Homosexuality and Chastity
cmiralook asked this question on 1/17/2001:
I noticed in one of your responses about homosexuality be unnatural. Please take the time to think about my question and don’t respond with a knee-jerk answer. It is a legitimate question and I don’t want to hear dogma. I want a straight (no pun intended) answer that is specific to my question. Do not go off on an irrelevant answer, please. Here is my question:
Christianity has its basis on the 4 Gospels since they are the only books that reveal the life and teachings of Our Lord. Homosexuality seems to rate right up there with rapists and murderers and I cannot for the life of me, see the logic!
If homosexuality is such a big deal, don’t you find it odd that out of 4 Gospels, Christ never once mentioned it? He talked at length about hypocrisy, but never of homosexuality. He also mentioned that ‘he who is without sin may cast the first stone’. Please respond.
Greetings, Brother in Christ.
The joy of the Lord be in your heart.
The response you mention was really a comeback to a crude post that wanted polemics and not information. The follow-up question of the person involved was private so that the answer disappeared from the board. That’s generally an accolade. I know I’m somewhat aggressive in my posts. Probably I will pass some additional time in Purgatory only for my responses on Askme. So, pray for me because God can change even an old impenitent reprobate.
You don’t want to hear dogma. I surmise that means that you aren’t content with the Church's teaching that practiced homosexuality is wrong. For a Catholic that should be guarantee enough in order to take a moral decision. However, it’s legitimate to inquire about the details of that doctrine. In that direction points my answer.
You are right. Jesus never spoke explicitly about homosexuality. Possibly, there is an allusion to it when he talks about John the Baptist. (I cite a passage from an article about NT and homosexuality). "He says to the crowd: "What did you go out into the wilderness to behold? ... a man clothed in soft raiment? ... those who wear soft raiment are in kings’ houses" (Mt 11:7, 8; Lk 7:25). The Greek word malakos, translated as "soft, tender", could also mean "effeminate". But in this case, the allusion could only be very indirect, since the word is used about clothing and not people. The only real pronouncement Jesus made on human sexuality concerns the union of male and female as the expression of the order created by God (with an explicit quotation from Genesis 1:27 and 2:24) in a discussion on marriage: "Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female ... and the two shall become one?" (Mt 19:4-5; Mk 10:6-7). "
Before answering to the problem I beg you to consider that the Good News was transmitted orally by the Christian communities long before being written down. The first Christian texts at our disposition are the letters of the Apostles, specifically those of Saint Paul. His teaching is genuine authoritative Christian doctrine. Remember that he was called to be Apostle through a vision of Christ. Nerveless he went to Jerusalem in order to confirm that his teaching was in communion with the Mother Church of Jerusalem. The gospels have been written some 10-20 years later. You will find a host of authoritative Christian doctrine that has not been literally taught as such by Jesus Christ. The reasons: not everything said by Jesus has been written down. Saint John says (21:25): "The whole world wouldn’t contain the books!"; and the Church throughout the centuries has looked at the concrete situation and has taught what she thought was the indisputable application of Christ’s principles.
Remember the expression of the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15: 23): " For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us…" The Church at all times has been assisted by the Holy Spirit in teaching what is in the mind of Christ. Therefore, even if you don’t find some part of the Catholic doctrine in the ipsissima verba (the very same literal words) of Christ, the whole NT is God’s Word. You approve it after hearing the letters of the Apostles during the celebration. "Word of God!"
It was necessary to clear up first this point before going on.
I would like to remember at the beginning of my answer regarding homosexuality an important text from Saint Paul I Cor 6:15, 18-20.
"You know, surely, that your bodies are members making up the body of Christ....
All the other sins are committed outside the body; but to fornicate is to sin against your own body. Your body, you know, is the temple of the Holy Spirit, Who is in you since you received Him from God. You are not your own property; you have been bought and paid for. That is why you should use your body for the glory of God."
The body of the baptized is a temple of the Holy Spirit. That’s our vocation. We are destined for a life in sanctity. Fornication means use of sexuality outside of wedlock. Sexual relations are lived according to the will of God if exercised in holy matrimony. It provides two gifts of God, the unity of husband and wife and possibility of transmission of life that can never be separated from that unity.
That means that all Catholics who are not married have the calling to live in chastity. That doesn’t mean that married Catholics aren’t required to be chaste in their relationship. Consequently, all sexual activity of non-married Christians is morally wrong. You should understand that it’s not really about an apodictic prohibition. Prohibitions in the Church are the negative side of the Good News. We are called to be temples of the Holy Spirit. Fornication expels the Holy Spirit from His temple.
The modern surrounding culture proclaims total sexual freedom. Jesus has predicted that the world will hate his disciples. In our day, it is not easy to be chaste in face of all the solicitation of the mass media. Additionally man is prone to sin. The holy Parrish priest Mary John Vianney said that we will be assaulted by bad thoughts even until 10 minutes after our death. May the Lord have mercy on us!
You could object that homosexuality isn't mentioned. Therefore, I invite you to look at the teaching of Saint Paul.
In the First Letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle, among other things, gives a list of vices to be avoided: "Do not be deceived: neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Cor 6:9-10; see 1 Tm 1: 9-10). Romans is explicit too. Pagans exercise homosexuality because they know neither God nor His will to convert the faithful's body into the Holy Spirit's temple. "God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error" (Rom 1:26-27).
The Church can't teach anything else. Look at the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
2357. "Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,[Cf. Gen 1:91-29; Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10.] tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’[CDF, Persona humana 8.] They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarily. Under no circumstances can they be approved."
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
Oh yes. They too are called to be temples of the Holy Spirit as everybody else. They too are called to sanctity as everybody else. The Church like God loves the sinner but hates sin.
A person with homosexual tendencies is neither better nor worse than others. The way we live faith and the gift of His presence in us, that's what makes us better or worse.
At the end of your post you write: "He (Jesus) also mentioned that ‘he who is without sin may cast the first stone’."
Thinking less of a person because of homosexual tendencies is the same as discriminating a person because of skin color. It doesn't change the dignity nor the worthiness of a person.
If you are interested in more information you could read the several articles published by "Osservatore Romano" regarding homosexuality.
Perhaps you would like to read a letter of a Bishop regarding this question.
Do you know "Courage", pastoral care of homosexuals?
I just happened to be perusing my old Q&A's and ran across this one. It made me realize that you truly spent some time to think about my question and that you truly put your heart into the answer. These are some of the characteristics of an honest and non-judgmental human being! The way you presented your response upheld and preserved my sense of dignity, something that is all too rare when it is known that I am gay and have AIDS. I want you to know that regardless of whether I internalize your beliefs entirely or not is irrelevant. It is the respect that you showed me that lets me know the world is a better place because you are in it!
The joy of the risen Lord be in your heart.
Your post reminded me that I have been remiss. I believe that every person the Lord permits me to meet or enter in contact with has entered in my horizon because the Lord suggests something. I do not understand every time what He wants from me. But I think that at least I should pray for those persons. It's some time that I haven't prayed for you. The reason is that I have not much time to come back to Askme.com. So I got no reminder but this time I had one.
If I reflected some way the love God has for you it's been entirely because I tried to convey the attitude and teaching of our Mother the Church. So you should thank her!
Because of this you can understand that "internalizing your (my) beliefs" is very relevant because it's the teaching of the Church not mine. Only accepting it entirely you will enter in the joy of the Lord. Because the cross these brothers and sisters are bearing is glorious. If they are in communion with the Church they accomplish the same mission of Saint Paul, I cite from memory because I have to be off for the celebration of the holy Mass: "I complete in my body that what is incomplete in the suffering of Christ's body, the Church".
God bless you
PD. I'll pray for you during the celebration.