State of the Question
Homosexuality/homosexual acts constitute genital acts performed between persons of the same sex.
two angels reached
they went to bed, all the townsmen of
replied, "Stand back! This fellow," they sneered, "came here as
an immigrant, and now he dares to give orders! We'll treat you worse than
them!" With that, they pressed hard against
the angels said to
You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; such a thing is an abomination.
If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives.
Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God handed them over to their undiscerning mind to do what is improper. They are filled with every form of wickedness, evil, greed, and malice; full of envy, murder, rivalry, treachery, and spite.
1 Corinthians 6:9
you not know that the unjust will not inherit the
1 Timothy 1:8
We know that the law is good, provided that one uses it as law, with the understanding that law is meant not for a righteous person but for the lawless and unruly, the godless and sinful, the unholy and profane, those who kill their fathers or mothers, murderers, the unchaste, practicing homosexuals, kidnapers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is opposed to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.
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. 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 complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved."
The Magisterium of the Church
The teachings of Church on homosexuality are directed toward homosexual acts and not toward the homosexual condition as she is accustomed to teach against heterosexual acts--against the sins not the sinner.
The constant and consistent teaching of the Church on the morality of homosexual acts has been unequivocal in her history--homosexual acts are of their very nature seriously wrong.
“For according to the objective moral order, homosexual relations are acts which lack an essential and indispensable finality. In Sacred Scripture they are condemned as a serious depravity and even presented as the sad consequence of rejecting God. This judgment of Scripture does not of course permit us to conclude that all those who suffer from this anomaly are personally responsible for it, but it does attest to the fact that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered and can in no case be approved of.” (Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 1975, Persona Humana, Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics, no. 7)
“At the present time there
are those who, basing themselves on observations in the psychological order,
have begun to judge indulgently, and even to excuse completely, homosexual
relations between certain people. This they do in opposition to the constant
teaching of the Magisterium and to the moral sense of the Christian people.
“A distinction is drawn, and it seems with some reason, between homosexuals whose tendency comes from a false education, from a lack of normal sexual development, from habit, from bad example, or from other similar causes, and is transitory or at least not incurable; and homosexuals who are definitively such because of some kind of innate instinct or a pathological constitution judged to be incurable.
“In regard to this second category of subjects, some people conclude that their tendency is so natural that it justifies in their case homosexual relations within a sincere communion of life and love analogous to marriage, in so far as such homosexuals feel incapable of enduring a solitary life.
“In the pastoral field, these homosexuals must certainly be treated with understanding and sustained in the hope of overcoming their personal difficulties and their inability to fit into society. Their culpability will be judged with prudence. But no pastoral method can be employed which would give moral justification to these acts on the grounds that they would be consonant with the condition of such people. For according to the objective moral order, homosexual relations are acts which lack an essential and indispensable finality. In Sacred Scripture they are condemned as a serious depravity and even presented as the sad consequence of rejecting God. This judgment of Scripture does not of course permit us to conclude that all those who suffer from this anomaly are personally responsible for it, but it does attest to the fact that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered and can in no case be approved of.” (Persona Humana: Declaration On Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics, VIII, Sacred Congregation For The Doctrine Of The Faith, December 29th, 1975)
Didache (c. 80-140 AD)
You shall not commit adultery; you shall not commit pederasty (7.377).
Clement of Rome (c. 96)
It is well that they should be cut off from
the lusts of the world, since "every lust wars against the spirit"
and "neither fornicators, nor homosexuals ... will inherit the
Aristides (c. 125)
Some polluted themselves by lying with males (9.269).
Athenagoras (c. 175)
They do not abstain even from males, males with males committing shocking abominations, outraging all the noblest and comeliest bodies in all sorts of ways (2.143).
Theophilus (c. 180),
Show me yourself whether you are not an adulterer, a fornicator, a robber, or a thief. Show me that you do not corrupt boys. ... For God is not manifest to those who do these things (2.89).
Clement of Alexandria (c. 195)
Men play the part of women, and women the part of men, contrary to nature. Women are at once both wives and husbands.... O miserable spectacle! Horrible conduct! (2.276)
Clement of Alexandria (c. 195)
The whole earth has now become full of fornication and wickedness. I admire the ancient legislators of the Romans. These men detested effeminacy of conduct. The giving of the body to feminine purposes, contrary to the law of nature, they judged worthy of the most extreme penalty (2.77).
Clement of Alexandria (c.195)
The fate of the Sodomites was judgment to those who had done wrong, and instruction to those who hear. The Sodomites had fallen into uncleanness through much luxury. They practiced adultery shamelessly and they burned with insane love for boys (2.282).
Tertullian (c. 197)
The Christian man confines himself to the female sex (3.51).
I find no dress cursed by God except a woman's dress on a man. For he says, "Cursed is every man who clothes himself in woman's attire" (3.71).
Tertullian (c. 200)
The coupling of two males is a very shameful thing (3.509).
Origin (c. 245)
Such sins are committed by fornicators, adulterers, abusers of themselves with men, effeminate men, idolaters, and murderers (9.500).
Apostolic Constitutions (compiled c. 390)
The sin of
The Teaching of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church
St. Thomas, II-II, q. 154, 11
I answer that, As stated above (A6,9) wherever there occurs a special kind of deformity whereby the venereal act is rendered unbecoming, there is a determinate species of lust. This may occur in two ways: First, through being contrary to right reason, and this is common to all lustful vices; secondly, because, in addition, it is contrary to the natural order of the venereal act as becoming to the human race: and this is called "the unnatural vice." This may happen in several ways. First, by procuring pollution, without any copulation, for the sake of venereal pleasure: this pertains to the sin of "uncleanness" which some call "effeminacy." Secondly, by copulation with a thing of undue species, and this is called "bestiality." Thirdly, by copulation with an undue sex, male with male, or female with female, as the Apostle states (Rom. 1:27): and this is called the "vice of sodomy." Fourthly, by not observing the natural manner of copulation, either as to undue means, or as to other monstrous and bestial manners of copulation.
St. Thomas, II-II, q. 154, 12
I answer that, In every genus, worst of all is the corruption of the principle on which the rest depend. Now the principles of reason are those things that are according to nature, because reason presupposes things as determined by nature, before disposing of other things according as it is fitting. This may be observed both in speculative and in practical matters. Wherefore just as in speculative matters the most grievous and shameful error is that which is about things the knowledge of which is naturally bestowed on man, so in matters of action it is most grave and shameful to act against things as determined by nature. Therefore, since by the unnatural vices man transgresses that which has been determined by nature with regard to the use of venereal actions, it follows that in this matter this sin is gravest of all. After it comes incest, which, as stated above (09), is contrary to the natural respect which we owe persons related to us.
With regard to the other species of lust they imply a transgression merely of that which is determined by right reason, on the presupposition, however, of natural principles. Now it is more against reason to make use of the venereal act not only with prejudice to the future offspring, but also so as to injure another person besides. Wherefore simple fornication, which is committed without injustice to another person, is the least grave among the species of lust. Then, it is a greater injustice to have intercourse with a woman who is subject to another's authority as regards the act of generation, than as regards merely her guardianship. Wherefore adultery is more grievous than seduction. And both of these are aggravated by the use of violence. Hence rape of a virgin is graver than seduction, and rape of a wife than adultery. And all these are aggravated by coming under the head of sacrilege, as stated above (10, ad 2).
The Bible teaches that the sexual differentiation of the human race into male and female is divinely willed (Gen 1 and 2); that male and female complement each other and that marriage, rooted in the irrevocable consent of man and woman to be "one flesh" for life, alone respects the goods of human sexuality. Thus, Scripture teaches that marriage provides the normative condition for genital sexual expression; all other expressions of this kind, whether between man and woman or between members of the same sex, are to be evaluated in the light of this norm.*
Natural law reveals in considering the right and good use of human sexuality one has only to think through the use of male and female genitalia in design and function to understand what is God's will to the use (intercourse) and the end (procreation) of human sexuality.
There is no other cavity of the body that is an apt receptacle to the male penis than the female vagina to satisfy the natural purpose to deposit of semen and its nature to open itself to the creation of new life. There is no natural and complementary design to human bodies to accommodate same sex union. Human bodies have a design created by their Manufacturer.
The constant teaching of the Church is that the nature of homosexual acts is naturally and morally wrong. This teaching is clearly based on Scripture and is rooted in the biblical under-standing of sexuality. The Bible teaches that the sexual differentiation of the human race into male and female is divinely willed, that male and female complement each other and that marriage, rooted in the irrevocable consent of man and woman to be "one flesh" for life, alone respects the goods of human sexuality. Thus, Scripture teaches that marriage provides the normative condition for genital sexual expression; all other expressions of this kind, whether between man and woman or between members of the same sex, are to be evaluated in the light of this norm. In addition to this general scriptural account of human sexuality, there are specific biblical passages referring to homosexual acts, and in each of these passages such acts are unambiguously condemned.
Lawler, Rev. Ronald, O.F.M. Cap., Boyle, Joseph, Jr., and May, William (1996). Catholic Sexual Ethics: A Summary, Explanation, and Defense Updated. Our Sunday Visitor, Inc.: Indiana
Persona Humana, Declaration On Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics, Sacred Congregation For The Doctrine Of The Faith, December 29, 1975
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture texts are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament and Revised Psalms © 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.
© 2011 Robert J. Schihl
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