My dear friends, thinkers, readers and men and women of all faiths, ideas and opinions, I bid you and ask you to join with me in another voyage of intellectual adventure and intellectual discovery and to accompany me and engage in critical thinking to attain truth and to work in the mode of honest discernment.
Today, fellow Christian believers, do walk with me in the matter of the Vatican’s recent statement of its position on gay marriage by Pope Francis. Let me make clear before I begin my analysis of this issue that I have nothing but love for my gay brothers and sisters and not only do I harbor no hatred or discrimination toward the gay community, but I detest and oppose anything resembling hate or discrimination toward the gay community or toward any other group in our society.
Pope Francis did recently state that the Roman Catholic Church cannot bless same-sex marriages, however stable the relationships of these couples are. This message was in response to whether the church should give its blessings to increasing social and legal acceptance of same-sex unions. The church declared illicit any form of blessing that tends to acknowledge such unions.
The church insists that marriage should be between a man and a woman, stating that same-sex unions involve sexual activity outside of marriage and are not part of God’s plan for families and raising children. The church concluded in this statement that positive elements, however valued and approved, cannot justify these relationships nor render them legitimate. The Vatican cannot bless sin.
The document called on Catholics to welcome all with homosexual inclinations, and that blessings can be given to homosexual people but the church does not have the power to bless same-sex relationships. Many LBGTU Catholics were disappointed with this articulation of the church’s position on this issue, particularly in light of his statement that same sex unions need a civil union law.
Let us now take a look at the response of homosexual Catholics in unions of this type and character. In 1998 Dan McNeil and Patrick Canavan were married in an Episcopal church where a Catholic priest officiated and blessed their union. McNeil and Canavan and other gay couples stated and maintained that the Vatican was out of touch with reality, that these relationships mirror God’s love. Fr. Jim McDermott, who is gay, said it is not uncommon for priests to be asked to officiate at the weddings of gay couples, and Santiago Bolero who lives in Colombia said meeting his now husband was the answer to his prayers for a stable partner.
The Rev. Kori Pacyniak said the news about the Vatican’s statement was disappointing and Fr. McDermott said he found the statement painful and confusing.
I will now attempt to explain the Vatican’s position on this issue. The church is not the world and in many ways its doctrines, however seen as out of touch by some, represent the faith handed down to the saints for some 2000 years. The church takes the position of Jesus that one is to leave one’s father and mother and form a family union. In short, Jesus’s position, however unfashionable and out of touch with the political, secular institutions of the present society, are his statement of the true faith on this issue. The church is not running a popularity contest nor is it a democratic government institution where policies are determined by the adult voting electorate. The justification of gay marriage on the basis of love is misleading. It is not of love since one could say love may be found in incest and bestiality and human trafficking. Love, it could be argued, can be found in any of these relationships. Moreover, the biblical revelation is clear on this matter, such as the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis, chapters 18 and 19, and the condemnation of this relationship found in Leviticus 20.
Finally, in the first chapter of the book of Romans Paul states that as a result of the fall, God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Men and women gave up their natural relationship and were consumed with passion for another of the same sex, committing shameful acts with men or women and receiving the due penalty for themselves.
In Jude, chapter 1 verse 7 it is stated that Sodom and Gomorrah acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lust and have to suffer as a punishment eternal fire. Finally, in I Kings, chapters 14,15 and 22 it mentions the Sodomites or male cult prostitutes.
The biblical revelation is clear on this issue and cannot be evaded. I dearly love and have compassion on my gay brothers and sisters, but the 2000-year-old position on this issue and the Jewish view of this activity is not and cannot be subject to alteration in the name of some sort of fashion, fad or politics or the forces of the secular society and system. Jesus made no specific reference to the issue since it was not an issue in Palestinian Judaism. St. Paul was compelled to speak of it since these sorts of aberrant sexual practices were common in the Greek world.
The church does not follow the times. Times may change but the true faith remains the same, whether it is said all religions are the same or that Jesus was a prophet and not God. The word love does not excuse the reality of sin and judgment and salvation. The church is not the daily newspaper or a current movie or People magazine or Esquire or Cosmopolitan but represents God’s ultimate truth to the world, eternal and unchanging.
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