A 23 year old practicing Catholic college graduate student sent me an email because he was having trouble posting a comment. It would have been lost so here it is in a post. This explanation provides clarity and encouragement. This young adult explains why the Church teaches that sex outside of marriage is immoral and what it means to be tolerant even when we are internally uncomfortable. Comments are monitored.
It’s very easy to hate and fear what you do not understand.
Religion is not something simple. To disregard it as idiocy reveals a lack of understanding. So, I’d like to briefly confer to the best of my ability why Christian’s cannot accept homosexual partnerships as marriage and why they can vote for legislators who will pass laws in accordance with their moral foundation.
Believers hold themselves by an act of their own will and by the aid of grace to an objective moral code that they receive from scripture and the teachings of the Church. I am speaking of the Ten Commandments which are fulfilled by the Beatitudes in the New Testament as well as their interpretation conducted by the Magisterium of the Church.
We are called by Christ to show love, but this does not mean we accept immorality and vice as if it were virtue. This is why homosexuality is immoral according to Christian teaching:
We believe the sexual act is reserved for both the union of the two involved and for the procreation that results from it. Only in this openness to the procreative dimension, under the dimension of commitment in marriage, does the sexual act retain its dignity. Note that this allows for using the natural cycles of fertility to avoid conception, since doing so is still open to the possibility of conception and not completely closed off. The love of the two partners brings them together to produce a new being from their united flesh. The profound capacity to wed the passions of true sincere love (defined below), the physical reality of unity provided by nature, and the bringing into being a new life are astounding. These are the qualities necessary to the sexual act that consummates and makes a marriage eternal.
So, the pleasure of the sexual faculties is experienced with this openness to bringing new life into the world and this sole commitment to one spouse. It really is beautiful when you ponder it.
Also, this does not mean that “straight” couples (or singles) somehow have it easy and that their “lusts” happen to be in-line with moral teaching of the Church.
Lust has been and always will be a sin. Period. In the Old Testament, Tobias said he wanted to be with Sarah not out of lust, but out of sincerity of heart (Tob 8:4-9). Having accepted the life-long commitment to one another, desire for sexual intercourse becomes a right that each spouse may exact from the other. For they no longer belong to themselves alone, but to one another. This does not mean that all bedroom behavior is allowed, or that one may be unduly subjected to the other. The Church has always held that even in marriage, unbridled lust can be sinful.
But back to the openness to the procreative dimension that gives the act its beauty and grandeur. This dimension has and always will be lacking in a homosexual encounter. It doesn’t require a great imagination to conceive why the actions involved in such an encounter negate all possibility of procreation. This is why sexual expression of love between two persons of the same gender is understood to be intrinsically disordered (CCC 2357) and cannot therefore be accepted the Church as the consummation of a marriage.
Please note the distinction of “sexual love.” Our modern culture uses the words love and sex interchangeably. They have become synonymous. But to understand Christ’s love you have to realize that He demanded both the keeping of the Decalogue (the Ten Commandments) and the new law of the beatitudes (the New Testament). The spouses are ordered to help one another in their following of these codes of conduct so that they may attain spiritual purity and reach Heaven. For many of the upset responders, that would be a good assignment for you to accomplish: get a good grip on Christian theology in regards to charity, which is the Christian term for love.
So can a man show love (show true charity) to another man? Yes, of course: he can he show him hospitality, kindness, help in a time of need, and above all forgiveness. Can women do the same with one another? By all means. But can a man have sexual relations with another man or a woman have sexual relations with another woman as an expression of his or her love? According to the charity Christ demands, no, they cannot, because that act will be intrinsically limited; it will be incapable and closed off to the bearing of fruit in the form of a new person, who is considered a gift.
As regards children, parents assume responsibility for the formation of their child’s conscience. If and when I have them, I will do everything in my power to ensure that they understand their moral positions so that they can make a free and deliberate choice. We don’t have much to fear as long as children are well read and understand the positions they hold. Once they’re off and have left the nest, they are the captains of their own vessels and parents are simply there to offer guidance when it is requested. This is anything but instilling bigotry in children.
Also, many of the comments classified us as “haters.” This class would seem most appropriately ascribed to someone with virulent disgust for another group of people and who would wish their pain or destruction (one need only visit the comments on this blog for a good example). Further, “intolerance” would be a class that would seem to disallow displays of affection that point towards a sexual relationship between same-sex couples. We do not fall into this category either, or else we would curb children away from same-gender couples with children, or make a scene when we encounter them. No one is promoting that.
No sensible person can compare the physical publicity of public displays of homosexual affection in areas like public pools or parks with a written blog post about discomfort at homosexual PDoA accessible only through an Internet connection and a computer. If expressions of discomfort so dismays you, then don’t read them; that is a good deal easier than telling someone to become a hermit and to shut oneself away from the outside world. Or, at the very least, show decency as we show you. That is in accordance with the capital tenet: do to others as you would have them do to you. As citizens we are abiding within the laws promulgated by the state, and we may also implicitly reveal on our personal sites that we would vote in favor of a candidate whose position for making moral judgments is more in-line with our own. And by the principles this nation is founded upon, we have that right.
So, lastly, I must make a distinction between interior discomfort and external intolerance. The Christian faith does not allow for us to accept homosexuality as a valid and dignified form of sexual love. Consequently, external displays that point towards that type of love are met with interior discomfort.* Note that this does not mean we should be externally intolerant; rather, this means we can and should love homosexuals in the true charitable sense mentioned above – that we can offer a thirsting homosexual man or woman drink, or a famished homosexual man or woman food. Christ demands that of us. But if these homosexual men and women are thirsting or famished for us to cast aside our faith and moral foundation and embrace their ideology, then they will inevitably be disappointed.
For we can love you, but we cannot love your behavior.
*Of course it goes without saying that public displays of lust even between heterosexual couples among children is shunned.