Recently I posted an article on Facebook by Cardinal George of Chicago in support of “traditional” marriage. The following is part of a response that I received from someone I know (who went to Wildwood Catholic High School with me): “I believe . . . that you don't intend to attack anyone here. And while your writing is thoughtful, it's woefully misinformed. The church is sadly wrong in this issue, as it's been on nearly all issues involving human sexuality for years.”
Lest I am labeled by those too quick to judge with some unkind epithet because I am not being considerate or sensitive to the difficulties that homosexual couples face in our society, I think that it is only fair that I be given a hearing first. Why do I believe in “traditional” marriage and stand by the position that I have taken? Let me explain.
First, there are two major presuppositions that I make. As a Christian I believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and is meant to teach us and guide us. This belief should, in theory, be true for all who profess to be Christian—not just me. Next, I believe that Jesus is the Son of God and His teaching matters more than any other because of His Divine Authority. What the Son of God has to say about a matter is certainly more significant than what I—one of His lowly creatures—has to say.
Let’s look now at a passage from the Gospel of St. Mathew where Jesus
teaches on divorce:
Some Pharisees approached [Jesus], and tested him, saying, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?” He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” (Mt. 19: 3-6)
Notice how in this passage Jesus refers to the Book of Genesis containing the story of the first human beings who were created by God as male and female (Gn. 1: 27). Next, He refers to a joining together of these two humans—one male and one female—by God in a one flesh experience (Gn. 2: 24).
It seems pretty obvious to me from this passage (supported by other Biblical teaching) that Jesus is affirming what we consider the “traditional” position on marriage which society has presumably followed since the beginning of the human race. And the foundation of Jesus’ teaching here is based on the authority of Sacred Scripture as He reads it and explains it.
I have explained in another of my writings why homosexual acts are both sterile and empty (while granting that they may be pleasurable) and contrary to the very design of the human body. In essence, there is no fruitfulness (i.e., a child) ever possible as a result of a sexual act (a one flesh experience) between a male and another male or a female and another female.
I do not write this particular column to sit in judgment of anyone or to be seen as someone unsympathetic to the various struggles that people with homosexual attraction encounter. So if someone wants to condemn me for the position that I take here, I take consolation that I am following what appears to me to be the position that Jesus articulated through His reading and explanation of Sacred Scripture. Overwhelmingly, society has honored and upheld this “traditional” marriage relationship through the centuries and the Church continues to defend it—even when it seems unpopular or counter-cultural.
There is another passage from the Sacred Scriptures that I also think is relevant to the matter at hand:
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Mt. 5: 11-12)
No one ever said that it would be easy or popular to preach and teach the Word of God.
I’ll take my chances, however, siding with Jesus and His Church.
Fr. Ed Namiotka