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By Rafael Perez
There are people out there who think because of my beliefs as a Catholic, that I hate gay people. Nothing can be more false.
There’s a strange dynamic both on a personal and on a social level that is quite paradoxical to the greatest controversial issue facing our time. It is the modern day Civil Rights movement, only it’s not about race. It’s about lifestyle. Because of our zeitgeist we are all faced with a challenge; get with the program regarding LGBTQ rights or be shunned as a hater, a homophobe and a zealot. Gone are the discriminatory motions against a community who live alternate lifestyles that are not considered “normal”. Now is the time to embrace and accept them as who they are. I once did a research paper on the high level of suicide among college students due to their struggling with same-sex attraction. The numbers have increased since then, and that is indeed a tragedy. This is not about statistics and numbers. This is about what I really think. This is not a defense. This is simply my attempt to bring this issue into perspective not only in a social perspective but also a spiritual one regarding the faith and what I as a Catholic am called to do…and hating gay people is not one of those things. This is what I believe is the Enemy’s diabolical attempt to ironically demonize the Christian faith in his sad attempt to destroy it. Won’t happen.
Let’s start with what God’s word says about same sex unions…and when I mean unions I merely mean the sexual act between people of the same sex…as a matter of fact that is all Sacred Scripture mentions. It starts in the Old Testament:
“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; such a thing is an abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22)
God calls same sex acts an “abomination”. Sounds very harsh. I get how people can get turned off by that. Where’s the compassion? Where’s the mercy? There is no sign of that at all in this reading. People have even written this off as Old Testament Jewish Law, like not eating unclean foods on certain days of the year. We must be careful however to distinguish Ritualistic laws from moral laws. Ritualistic laws were always subject to change; Moral laws are not.
Why? Because the Moral Law is the expression of what is called the Natural Law by which God created. God created human beings to share in His very Life. This is the life of the Trinity, a concept still a mystery in Old Testament times. It has always been taught in the mystery of the union of husband and wife, in spite of the sinfulness of even His Chosen people, (Some Kings of Israel had multiple wives….a bad thing…..), The Lord established in the very beginning the union of man and woman to be complimentary to one another….a union that reflects the very life of the Trinity. Anything and everything that flows from that is what is called the Natural Law. Any deviation away from that is considered unnatural. Another word we use for that is SIN. Not only is it a deviation away from the life of the Trinity which is God, it cuts the spiritual life that connects us to that union. When the cut from life starts, the path to spiritual death begins. That’s what sin does.
The act of sex is a sacred act. It unifies two people to not only procreate, but to also reflect the oneness of the Trinity of God. Genesis states after the creation of the woman:
“This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called ‘woman’ for out of man this one has been taken,’ That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two become one body.” (Genesis 2:23-24)
Jesus Himself brings it back and makes it real to the Pharisees;
“But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female. 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….Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery” (Mark 10:6-12).
Paul speaks of the mystery of the union between man and woman in Ephesians 3:21-33—here’s a bit of it. Please read the whole thing when you have the chance,
“So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of His Body. ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two become one flesh’ This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and His Church.”
The Homosexual act is a deviation away from this union. It’s the same reason a heterosexual union outside of marriage is also a sin. It’s a deviation. The only rub here is that marriage can only be between man and woman. This is what upsets people. This is what gets the masses angry and consider the Catholic Church and other Christian communities hateful and bigoted. Many people think this is merely an Old Testament notion, but the New Testament has it too:
“…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…” (Romans 1:26-28)
“Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor sodomites (those who practice same sex acts) nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the Kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
“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, sodomites, kidnapers, liars, perjurers and whatever else opposed to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted” (1 Timothy 1:8-10)
The Catechism of the Catholic Church also reaffirms this;
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,141 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”142 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.
Based on everything shared, we need to be intellectually honest here otherwise we get nowhere in this matter. At its heart, it is clear that it is not BEING a homosexual which is sinful. It is ACTING on a homosexual act that makes it sinful. It’s just like any other sin. I will argue that all of us, myself included has basically broken every one of the ten Commandments at least in heart. When we do commit sin, we have a merciful forgiving God who wants us to run back to Him, and He will be there with open arms…and those arms have been nailed through. We are all sinners. We all need a Savior. Jesus Christ is the Savior. He saved all of us. The heterosexual and the homosexual alike. He died for both, for He loves both.
Yet the dilemma persists. Why are homosexual acts wrong? Nobody’s getting hurt right? Who are we to judge? Let love be love. If a man loves another man where is the sin in that? If a woman loves another woman where is the sin in that? It’s a difficult thing. I’ll even be honest in saying I wish it wasn’t so…that it wasn’t sinful to be engaged in homosexual acts. I really wish it wasn’t the case. I get it. Love is love…but then we need to not ask ourselves, but ask God…what is Love? How does this reconcile with all He is? With all He has revealed both in Scripture and His Church? The reality is that it doesn’t. A man may fall in love with another woman who is not his wife and leave his wife and children behind to follow his heart…he is happy. He loves. See what I mean? There are underlying issues here that are not on the surface and they pierce so many layers of the onion…physically, psychologically, emotionally, spiritually, morally…we don’t know all the issues. Each person is a unique creation of God, and with that uniqueness comes unique situations, unique feelings, unique circumstances that help in molding the present state of that person. It’s a case by case issue.
I knew someone who after years of serving the Lord with him as a fellow brother in Christ, was discovered to have been sleeping with his godson and other young boys. He was later charged and put on the public watch list of child offenders. I touched base with him years later and he was still trying to piece his life back together. To this day I have no clue what has become of him, but I do know this…he suffered for what he did…and rightly so. The question is if that suffering was redemptive for God can reach into the darkest of places and bring it to the light. That of course is between him and the Lord. It’s none of my business.
I also knew someone else who also served the Lord and young people right along with me as a brother in Christ. A man of a charitable heart…who loved Jesus with a fever that I have even wished I had. He was gay. I never knew of his private life, but after his passing away of cancer a few years ago I can sense inside me that he has gone to be with the Lord. I still have a letter he wrote to me when I did my first Camino retreat back in 1988. I still read it now and then to be reminded of his encouragement, his heart and his whole hearted service to God.
So you must wonder how I can possibly compare the two…I’m not. My point is simple…both had homosexual tendencies. One acted on them inappropriately and sinfully. The other I could only wonder if he ever did…I don’t know. What I do believe is that God can save both…not because of what they have done or not done but IN SPITE of it. Just like all of us. We are all called to holiness, even the homosexual. We are all called to repentance, even the homosexual.
So what’s the big deal? It appears that a spirit of acceptance of the SINFUL lifestyle is what is infecting our society. Our world. It kind of works like this: Who are you to judge? There’s nothing wrong with it. God made them that way. It’s been scientifically proven. You’re a homophobe if you don’t accept them. You’re hateful. Jesus taught us to love, not to hate. Jesus never said anything about homosexual sex being wrong.
1.Who are you to judge? No one. It’s God Himself who judges. Individuals. The reality is that all of us judge actions on a daily basis. It’s even how we get through the day for the most part. We all have a sense of right and wrong…a conscience. This is the voice of God within us. What our sinful natures have done with a little help from the diabolical is rationalize or even salad pick what we would consider to be sinful and what we don’t. WE determine what is right and wrong. We have pried that out of His nail scarred hands and puttied it to suit our own sense of right and wrong. Pope Pius the X predicted it 100 years ago with his encyclical about the coming dangers of modernism. It is the ancient serpent’s lie made manifest in our society; WE will be as gods, knowing what is good and evil. The problem is, when we take that innate knowledge from the God who is the source of it, do we really know it without Him? Who am I to judge what is a sin and what isn’t? That’s the real question that should be asked, but it won’t be asked by people, even people I know because that exposes the point for what it is. The real question is this; Who am I to judge what God has declared to be sin or not? That question is real, but people for the most part will avoid it.
2.God made them that way. It’s been scientifically proven. Really? Based on all the studies I’ve made on the subject, there is no “gay” gene. The human genome has been studied and mapped out for years now. We have found genes and mutations for many other conditions like Down’s Syndrome. No gay gene. Nothing. I love science. One of the things I love about science is its inquiry into the natural world. What is true? What is theory? Using the scientific method to find out what is true and what remains theory. Until the gay gene is found, it remains just a theory. And even if by chance it is found, that doesn’t mean God made them that way. God is the creator but when it comes to a fallen natural world He won’t interfere with the inclusion of a gene for down syndrome in a baby. There are people who live with Down Syndrome and give glory to God with their lives of service and love for Him. Here’s another point; If God created homosexual sex to be just as natural and love giving as heterosexual sex, why did He not give same sex people to ability to reproduce? It was one of the first commands He gave to us; ”Be fruitful and multiply”….why can’t gay people do that? Why do they have to adopt or have artificial insemination? Why would God deprive them of that beauty and lifegiving power he gave us when man and woman unite? Nothing is more of an expression of love between two people than their co-creating with God another future citizen of Heaven. It’s an expression of the Love within the Trinity who is God. He will share that creative act with only opposite sex people? Who’s the discriminatory one here?
I know that sounds like a stretch but if you bring things to their conclusion in the natural world, we see it all around us…all living things use different mechanisms to reproduce, but they reproduce. No. This isn’t about what is natural and what God made…this again is about what feels right. What seems right. To us. “You shall be as gods….”
Jesus taught us to love, not hate…you’re a homophobe: There’s no such thing as homophobia. Society has created that term to identify those who do not subscribe to the homosexual orientation. Who do not accept it as natural. In truth there are those who have said and done very hateful things towards homosexuals who in my eyes are repugnant. They are discriminatory in the sense that they demean and dehumanize people based on their sexual preference. That is something we must not do. Confused? Let me explain.
God created all of us to share in His very life…the Highest Life there is. Until we breathe our last breath in this world we are all…including myself…taking steps either towards that highest life or away from it. In other words, salvation and damnation. Heaven does not discriminate against the homosexual or the one who persecutes the homosexual. Neither does Hell. We’re all in this pilgrimage on Earth together. We are to treat each other with the respect and dignity that is due to us as human beings. The Catechism says:
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
Jesus came to show us not to hate others…He came to show us how to hate sin. SIN is the enemy, and it’s in all of us. The homosexual act just happens to be one of those sins because of its unnatural nature. It does not sync with the natural order. Neither does rape. Neither does pornography. Neither does murder. Neither does idolatry. Neither does adultery. Marriage is sacred…between a man and a woman. The two will become “One flesh”. Jesus didn’t mention a lot of sins we still to this day know are outright wrong…that doesn’t mean He accepts them. Yet when He did speak about the two becoming one flesh with His conversation with the Sadducees, He did mention that a man will cleave to his wife…He didn’t make it more broad than that, and this is God the Son talking. I would listen.
What makes homosexuality more appealing to the modernist mind these days is its sense of innocence and humility. I’ve known quite a few gay people as I previously stated and they for the most part are wonderful awesome people whom I’ve hung out with for years. They’re decent people. Some are even very active in their church or place of worship. I don’t know their personal lives like that but there’s a difference between having homosexual attractions and acting on them, just like there’s a difference between a heterosexual having opposite sex attractions and acting on them. It’s the same issue. There is a group called Courage, an organization who helps people with same sex attraction live fulfilling single lives without the guilt, without feeling they have to act out on their attractions…there is no compromise here. The Catechism states it.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
That’s the thing about sin, especially sins of the flesh…we are fed the lie that because I’m human I therefore must act out from time to time on my sexual needs. My body demands it, and my soul must submit to those demands by my simple choice to act on it. This is not the original design God created. Our souls and bodies were originally created to both be harmonious within the spiritual life of God. Both were made for immortality. Because of our sin, that harmony has been broken. Compromised. Before the Fall the body served the Soul. Now the soul caves in to the body’s wants. We’re broken people. We’re a broken creation but thank God for the Cross.
I won’t get into the details of what makes homosexual attractions happen in a person’s life. There are many books and papers out there that deal with that. Based on my life experiences, I can see something amiss. Some gay people not only live the lifestyle but display it in their appearance. Some men wear women’s clothes and make up. Some women wear men’s clothes and some even cut their hair…I see women couples where one of them looks like a man and the other one retains the feminine look. I see that a lot. I am actually fascinated by that dynamic. I know that’s not always the case with every same sex couple but it definitely is worth looking into regarding life development on a subjective and sociological basis.
Nonetheless it’s become accepted. Rainbow flags are everywhere. It’s all over the media and pop culture. It is real. It is here. Do I hate gay people? Absolutely not. I hate sin. I hate my own sin. I hate the sins of others, if God has truly revealed that same sex acts are sinful, then I will hate those too. That does not mean I will hate the same sex attracted person any more than I should hate myself for my own sins. God does not make junk. He loves all of us. Yet I will not fall for the world’s relativistic lies that this sin is not a sin…that God never said anything about it. I won’t compromise that.
I worked on a retreat once a while back and there was this one participant who was transparent about his homosexuality. He was still loved and accepted by our Grace House community. He was still quite young and searching. He pulled me to the side and asked me; “Should I still go to church even though I’m gay?” I told him how bad a sinner I was…that I wasn’t worthy of God’s love and Grace, yet God will love me. I asked him if I should stop going to church because of my own sins…he looked at me like I was crazy and said no. I put my hand on his shoulder, looked right into his eyes and told him…”Then neither should you stop going.”
I pray for you brother, that wherever you are, you are still going.
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