal sanction of gay couples can bring about irreversible, profound changes to the social order contrary to the common good of the state, obscuring certain fundamental values, not to mention the devaluation of the very institution of marriage. It is totally devoid of the biological and anthropological elements of marriage and family, because it is unable to appropriately provide for procreation and the continuation of the human race. The situation does not change with the eventual use of artificial in vitro insemination, which further inhibits the proper respect for human dignity. The absence of sexual bipolarity poses a problem in the normal development of adopted children who lack the experience of motherhood and fatherhood, depriving them of full human growth. And even in the most far-reaching analogy, gay couples do not carry out the responsibilities of marriage and the family, and as such, are harmful to the development of human society.

Catholic Politicians

The last section of the Document is devoted to Catholic politicians and their attitude in the face of favorable legislation for homosexual unions. In as much as all the faithful have an obligation to oppose the validation of similar legal interactions, so Catholic politicians are bound to an even greater degree in this responsibility. They ought to clearly and publicly express their opposition and vote against drafting such a law, and in the case of a “fait accompli”, they must give public expression to their opposition, giving proper witness to the truth. Next they must support those proposals whose purpose is to limit the harm at which these laws aim, in such a way lessening the negative effects on a cultural plane as well as on public morality.

Summary considerations of the entire Document stress that her respect for gay persons, which the Church readily acknowledges, may not in any way lead to the approbation of homosexual behavior nor the legalization of similar associations. The common good as well as the protection of the one true institution of marriage and the family require this.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church Regarding Marriage

The marriage covenant, wherein a man and a woman form between themselves a lifelong partnership directed by its very nature for the good of the spouses as well as for the procreation and upbringing of offspring, remains among the baptized raised to the dignity of a sacrament by Jesus Christ. CCC 1601

The vocation of marriage is written in the very nature of men and women, who came from the Hand of the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institution, although over the centuries it may have been subject to numerous changes in different cultures, social structures and spiritual attitudes. This variety should not lead to a disregard of its common and lasting characteristics. Although the dignity of this institution is not seen with the same clarity everywhere, still within every culture there exists a certain understanding of the importance of the sanctity of marriage. Personal happiness in both human and Christian society is closely bound to the healthy state of marriage and the family. CCC 1603

Because God created men and women, their mutual love becomes an image of that absolute and indestructible love, by which God loves man. It is good, indeed very good, in the eyes of the Creator. Conjugal love, which God blesses, is intended for this, that it might be fruitful and carry out the common task of preserving creation. God blessed them saying: “Be fruitful and multiply, that you may fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen 1, 28) CCC1604.