I think that it is worth restating the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality. Before we do this, we should define our terms. I am in charge of the philosophy and debate club at my school and one of the most important things we can do in any debate is define our terms.
What does it mean to be “gay?” Does it mean to have sexual contact with someone of the same sex? Or does it mean attraction to the same sex? In today’s culture, we define “being gay” as having a homosexual orientation. That is why many people have no trouble talking about young children and pubescent as “being gay.” So does the Catholic Church condemn “being gay” if that is our definition.
The short answer is “no.” The reason for this is that we may not be in control of our attractions. Some people are attracted to broad shoulders. Some to long legs. Can any of us honestly say there was a moment when we said to ourselves “From this time forth, I shall be attracted to… BRUNETTES!” I know I didn’t. The Church acknowledges that we may not have any control over our orientation. She doesn’t say that we are definitely “born this way” or that way. She simply remains silent on the matter.
But all sexual contact outside the bonds of holy matrimony is sinful. Marriage is designed by God to be between one man and one woman for the sharing of love for the salvation of each other’s souls and the procreation and education of children. Homosexual actions can never be life-giving. I have often heard the response: “By that logic, infertile straight couples could not get married.” Not so. In this case, the couple is working with nature, but there is some kind of impediment. And this impediment may be overcome. How many couples do we know of personally that have had unlikely or “impossible” babies. But a same sex couple is working against nature, i.e. the sexual expression between the two of them can never be life-giving. This thwarts the natural end of the act (This is incidentally why artificial contraception is wrong. Pope Paul VI predicted that if we accept contraception into the culture, we would have to accept homosexual sex as well. His logic was right on the money).
Finally, the Church reminds us that we are all made in God’s image. We are all children of God. We all have value. To be a child of God does not mean that everything we do is good. Far from it. We are all sinners. But we all must be treated with human dignity. No person, gay or straight, should be subject to anything that dehumanizes them.
So to sum up:
Catholic Church’s teaching
1. Homosexual actions are always sinful because it can never fulfill an essential purpose of human sexuality.
2. Homosexual orientation is not a sin. It desire for something not in God’s plan, but it may not be a choice
3. We cannot engage in unfair discrimination because someone is gay
The Church’s teaching on this is clear and its essential point is unchanging.
So where does that leave us now? Quite frankly, it places us against the entire popular culture.
Pop culture has taken the position that the Church is wrong. Not only this, but many would make the point that the Church is now engaging in bigotry. (Which is theologically impossible for the true Church of God to do in any of its essential teachings)
For those who do not believe that pop culture is monolithic in its position on homosexuality, perform this thought exercise:
Please name a single character from a movie, television show, comic book, play, etc. who comes out against “gay marriage” and is still portrayed in a positive light.
Take your time.
…Okay, now we’re back. Couldn’t think of one, could you? Now of course some characters start off that way, but they soon learn the error of their ways. And if they don’t, their position is viewed not as a credible moral outlook on the world, but as a character flaw. Now you may make the point that this position should not be given moral credence because it is bigoted. But think about this: About half of the actual country opposes “gay marriage.” Every democratic vote on the issue in this country has resulted in it being voted down. This would mean that the majority of Americans are bigots. Perhaps you, dear reader, are ready to make that assumption. I am not.
But getting back to pop culture, it is clear that the moral code has been written, from which there can be no departure. It is one of the New Pop Culture Commandments: Thou Shall Not Judge Homosexual Actions as Sinful. If you violate this commandment, you will be branded a bigot.
Now you may think is fair or unfair. Just or unjust. You may believe that this is a step in the right direction for progress or a step towards the disintegration of society. But the point I am trying to make is that this is where our popular culture is at this particular time in history. It is from this context that we now have a gay Green Lantern (more on this in Wednesday’s article). And any opposition to a total embrace of a gay lifestyle is Pop Culture Heresy and those who oppose will be burned at the metaphorical stake as a lesson to any other closed-minded pop apostates.