Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Apologia contra homosexual marriage.

Here we go, just cut and paste.

The Catholic Church wants her members who are homosexual to live a happy, fruitful, unpersecuted, and fulfilled life. Her very reason for being is to preach Jesus Christ as the Living Lord and the only ultimate and trustworthy source of this life. However, although the deepest truth is what Jesus says: “My yoke is easy and my burden light, ” still, many good people will always experience one teaching or another as terribly difficult to accept—even nearly impossible.

This is understandably the case with our faith’s absolute denial of the legitimacy of any union presented as a marriage between two men or two women. This is the universal and constant teaching of the Catholic Church, and the Magisterium does not have any ability to reverse it. But what do we do with it? As Americans and as modern people, we may be tempted to dismiss this difficult teaching. Like the disciples hearing Christ say that he is bread for us to eat, we say, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” But as Catholics we must remember that our Baptism makes us children before God the Father and pupils to Scripture and Tradition, and so at least we must be open and patient—without, of course, sacrificing our reason or concern for the good of all.

The first thing to consider is the glory of God’s creation. Not merely creation as such—but the glory of it. Here, at the beginning of time, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit conspire to bring a whole universe into being. This universe is not God; he gives it a being all its own, loving it enough to let it have its own life; yet infusing it everywhere with every kind of beautiful thing, and infusing each thing with a yearning and movement toward himself. To paraphrase the old woman Maddy from “Cold Mountain, ” ‘There's a design for each and every one of us. A bird flies somewhere, eats the seed, it comes out in dung, plant grows. Bird's got a job, dung’s got a job, seed's got a job. And you've got a job.’

The question of following nature is a question of saying “yes” or saying “no” to this glory. It is a deep issue and a question whose answer we cannot avoid or postpone an answer. It is a part of who we are not only as God’s most beautiful and beloved creations—‘We’ve got a job’—but as Christians. St. Paul wrote, “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? […] that you are not your own? […] Therefore glorify God in your body.” Not only the human body and soul and the act of sexual intercourse were a part of this human creation, but marriage as well. And marriage is no mere affectionate “shacking up” with a receipt of legitimacy. In marriage, these two bodies, their souls, their sexual intercourse (open to life), and their genders all combine to fulfill each one’s original, God-authored meaning as the two become “one flesh” and they ‘glorify God in their bodies’, and most especially in their children.

This unique and profound experience is not available to everyone. As a matter of creation it demands the union of man and woman as they have been made for one-another. But homosexuals are not alone in being called to glorify God in chaste celibacy. So also are all people, especially Catholics and Christians, who by choice, calling, or circumstance live their lives without the sacrament of marriage. The history of saints and the untold numbers of the joyfully unmarried is a testament to the happiness to be found in such a life. However, this is not to ignore a very simple and painful fact: that a permanently homosexual Catholic will have a hard burden, especially if he or she feels it has been forced by circumstance.

There are many people who have the gift of celibate life, and there are many people who have a permanent homosexual orientation, but this unequal world never promises that the two will occur in the same person. Yet even in these final cases there should be an energetic hope, not merely of success (for there will in all likelihood be some failures), but hope in the help of God, in his mercy for our weakness, in the fruitfulness for the world of this very struggle, and in the peace and joy available even in the midst of imperfection. We must recall that the things that are impossible for us are easy for God, and that in the end it is our hearts and free choices he judges, not our weaknesses.

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