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Only God Can Judge Homosexuality #3 (Debate)

A Debate with Fred on Homosexuality

FRED:

We Christians want to avoid sin that offends God. We do not unilaterally harm God but we do wreck our love relationship with Him by sinning. Created in His loving image, we fail to live up to expectations. Without Jesus and His deal to make it all right, we would be planning our new residence in Hell. But we have taken Jesus as Savior and Lord and He keeps us in His Father’s loving will. As Lord, Jesus bases and defines ALL sin as lack of love (Matthew 22:36-40). Such obvious sins as theft, murder and adultery are unloving because each has a victim, someone not receiving love.

FATHER JOE:

Yes, sin is always a violation of love.

FRED:

Please tell me, who is the unloved victim in a homosexual relationship? Neither is a victim, neither is unloved. Where is the hurt? Who could bring suit against the “sinner”? What Gospel writer or Bible prophet claimed homosexuality is sinful? Jesus didn’t. These are not rhetorical questions; they are unanswered by those who refuse God’s grace and live by working the law.

FATHER JOE:

St. Paul’s words cannot be rationalized away. He was the great apostle who spoke about us as living in the freedom of grace that faith brings and not under the yoke of the law. However, he is also the one who exhorts against homosexual activity as a sin that can cost us eternal life. Are you saying that the epistles of St. Paul in the Bible are not God’s inspired Word? The teachings of Christ come through his words and actions and through the witness and message of the Apostles in his living Church.

Your questions are good ones and I will attempt to answer as best I can:

1. Who is the unloved victim in a homosexual relationship?

There are many victims, beginning with Christ who as the saving Lamb of God suffered and died under the weight of all the sins committed or ever to be committed. If we loved Jesus as we should, then we would make a better effort to live a virtuous life in keeping with the commandments. The Jews understood the commandments against sexual immorality as also referring to homosexual misconduct. It was for that reason that they enacted a dire punishment upon those caught. I must also add a corrective. Sometimes sin is not a matter of an “unloved victim” but rather of a person or persons who were not loved enough. True love requires discipline and sacrifice. When I prepare couples for marriage and discover that they are cohabitating and/or fornicating, their response is often that they love each other “too much” to wait. I would not deny that they love each other, but there is something of a lie about what they say and do. If they loved each other as true Christians should, then they should be willing to undergo any difficulty and sacrifice for the beloved. Thus they lie about the depth of their love. The second lie is their relationship, itself. The marital act is a loving act between a husband and wife. Between anyone else it is a fraud and cannot express what God intends for it to convey. Two homosexual men or two lesbian women might have incredible affection for each other. Because of their sexual disorder, this accompanies a passionate interest as well. But sometimes true love does not mean intimate embracing or being together. Sometimes it means walking away and distance. Sexual love is only permitted between spouses in marriage. Unmarried heterosexuals are not entitled to it. Marriage by definition is a covenant or contract between a man and a woman. There is no such thing as same sex-marriage. Thus, people of the same gender may never engage in sexual acts with one another. I know this sounds harsh, but I believe that homosexuality is viewed as an abomination by God. I see no way around the Scriptural testimony or the basic physical mechanics of human nature. Men and women’s parts fit together and they are made for each other. Homosexuality means trying to rewrite the manual, and the end result does not work very well. There is no potential for offspring and the bodies themselves are sometimes harmed. Love does not have to be sexual. If there is no possibility of reversal, I believe homosexuals are called to a generous and prayerful love in the context of the Church and for the larger community. But this love must be chaste and celibate.

2. Where is the hurt?

The hurt comes from a failure to love each other as God intends. One may not immediately become aware of the harm on a subjective level, but it is there. Just as kids who say they are in love take no note of the STD they transmit from one to the other; homosexual couples may only become aware over time of the emotional frustration inherent in feigning legitimate sexual intercourse. Further, there must be a spiritual effect, given that there is an objectively immoral relationship. As for Catholics, the Magisterium of the Church leaves no doubt that homosexual acts are always and everywhere disordered and wrong. The question might be better phrased as, “Who does it hurt?” I hear this all the time from young people who are sexually active. They learn all too soon that it hurts them and that there are serious consequences for sinful behavior. Casual relationships often break off; as for homosexuals, statistics show that the gay pick-up scene is more the rule than the exception. A husband and wife can truly express the two becoming one flesh. Gay sexual activity always leaves the partners somewhat estranged from each other. No matter how much they try, they are never one flesh. This makes infidelity all the easier. The manner by which they parrot the marital act is in itself somewhat abusive and an ugly caricature of the male-female dynamic.

3. Who could bring suit against the “sinner”?

Traditionally I suppose it was society that punished certain sins judged as criminal. The federal government forced the Mormons of Utah to give up plural marriage and up until recent times, sodomy and homosexual activity were illegal in most places. Indeed, cohabitation between men and women was punishable in some states, like Virginia. Many places were so concerned about it that after five years, the legality of common law marriages was imposed. The judgment that most matters, is that of almighty God. Anyone who contends that God would look the other way or favor homosexual unions is fighting two thousand years of tradition. Contemporary revisionism is on pretty shaky ground.

FRED:

It is noteworthy that Gay people employ themselves in loving professions like medicine, education and the ministry. However, some Christians evidently work in the Biblical judicial system.

FATHER JOE:

That is not fair! All Christians should seek to know the mind of God so that they might better please him. God revealed his truths to us for a reason, not so they may be ignored or rationalized away. Many Christian heterosexuals are also in the service ministries, but any denial of the objective moral order represents a false compassion. Homosexuals are urged to be chaste and celibate, not because we are busy-bodies or want to hurt them, but because we love them and want them to do what is right. It is in their interest to be holy and in a right relationship with God and his Church. This relationship has both a personal and a corporate component. We take St. Paul seriously when he says that certain types of conduct can cost us our place in the kingdom of heaven.

FRED:

Certainly if God didn’t want men to have sex with other men, He would have said “Man shall not lie with man PERIOD” (see Leviticus 18:22, 21:13). God wanted Moses to eradicate rampant idolatry in the Jewish nation. That whole “… as with a woman” thing condemns straight men pretending to make it with a woman, such as during idol worship. Paul explains it further when putting down the straight Romans (1:26-28) for “leaving their natural relations” (i.e., as with a woman) and having idolatrous sex with men. Gay men are attracted to other men by definition and by God. They can only imagine what sex “… as with a woman” would be like.

FATHER JOE:

There is some confusion in your words at this point. Fred, you are not being honest with yourself or us. God is abundantly and brutally clear. The issue with the Jews was a lot more complicated than idolatry. Jewish and Christian anthropology will not permit homosexuality. The verdict for such sins in the Old Testament was terrible, either God raining down fire from heaven upon two cities or the stoning to death of those who were exposed. Arguably the ancient Jews were more bloodthirsty than we would care to think about; but penalties aside, homosexuality was never tolerated.

Many in the pagan world (who worshipped false gods or idols) also tolerated homosexuality. We are not to be like the pagans, yesterday or today. Looking at the context that you note from Leviticus, we read:

“You shall not offer any of your offspring to be immolated to Molech, thus profaning the name of your God. I am the LORD. You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; such a thing is an abomination. You shall not have carnal relations with an animal, defiling yourself with it; nor shall a woman set herself in front of an animal to mate with it; such things are abhorrent” (Leviticus 18:21-23).

Goodness! The ancient Jews classified the evil of homosexuality as between child sacrifice to demons and sex with animals! Certain elements of the Levitical codes were based upon accidentals and custom. These prohibitions here represent a significant understanding of what makes up the substance of humanity: the sanctity life and value of children as opposed to the barren vulgarity of sodomy and zoophilia.

As for Romans, you are presumptuous in saying that “straight Romans” were condemned for homosexual sex. St. Paul is a Pharisee, he knows the Jewish law. The condemnation here is because some followed their inclination, their homosexual disorientation. By the way, bisexuals stand just as condemned by their conduct as others who violate the natural order and God’s will. Sexual disorientation is viewed by the Church as an effect of Original sin. God did not design men to be so orientated. They are wounded or broken.

Imagine, for a moment Fred that God is speaking to you through St. Paul (Romans 1:18-27):

“The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven against every impiety and wickedness of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness. For what can be known about God is evident to them, because God made it evident to them. Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. As a result, they have no excuse; for although they knew God they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks. Instead, they became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened. While claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for the likeness of an image of mortal man or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes. Therefore, God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts for the mutual degradation of their bodies. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 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.”

You are suppressing the truth for what you want to selfishly believe. You worship the creature, the folly of men before the wisdom of God. That which should be clear and evident is made foggy in your mind. Here is further Scriptural testimony (1 Timothy 5-11):

“The aim of this instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. Some people have deviated from these and turned to meaningless talk, wanting to be teachers of the law, but without understanding either what they are saying or what they assert with such assurance. 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.”

Jude 6-7 offers another witness on this matter:

“The angels too, who did not keep to their own domain but deserted their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains, in gloom, for the judgment of the great day. Likewise, Sodom, Gomorrah, and the surrounding towns, which, in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual promiscuity and practiced unnatural vice, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.”

FRED:

“Homosexual” was coined about 1865, so any Bible translation since then that uses a form of that word is a lie that needs to be emended. (The King James Version is honest.) It premiered in a1946 English Bible and continues to condemn loving Gays.

FATHER JOE:

Do you prefer the label sodomites? [Given that this biblical term is increasingly viewed as hurtful and offensive, I am weaning myself from using it.]  The word “Gay” is unfortunate. I have met very few happy homosexuals.

FRED:

What is the most love one can show another sinner? Offer them an eternity with God through the redemptive cross of Jesus. Instead of judging them, shouldn’t Christians be telling those “sinful” homosexuals that Jesus died for their sins? The stumbling block is that Gays do not want to affiliate with unloving and judgmental Christians. Know Jesus, know love. No Jesus, no love.

FATHER JOE:

What do you think the Church is trying to do? We want homosexuals to know divine forgiveness and salvation in Christ. However, this requires the admonishment: repent and believe! If we did not love them, we would keep our mouths closed and allow them to continue toward perdition. We speak out because we love and care. Unfortunately, certain homosexuals interpret this as hatred and being mean-spirited. Jesus is both the judge of the world and the lover of souls. He is Divine Justice and Divine Mercy, in person. You focus upon his mercy but neglect his justice. The problem is not that homosexuals “do not want to affiliate with unloving and judgmental Christians,” but rather, that they are resisting conversion and hard obedience, as well as those Christians who love them too much not to tell them the truth. Homosexual acts are wrong. God does not approve. Embrace purity and platonic friendships.

Discussion

TASTI:

Self-righteousness, however packaged, using scriptures to legislate your brand of religious morality against a group of people in a democratic society is simply reflective of the same kind of intolerance that goes back ages. Scriptures have been used to justify racism, hate and all kinds of acts against mankind in the name of God. Thankfully, there are those within the Catholic and Christian community who don’t share this same kind of narrow perspective. The fight for civil rights for the LGBT community will continue and will eventually win.

FATHER JOE:

Who is self-righteous? I quoted Scripture and the universal catechism. Your problem is not with me but with God and his Church. Apparently you have not read all my posts on this subject, because I believe that everyone, including homosexuals, should be treated with respect. I have friends who are gay. However, I disagree with the homosexual lifestyle. They disagree with me and I disagree with them. Why would you deny me the right in a democratic society to express my ideas, no matter how offensive you might find them? I advocate no violence or gross acts of discrimination. I believe in working within the system, yes, even though the legislation and judicial process might very well go the other way. I do not believe in policing bedrooms and neither do I believe in a totalitarianism that masquerades as democratic liberalism. As for Catholics who think differently, yes, some do, and that is their choice. However, as a priest and a Catholic Christian, I remain with the solid teaching of Christ and his Church and not with that of the contemporary dissenters. They base their views less upon the preaching of the Church than upon the views of MTV and a secular culture.

LARA:

At the risk of sounding like a simpleton, Father, this question has occurred to me: does our incessant insanity ever cause our Creator to weep?

STEVE:

“They are senseless, faithless, heartless, and ruthless. Although they know the just decree of God that all who practice such things deserve death, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” (Romans 1:26-32)

…to me this sounds like the self-appointed kings and queens I see braying continuously about the perceived evils in others.

Before swinging that bat so widely, let’s just purge the church of all the homosexuals.

Then let’s see how many guys are left standing there in their satins and velvets and embroidered hats.

FATHER JOE:

Most of the clergy I know and with whom I have worked are faithful to their celibacy. I would suspect they are also mostly heterosexuals, although a few bad eggs have given the Church pretty bad press. Pray that priests and bishops will be faithful to God, loving and protecting their flocks. By the way, even REAL MEN can wear the fancy uniforms. Peace!

GRAHAM:

Make no mistake about it: practicing homosexuality is a sin that will send people to hell; but, let’s not forget adultery, fornication, lying (white lies included), hatred, malice, envy and so forth. Read the 17 works of the flesh by Paul.

However, I do believe there are those individuals who are truly born with a desire for their own sex; it is a curse brought down through the generations— and it is an abnormality. God said He would visit the sins of the fathers from 3-4 generations ago upon the children.

(Exodus 20:5) “… for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.”

In conclusion, the desire for your own sex, in and of itself, is not sin, just temptation. If, however, that desire is put into practice, you have sinned.

Love the Lord your God and He will make your ways straight (no pun intended).
(Exodus 20:6) “And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”

FRACTAL:

Love is good, God is Love. Liberty is good, too.

RENEGADE ICONOCLAST:

Mat. 7:1-5 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

  • speck: ‘sin’ between consenting adults
  • plank: pedophiles running around in the Church

FATHER JOE:

You would quote Scripture to get me to stop quoting Scripture? Pleeease! As for your “speck” and “plank” distinction, it is misapplied. Serious sins are all planks: fornication, homosexuality, as well as pederasty and pedophilia— all planks that need removal if blindness is not to become permanent. Mortal sin is mortal sin, although I would grant you that the sin between a man and woman is “according to nature” and the others are “opposed or in contradiction to nature.”

MORSE:

“…and begin to impose that lifestyle on me, my children and those who have not chosen such a life,” this makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

No one is imposing anything on you. No one is forcing you or your children to be gay. We’re just trying to keep people not unlike yourself from imposing your lifestyle on others.

Here’s a nice metaphor: if you’re hitting someone with a stick, and I take the stick away, I’m not imposing on your rights. I’m protecting the right of the person you’re hitting.

JOHN:

Homosexuality is definitely wrong and serious sin. Yet that does not mean that they cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. They can repent and become chaste in their lives and receive the sacraments if they free themselves from this sin. Yes it is hard to reason with homosexuals, abortionists and atheists that get ugly and turn their heads from logic. I personally thought I could change them but it is not me, it is God that does the changing.

This discussion will continue in another post.