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On Homosexuality

All human beings are made in the image of God and are therefore always and in every case deserving of the dignity of that status. But not all actions are in conformity with human dignity. For example, committing murder or suicide is not an action that respects the dignity of the human person. The position of the Catholic Church is not that homosexual persons lack human dignity, but that homosexual actions do not respect that dignity because they are harmful to the people that practice them. I will give a short example of two aspects of this.

 

First, homosexual actions are physically harmful because the rectum is designed by nature to absorb any remaining nutrients before the waste leaves the body. When external objects are inserted there is serious danger of absorbing germs and infections. The female sex organ is designed by nature in a different way; it is not designed to absorb nutrients but to fight germs and infections. Thus heterosexual sex seems to be suited to Nature's design.

 

The second aspect is the spiritual. God gave us the gift of our sexuality because He wants us to share in His work of creation. The love between a husband and wife is so real and tangible that that love actually becomes a new human person, a baby. Contrary to the attitude of our culture, babies are good things, not bad. This is why marriage must be permanent, because children are permanent. I know people who are divorced or have marital problems but they all agree that it is certainly better to not have these problems. There is also the case of premarital sex. When a person engages in a sexual act with another person there is an emotional attachment that takes place. When this relationship breaks up there is extreme emotional pain. God did not intend for us to experience that type of pain. Thus sex, and the emotional bond that comes with it, belong inside of the publicly professed vow of marriage. When this bond is created outside of marriage it hurts people. As Mary Beth Bonacci says: "Real love means never having to say I'm sorry I messed up your life." Homosexual actions cannot produce a new life and so they cannot have the creation of new life as their central meaning. Thus the focal point of homosexual acts becomes the acquisition of pleasure even when it means putting another's well-being at risk. Once the quest for pleasure becomes the purpose of sex, people get hurt. If I dive off the high-dive board into a pool with no water in it, I will end up with a severe head-ache no matter how much I try to create water by the force of my will. So what happens is that people end up getting hurt because they try to invent reality rather than obey it.

 

Homosexuals, as well as young people who engage in sexual activities, are not monsters trying to hurt people, they are often looking for love and acceptance. These things are good, but not all behavior that seems like it will lead to these goals will in fact lead to them. Many homosexual persons have experienced harmful relationships with one or both of their parents and are looking for healing and acceptance by members of the same sex. In that case the most charitable thing to do is not to encourage behaviors that are physically and emotionally harmful, but to fulfill their needs in authentic ways.

 

Printed with permission from Catholic Defense.

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Aug
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August 23, 2014

Saturday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

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Mt 23:1-12

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