Monday, January 23, 2006

Why the Vatican's stand on same-sex marriage is immoral

Researched and written in 2003

The Catholic Church, currently under the Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, has made various statements explaining the stance of the Catholic Church on recognition of unions between homosexual persons. The statements quoted in this paper are from The Pilot published August 8, 2003.

“The nature of marriage and its inalienable characteristics” (The Pilot I, 8/8/2003), as stated by the Catholic Church is based solely on the belief “…they mutually perfect each other (man and a woman), in order to cooperate with God in the procreation and upbringing of new human lives.”

This leads one to believe the church feels the only purpose of marriage is for procreation and those who are unable, by the “natural moral law”, to procreate should be barred from marriage because homosexual unions “close the sexual act to the gift of life.” Does the church also feel that heterosexual couples who cannot procreate should not be allowed to be married by the church because nature has chosen them also to “close the sexual act to the gift of life.”? Does the Catholic Church strip loving heterosexual couples whose marriage received the sanctity of the church and of God only because they cannot have a child after they were married? Would they not have been married by the Catholic Church if the Church knew they could not procreate? According to this definition prescribed by the Catholic Church, it must be so.

What about the miracles of modern day medicine? According to the Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction Donum vitae (February 22, 1987), II. A. 1-3 (quoted in The Pilot), “The possibility of using recently discovered methods of artificial reproduction, beyond involving a grave lack of respect for human dignity, does nothing to alter this inadequacy.”

Infertility rates have increased decade after decade across the globe and heterosexual couples, many married by the Catholic Church, have had to use “artificial reproduction” in order to have a family of their own. Have all of these families gone against the “natural moral law” and are they now viewed as unworthy for marriage? What about those heterosexual couples who decide to adopt a child in the world, a child who needs a loving home? Does the church also believe these couples should not be married because they were not able to procreate?

“Positions on the problem of homosexual unions” (The Pilot II, 8/8/2003) states “Those who would move the tolerance to the legitimization of specific rights for cohabiting homosexual persons need to be reminded that the approval or legalization of evil is something far different from the toleration of evil.’”.

This statement brings to question why the Catholic Church considers homosexual persons as evil. The church often uses sacred scriptures (Romans) quoting “as a serious depravity…” (cf. Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10) (The Pilot). It does not call it a “sin or morally wrong, but rather unusual or shameful and socially (dishonorable)…” (The Expository Times 115.4, page 595, 2004). But the Catholic Church uses this chapter and verse and then follows with their statement, “…however, “objectively disordered” and homosexual practices are “sins gravely contrary to chastity.”” (The Pilot). Why is the word sin included when referring to Romans when the bible does not make that statement?

“Arguments from reason against legal recognition of homosexual union” (The Pilot III, 8/8/2003) “Every humanly-created law is legitimate insofar as it is consistent with the natural moral law, recognized by right reason, and insofar as it respects the inalienable right of every person.” (The Pilot) Yet it follows with this statement, “Laws in favor of homosexual unions are contrary to right reason because they confer legal guarantees… given the values at stake in this question, the state could not grant legal standing to such unions without failing in its duty to promote and defend marriage as an institution essential to the common good.” According to these statements from the Catholic Church with the Pope’s blessings, a law is legitimate if it respects the inalienable right of every person but homosexual unions should not be granted because it would grant them legal guarantees afforded to heterosexual couples. In other words, it is wrong to grant them legal status because it would, yes, grant them legal status. Where is the respect and right of every person and where is the common good in allowing one loving couple this legal standing but not another?

“From the biological and anthropological order” (The Pilot III, 7, 8/8/2003) finds “They (children being raised by homosexual couples) would be deprived of the experience of either fatherhood or motherhood. Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development.” What about all of the children in this world who lost a mother or father because of war, disease or bad parenting? Are we to believe the Catholic Church does not want this child to be raised by their only surviving parent or grandparent or other guardian? Where is the scientific proof of this statement (The Catholic Church states “As experience has shown”)? Hundreds of thousands of children are parentless in Africa due to the ravages of AIDS. Should these children not be raised by a nurse or an orphanage because all of the adults are women? What about the Catholic nuns who do this work, should they be excluded because a father is not present and thus the Church is “doing violence to these children”?

“From the Social Order” (The Pilot III, 8, 8/8/2003) “Not even in a remote analogous sense do homosexual unions fulfill the purpose for which marriage and family deserve specific categorical recognition. On the contrary, there are good reasons for holding that such unions are harmful to the proper development of human society, especially if their impact on society were to increase.”

Again, the Catholic Church does not explain why they should not have “specific categorical recognition” nor does it say how these unions would be “harmful to the proper development of human society”. It is a statement that is based on being fact because it was stated as being so.

“From the legal order” (The Pilot III, 9, 8/8/2003) quips “Because married couples ensure the succession of generations and are therefore eminently within the public interest, civil law grants them institutional recognition. Homosexual unions, on the other hand, do not need specific attention from the legal standpoint since they do not exercise this function for the common good.”

As stated before, if the only reason for marriage is procreation, then this statement is also true for infertile heterosexual couples and even those that used medical procedures to have children. How is it that homosexual unions do not need “specific attention from the legal standpoint” when hundreds of thousands of gay couples have children and do need the legal standpoint to protect their families? If the Catholic Church feels the gauge is whether legal necessity to protect one’s family is what constitutes the need for granting marriage, then the Church has basically contradicted itself and has made all other points mute because these gay couples do have children and do need the protection of marriage to raise their families, as do infertile heterosexual couples.

Finally, the Bible has many interpretations and has many statements that today we know, because of sound mind and moral reason, not to be truths. “Down the centuries, in fact, Christians have made moral decisions, which have not followed literally the texts as they stand in this Code, and, therefore, the question arises: why at the point of these two verses (texts to homosexual orientation) is scripture applied literally with regard to the prohibition of homosexuality?” (The Expository Times 115.4, 2004)

The use and definition of homosexuality is in question, as well. First, the term homosexuality “originated a little more than one hundred years ago” (The Expository Times 115.4, 204) as was heterosexual. Most references to the term of “homosexuality” is based more on being “exploitative acts involving minors and slaves as practiced by Tiberius, Caligula and others…” (The Expository Times 115.4, 204), as well as related to “pleasure boys” and “economic exploitation… by sexual means” which refers to pimping and prostitution. Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 “explicitly forbid male-male sexual intercourse. However, they make no comment on lesbian, or any other kind of homosexual, sexual activity.” (The Expository Times 115.4, 204) Also the male-male sexual intercourse condemns men who treat men sexually as women and men who allow themselves to be so treated “and it does this not because such (behavior) is homosexual, but because it degrades men to the status of women. (The Expository Times 115.4, 204)

The statements and doctrines of the Catholic Church, in relation to homosexuality and homosexual rights, are contradictory, stated as fact only because the Church has stated as such, and is fixed on a belief that is based on writings that bring into question interpretations and understanding of said writings. In the end, if the Catholic Church wanted to be morally sound, then they would need to support their doctrines on a more solid foundation, other than it is so because they say it is so.

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