Catholicism and Homosexuality Part 1: Equal Persons

(Reblogged from December 5, 2013)

Today I am beginning a 7-part series on Catholicism and Homosexuality. Here is a list of all of the articles:

Catholicism and Homosexuality Part 1: Equal Persons
Catholicism and Homosexuality Part 2: Unequal Acts Part 1
Catholicism and Homosexuality Part 3: Unequal Acts Part 2
Catholicism and Homosexuality Part 4: The Call to Chastity
Catholicism and Homosexuality Part 5: The Rugged Cross
Catholicism and Homosexuality Part 6: Love, Not Hate Part 1
Catholicism and Homosexuality Part 7: Love, Not Hate Part 2

My point here is not to necessarily to do in depth discussion of the issue, but to really draw an outline of truth regarding the Church’s teaching, the unity of Faith and reason when it comes to this sensitive issue, to teach those who don’t understand what it really is like to bear this cross, and most importantly to proclaim the love of Jesus Christ and the care which Mother Church has for all souls, especially the souls which, like me, bear this burden.

So, equal persons.

No discussion on homosexuality should fail to restate this foundational truth: that all members of our species are created with equal dignity.

“Created in the image of the one God and equally endowed with rational souls, all men have the same nature and the same origin. Redeemed by the sacrifice of Christ, all are called to participate in the same divine beatitude: all therefore enjoy an equal dignity.”

(CCC 1934)

This truth transcends the issue of homosexuality. It applies to all groups of people who suffer, who, at times, feel forgotten, outcast, or forgotten. It is a truth, which our present Pope, Francis I, is particularly excellent at demonstrating. Each and every one of us, whether we live in a palace or we live in a gutter, whether we speak English or Chinese, whether we were born in this country or came here illegally, whether we are black or white, whether we are gay or straight were created by the very same God. We were ALL created in His image. We all were given a rational soul, and we all share in the same human nature. Even greater we were all redeemed by the same man, in the same sacrifice. We are all called to the same heaven and eternal reward. No matter what lies in our past, no matter what we struggle with in the present moment we are all of equal dignity.

And this is where our discussion must begin because whether we care to admit it or not, our failure to begin with this premise, especially when evangelizing the homosexual community is a real turn off. We forget that non-Christians, especially homosexuals, are designed for Jesus Christ. We neglect to understand that the homosexual is capable of longing for God, and maybe just maybe even wants to know and wants to love God! We sometimes assume that because a person is homosexual that their default status is atheist! Even I sometimes forget that a homosexual can desire to love and serve God! So we must begin by restating the timeless truth, that all men enjoy an equal dignity before God.

It is also important to emphasize that the moral code is the same for all persons in all places at all times. There is one moral code, one set of rules and they apply to all persons, regardless of what their temptations or inclinations may be. As ridiculous as it may sound, the straight woman has the same commandment to not have sexual relations with another woman as the lesbian does. She may not necessarily struggle against the command, yet the command exists for her and she is bound to be obedient to the command.

Each commandment of God causes someone to struggle, and each person struggles with at least one commandment. But the commandment is not abrogated for the one who struggles against it simply because they struggle. In fact the struggle is what sanctifies them! But I am getting ahead of myself.

As we go from here today, pray for greater clarity in understanding that all persons were created by the same God and that we all share in an equal dignity.

Part 2

Catholicism and Homosexuality Part 6: Love, Not Hate Part 1

(Reblogged from December 10, 2013)

We are coming to the end of the series with a two-parter about love and hate. Check out the last installment of the series here if you missed. The first part of Love, Not Hate is going to address in a general way, the current cultural conversation on so-called same-sex marriage. The second part is going to address other areas of the so-called “gay agenda” and highlight areas where we can and should find common ground.

“The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes. These differences should not cause us to forget its common and permanent characteristics.”

CCC 1603

There have been countless nations on the face of the earth since the dawn of time. Marriage has been a part of them all. In each place the rites of marriage have been different. In different times and places the freedom in which men and women married varied. But regardless of these types of differences, one thing has remained the same: that marriage is between a man and a woman. Sometimes a man could have multiple marriages, but each individual marriage he had was with one woman. The amazing thing about this truth is that even in past cultures where homosexual behavior was tolerated and even lauded and encouraged, same-sex marriage did not exist.

There is a deeper understanding in the human consciousness that understands that the permanent bonded love between a man and a woman is different than any other relationship, even relationships that are built upon great love! That is why the Catholic Church fights hard against redefining marriage. Redefining marriage undefines it. When marriage is no longer a relationship that benefits society because of its faithfulness and its fecundity, why have marriage at all? Today neither faithfulness nor fecundity are necessary for a relationship to be recognized as marriage. If that is what marriage truly is, then what relationship is marriage? If some kind of temporary attractive feeling is all that is necessary, how could marriage be denied to any group of people? Three people, four people, siblings, parents and children, friends, employer and employee, corporations, etc. If fidelity doesn’t matter, fecundity doesn’t matter, gender doesn’t matter, what really does matter?

Society is rapidly slipping into relativism and rather than opening the definition of marriage to include more people, we will undoubtedly open it so far as to define it out of existence. Obviously Christians of good faith do not want this to happen. Marriage is an institution which honors the special relationship between a husband and a wife that procreates and keeps our race alive. It is an institution which permanently brings the spouses together to responsibly raise their offspring through stability, love, and commitment. Redefining marriage further away from that than it already has (divorce, contraception, etc.) weakens its goals and status as unique. This is what the fight about not redefining marriage to include same-sex couples is about.

The great thing is that this is a universal truth that is not found by faith alone but is arrived at by human reason, and as such is supported by a wide variety of individuals including Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and even atheists. Regardless of doctrine and belief in divinity we all benefit from the goal of natural marriage. There are even great numbers of homosexuals who understand this truth, and understand that the fight is not about relegating the homosexual to a second-class status or dehumanizing them. I really feel for my fellow homosexuals who feel that way, but the feeling really is self-imposed because the movement at large isn’t about criminalizing homosexuality or disparaging them, but about saving a wounded institution for the benefit of our civilization.

Part 7

Do I Believe That God Will Deliver?

(Reblogged from October 12, 2013)

That’s the question that was posed to me in confession?

Do I believe that God will deliver me if I cooperate with him? I don’t know. That was what I told my confessor.

Am I willing to fight the seven demons that will come back with the demon I just cleared out of my house? Or will I just roll over and let them set up shop? History and the law of probabilities says that I will roll over. But if you let a complex system repeat itself long enough something surprising might occur.

I guess I just don’t know if I believe that God will deliver me or if I’ve just given up hope in the trash heap that is all my previous failures.

The Weapons of Our Warfare Are Not Worldly

(Reblogged from October 23, 2011)

For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

2 Corinthians 10:3-6

“Love the Madonna and pray the rosary, for her rosary is the weapon against the evils of the world today.”
-St. Pio of Pietrelcina-

h/t to Amanda for bringing this verse to my attention this morning

The Soul that Cannot Meditate

(Reblogged from May 2, 2011)

When spiritual persons cannot meditate, they should learn to remain in God’s presence with a loving attention and tranquil intellect…For little by little and very soon, the divine calm and peace with a wondrous, sublime knowledge of God, enveloped in divine love, will be infused into their souls.

St. John of the Cross


Source of Unfailing Help

(Reblogged from April 17, 2011)

O Queen of Heaven and earth, Most Holy Virgin, we venerate thee. Thou art the beloved Daughter of the Most High God, the chosen Mother of the Incarnate Word, the Immaculate Spouse of the Holy Spirit, the Sacred Vessel of the Most Holy Trinity.

O Mother of the Divine Redeemer, who under the title of Our Lady of Good Remedy comes to the aid of all who call upon thee, extend thy maternal protection to us. We depend on thee, dear Mother, as helpless and needy children depend on a tender and caring mother.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of death.

O Lady of Good Remedy, source of unfailing help, grant that we may draw from thy treasury of graces in our time of need. Touch the hearts of sinners, that they may seek reconciliation and forgiveness. Bring comfort to the afflicted and the lonely; help the poor and the hopeless; aid the sick and the suffering. May they be healed in body and strengthened in spirit to endure their sufferings with patient resignation and Christian fortitude.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of death.

Dear Lady of Good Remedy, source of unfailing help, thy compassionate heart knows a remedy for every affliction and misery we encounter in life. Help me with thy prayers and intercession to find remedy for my problems and needs, especially for … (Here indicate your special intentions).

On my part, O loving Mother, I pledge myself to a more intensely Christian lifestyle, to a more careful observance of the laws of God, to be more conscientious in fulfilling the obligations of my state in life, and to strive to be a source of healing in this broken world of ours.

Dear Lady of Good Remedy, be ever present to me, and through thy intercession, may I enjoy health of body and peace of mind, and grow stronger in the faith and in the love of thy Son, Jesus.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of death.

V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of Good Remedy.
R. That we may deepen our dedication to thy Son, and make the world alive with His Spirit.

Let Us Eat and Drink, for Tomorrow We Die

(Reblogged from March 4, 2011)

If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”

1 Corinthians 15:32

This is a stark reminder to us, of the epic-ness of our faith, as well as its very foundation. Everything we hope for. Everything we have faith in. Everything we pray for. All of it is contingent on the fact that the dead will be raised, that Jesus Christ himself was raised from the dead. This is one of the most fundamental beliefs of Catholicism. If it is not true, all is lost, there is nothing to hope for. If it is not true, this life is all that there is, and we might as well eat and drink because tomorrow we die, and that is it.

How often do we consider the resurrection of the dead? How often to do we think about how our actions proclaim this or how they deny this? I think for many of us, myself particularly, this thought is often left somewhere on a shelf to collect dust. We give no thought to the fact that we are raised at the end of time, and live, rather, as if there is no resurrection of the dead. Pleasure is all that matters, we must get as much of it as possible in as many ways as possible. I must drink myself into oblivion. I must have sex with as many people as I can. I must watch all the sitcoms that I can. I must see as many rock concerts as I can. I must make as much money as I can. I must visit as many countries as I can. I must be as tolerant as I can. I must have as many facebook friends as I can. I only get 70 or so years to accumulate as many units of pleasure as I can, to make a name for myself so that future earth dwellers will know of me.

St. Paul asks us to live another way. He asks us to live in light of eternity. He asks us to live in the light of being raised from the dead. He asks us to make decisions that will leave us a legacy in heaven rather than a legacy on earth. He asks us to keep our bodies chaste because these are the same bodies we must present to God on the day of Judgment.

Let us consider our motives over the next week month and a half as we quickly enter the season of Lent. Do we do the things we do  because we desire a temporal pleasure, or do we do the things we do to store up treasure in heaven, to glorify God, and to enjoy the abundant graces he has given us today that are in anticipation of the infinite grace of eternal life?

Repression

(Reblogged from March 17, 2010)

re·press (ri pres’), v.t. to check or inhibit.

Repression. Its something that liberals like to bring in almost any instance where some kind of sexual activity is being condemned or a call for self-control is being made, usually by the religious right. “Repressing our desires is bad.” “Repressing sexuality is lying about who we are.” “Limiting our sexual expression does more harm than good.”

These are the typical responses. The most recent one I heard was in a comment about on article on pornography that went something like, “repressed societies have more violence.” What I logically assume comes after this is a “so, we shouldn’t dissuade pornographic use or any other type of sexual repression.”

But is repression really as bad as all that? Does it breed violence? Is it a lie about who one is? By no means. I think the word repression has a bad connotation to it. It sounds too much like oppression, a word that people do not like. Rather, judging from the definition of repress at the top, I think a better word choice might be self-control. Either way, there are benefits to this practice.

For one, self-control, is not so much about limiting, but truly respecting and understanding freedom. We are free to do all things. It does not mean, though, that all things are beneficial. We are free to look at pornography all day, everyday. We are free to have contests to see which guy in our group can have sex with the most different women in a single week. We are free to drink as much alcohol as possible, and then free to hop into a car and drive as fast as we can down Main Street. Just because we can do something or want to do something does not mean that we should do something.

And in fact, some behaviors, such as pornography are very addictive, and so, by not exercising self-control, one can come to the point where they could not exercise control even if they wanted to. Indulging is not always good. The sexual revolution has screwed us over so bad. On demand birth control, on demand abortion, the exponential increase of sexual images on television, movies, billboards, magazines, books, and street corners have lead us to believe that we are entitled to sex whenever, with whoever, as long as both parties are willing, and in some cases, the willingness doesn’t have to be a prerequisite. And what have the results of this non-repressive behavior been? Prior to the 1960’s syphilis and gonorrhea were the only two major STDs. Today STDs have rapidly multiplied into HIV, chlamydia, HPV, bacterial vaginosis, genital herpes, PID, trichomoniasis, chancroid, and over 20 others. The effects of these diseases range from discomfort and nasty-looking outbreaks to infertility and death. And all of this in the name of sexual freedom.

Then there is the divorce rate which has skyrocketed since the sexual revolution began. Probably because of the eradication of inhibitions to commit adultery. “What? You should be able to be married to whoever you are in love with. If it’s not your spouse, you should be able to get divorced and marry the one you love.” Maybe. Maybe not. But how has this affected children. Children have had to live in split households, not being able to see what true sacrifice and love means, not seeing people work relationships out. Not having the influence of both a father and mother on them. Maybe you are one of those children. Maybe you turned out “just fine”. But think of how your life might have been different if your parents had worked it out. Suddenly sex isn’t only affecting you. Its affecting families. One’s lack of self-control might destroy their own family, and it might destroy someone else’s. But sexual freedom is most important. I keep forgetting about that.

The point is, our culture has degraded sex into an act where we come together, mutually (usually) derive pleasure from each other, and then leave. We ignore any emotional, physiological, psychological, or moral consequences. Whatever feels good is good. Not feeling good is bad. So feel good! Yet, it clearly has not worked out to make our society better, but has created more brokenness! Part of our human dignity is derived from the fact that we have the freedom to make choices. God was so good in giving us that ability. But all choices are not equal. Some choices diminish that human dignity, and the sexual revolution has made those choices prevalent. Just think about this: we want people to be repressive when it comes to robbing banks, when it comes to bad driving, when it comes to lying, when it comes to violence. Why? Because we sense that an excess of freedom in these areas is not a good thing. Well folks the same is true with sex, only its a lot harder to exercise self-control in this area, for what I think are obvious reasons. It doesn’t mean that we should give up or not try very hard.

Conclusion: We’ve come darn close to having absolute sexual freedom in our nation, and things have gotten worse, none of the promises from it have come to light. So why not see where exercising a little self-control, and respect for human dignity gets us, for say, the next 50 years, giving both “revolutions” and equal amount of time to change society. And let the best man win.

Pax