Jan 25, 2007

Does "anti-gay-marriage" = "anti-gay"?

In the gay marriage debate, one side emphasizes ‘gay’, the other ‘marriage’; and we end up talking past each other. Last May 22, Allen Young, coordinator of the North Quabbin Region Diversity Awareness Group, was given the opportunity to explain why same sex marriage would be a good thing, in the Worcester Telegram's "As I see it" editorial page. He did not; instead he explained how bad people are who disagree with him, calling those who seek civil debate on marriage many names, including; ‘anti-gay’, against civil rights, and discriminatory. Concerning the Bible, Young further inflamed the situation by grouping those maintaining the traditional definition of marriage with the same people who justified “slavery, child labor, women as property and archaic rules about food, clothing and sexuality.”
Mr. Young’s errors, "sloppy eisigisis" really, concerning "a narrow interpretation of ancient scripture" require correction, since he is the one with the narrow interpretation. The Slavery in America until the Civil War is known as Man-Stealing and was expressly forbidden by the Bible (Ex21:16). The slavery of indentured servitude was tolerated by the Israelites, but with provisions to temper it, such as freeing the indentured slaves after 7 years (Lv25) – a thoroughly progressive view compared to the surrounding barbarians. Women were also valued, which is why in ancient Israel the dowry was paid for the women, not by the women as in the pagan world, and the marriage was not an exchange of goods or property, but a covenantal exchange of persons. Those "archaic rules about food" were actually changed for Christians by Jesus himself (Mk7:19), not "as the result of improved information and technology" as Young mistakenly asserted.
Jesus also taught on sexuality, not archaically but clearly; that the two, male and female, become one flesh in marriage (Mt19). Without clear Religious Liberty exemptions, the State will have to punish opposition to same-sex marriage as if it were racist. If the Massachusetts SJC’s declaration that same-sex marriage is a civil right stands, then there can be no Religious Liberty exemptions to it. It's already started with Catholic Charities in Boston and same-sex couple adoption. It will continue.

104 comments :

Susan said...

As Paul Melanson noted at La Salette Journey, "Strictly speaking, we possess only contingent rights (those afforded us by God) and not intrinsic rights. Only God possesses intrinsic rights. Therefore, we are bound to avoid anything which opposes His Holy Will."

While it is true that everyone is equal in the eyes of the law, such equality is juridical and not biological. This equality does not (and cannot) eliminate the anatomical and psychological differences between the sexes.And it is these very differences which create the conditions for marriage and which constitute its natural foundation.

The conjugal act is intrinsically related to marriage, and nature requires two individuals from opposite sexes for its performance. This natural requirement is lacking in two people of the same sex who wish to marry. Therefore, the principle of equality under the law does not apply.

Same sex "marriage" opposes nature. Although homosexual persons possess rights (like everyone else) which flow from their rational human nature, these rights are contingent. No one has a right to commit sin.

JayG said...

Well put Susan.
Complementary sex marriage partners just fit together better, and they have for the most part good influences on each other, and whether they intend to or not, they very often produce and rear children - over 6 Billion so far.

Jonathan said...

JayG,

Your second comment answers the question doesn't it? If you agree with susan that a lifelong covenant between same-sex partners is mere sin, then your position is anti-gay by definition. It certainly isn't pro-gay, is it?

JayG said...

Jonathan,
If you refuse to separate the act of gay sex from the gay person, in effect defining the gay person by the act, then if you insist on that, then I would concede by that definition then I am anti-gay. However, I do not think that way, judging a person by a particular behavior they engage in, and I'm not sure that you realize that you are doing that by your question. Besides, most people have a life-long covenantal relationship with their mothers, but that is not marriage either, nor should we redefine it to be marriage.

Susan said...

Jonathan wrote, "JayG,

Your second comment answers the question doesn't it? If you agree with susan that a lifelong covenant between same-sex partners is mere sin, then your position is anti-gay by definition. It certainly isn't pro-gay, is it?"

Using Jonathan's own logic, it must follow that he is anti-Catholic then. For homosexuality has been condemned by the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and by the Popes for 2,000 years.

Jonathan refers to homosexuality as "mere sin." No sin, all of which constitutes an offense before God, should be labelled "mere sin." But the sin of homosexuality, according to St. Peter Damian (a Doctor of the Church), "should not be considered an ordinary vice, for it surpasses all of them in enormity." (The Book of Gomorrah).

Susan said...

Perhaps your readers would like to know a little more about Mr. Allen Young, whose editorial you have so eloquently critiqued.

Mr. Young served as Editor of a book entitled "Lavender Culture" and published by New York University Press. This work is a compilation of essays by such activists, authors, and artists as Rita Mae Brown, Barbara Grier, John Stoltenberg, Julia Penelope, Andrea Dworkin, Andrew Kopkind, Jane Rule, Arthur Bell and Charlotte Bunche.

It covers such diverse subjects as "gay" bath houses, lesbian humor, the "gay" male image in classical ballet and Judy Garland.

Small wonder then that his op-ed piece was so biased.

Jonathan said...

And if you drive or cook or shop or work between sunset Friday and sunset Saturday, you must be anti-Jewish because G-d commanded his people to "honor the sabbath and keep it holy". Now don't you think you are being just a bit silly Susan?

I posted on the DTF blog because JayG really didn't answer his own question. With your help, he did. Your anti-Catholic analogy however doesn't hold water. A position that a person may not attend Catholic church, or pray the rosary is anti-Catholic. A position that a non-Catholic doesn't have to abide by Catholic dogma is neutral. In the same vein, a position that a heterosexual person doesn't have to marry someone of the same sex is neutral. A position that a gay person may not marry someone of the same sex is anti-gay.

I'm not making a judgement or saying that there is anything wrong with being anti-gay. This entire discussion is definitional. I do get the feeling that you and Susan feel guilty about taking an anti-gay position. Why is that? Do you perhaps feel that anti-gay is wrong?

Richard said...

Johnathan,

Rights belong to human beings. If I recall correctly, since man existed, his intelligence has comprehended that the human being was created male and female. These are the two kinds of persons that make up the human race.

Is this correct?

William said...

"..if you drive or cook or shop or work between sunset Friday and sunset Saturday, you must be anti-Jewish because G-d commanded his people to "honor the sabbath and keep it holy"

What in hell is Jonathan talking about? Does he even know?

And what does he mean by this gem: "If you agree with susan that a lifelong covenant between same-sex partners is mere sin, then your position is anti-gay by definition."

That statement is also non-sensical.

William said...

Since Jonathan equates Catholic teaching on homosexuality with being anti-Gay, he is obviously an anti-Catholic.

Jonathan said...

William and others,

If you would like to continue this discussion, please do not get abusive.

Yes, I do know what I'm talking about. I practiced Orthodox Jewdaism earlier in my life, and observed the Sabbath in all its grandeur. Some day, perhaps when my family is no longer attacked daily by by anti-gay "defenders of faith", I'll return to that holy lifestyle. While my community abided by G-d's Sabbath commandment, all around me, non-believers did not practice the sabbath.

We did not classify non-Sabbath-practicing people anti-Jewish. Only a fanatic would do so. By the same logic, only a fanatic would classify me anti-Catholic because I don't abide by Catholic teaching.

Jonathan said...

Please excuse spelling mistake. Judiasm. This is typical Jonathan (not Johnathan) editing inline and not proofreading.

Susan said...

Jonathan, I find your posts to be rather abusive. Jesus said, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27. And yet, you sarcastically wrote, "..if you drive or cook or shop or work between sunset Friday and sunset Saturday, you must be anti-Jewish because G-d commanded his people to "honor the sabbath and keep it holy". Now don't you think you are being just a bit silly Susan?"

If you knew anything about Catholic teaching or were familiar with the Gospels, you would know that not all work inhibits the worship of God or the rest which human beings need in order to renew themselves. And you would know that there are some types of work which are permitted on Sundays and holy days. This is why Jesus said, ""The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath"

Jay brought up a point which you are studiously refusing to consider. He wrote, "If you refuse to separate the act of gay sex from the gay person, in effect defining the gay person by the act, then if you insist on that, then I would concede by that definition that I am anti-gay. However, I do not think that way, judging a person by a particular behavior they engage in, and I'm not sure that you realize that you are doing that by your question."

Jonathan, you are implying that Catholic teaching regarding homosexual persons is "anti-Gay." And nothing could be further from the truth. And, by implying this, you are engaging in a form of anti-Catholicism. This by misrepresenting the mind of the Church.

If you had any knowledge whatsoever regarding Catholic moral teaching, you would know that the Church teaches that, "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." (No. 2358).

At the same time, the Catechism teaches that, "Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that 'homosexual ACTS are intrinsically disordered.' 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." (No. 2357).

By accusing Jay of being "anti-Gay" simply because he accepts the moral teaching of the Church regarding homosexual ACTS, you are also implying that the teaching of the Church is "anti-Gay." And this represents an anti-Catholic attitude.

Please refrain from portraying the Church's teaching as being somehow "anti-Gay." Such an attitude is, at best, childish. And at worse, gravely sinful.

William said...

Right Susan. Jonathan wrote: "A position that a gay person may not marry someone of the same sex is anti-gay."

Since he believes this, the burden is on him to demonstrate how our deeply-held Catholic Tradition is "anti-gay" because it insists on following God's Commandments and His Eternal Law.

This burden is even greater now that you have shared the teaching of the Catechism with him. This teaching, far from being "anti-gay," calls for respect and compassion even while insisting that homosexual acts are "intrinsically disordered."

Jerry said...

I tend to agree with Jonathan that this discussion so far is largely definitional. Seems to me that the topic can be approached from many different directions...

Moral considerations are often tied to religious beliefs. If Jonathan is not a practicing Catholic, then, it will be futile to argue with him from the position of Catholic doctrine.

There are the socio-political ramifications to be considered as well, which may well tie in to common law principles, as well as some non-controversial moral and ethical values.

There are even some scientific studies to be considered, if that may shed some light.

It may be well to spend some time trying to agree upon an approach to further discussion.

On that note, and speaking of definitional, i would like to throw this at you all: What objective definition ought to apply to the word "marriage", and why?

Susan said...

Any topic may be "approached from many different directions..." But Catholics who are faithful to the Church will always approach a question in the light of God's Revealed Truth which is interpreted by the Magisterium of the Church.

Jonathan is implying that Catholic teaching is "anti-Gay" simply because it doesn't endorse same-sex "marriage" and because it insists (remaining faithful to God's Holy Word) that homosexual acts are "intrinsically disordered."

What could be more "objective" than holding up our views to the light of Church teaching? Or are we purporting to be "wiser than God"?

William said...

How can we say that we are being "objective" if we don't consider God's Word? I think by "objective" Jerry means approaching the question without any reference to God's Word.

But is such an approach really "objective"? I submit that it is not.

Richard said...

Jerry says----definitial. Right. We have to get this whole question of "gay" clearly defined.

Who wants to take this challenge?

Susan said...

Jerry says, "I tend to agree with Jonathan that this discussion so far is largely definitional."

If this is the case, then why has Jonathan accused Jay (and by extension the Church's teaching since this is all Jay is putting forward) of being "anti-Gay"?

This has the ring not of objectivity but of an accusation.

And while we're at it, let's define our terms with precision, something which Richard is calling for. In my view, the use of the word "gay" to define homosexual persons would seem to indicate a capitulation to a certain agenda.

Is the homosexual "lifestyle" really one of happiness? All the evidence would appear to suggest otherwise.

And if the Word of God and Magisterial Teaching is true - as I believe them to be - can a person be truly "happy" when opposing the Will of God?

Susan said...

The idea that "same-sex marriage" is a civil rights issue which has nothing to do with morality is patently false.

This is tantamount to affirming that civil rights have nothing to do with morality, which is not true. While many today disassociate the expression "civil rights" from morality, the fact is that there can be no "civil rights" without a moral foundation.

Morality is broader than and undergirds the law. Law needs to be justified in morality. Laws that are not founded on morality have no purpose, since laws exist for the good order of society. In his famous treatise on natural law, Fr. Taparelli D'Azeglio affirms that:

"The moral order is the basis for society, because every duty is grounded in a moral order that results from the natural order. Now, order is the natural rule for the intellect. In the intellect, order is simply truth, and insofar as it compels the will, order is goodness." (Essai Theorique de Droit Naturel, Paris: Vve. H. Casterman, 1875), Vol. 1, p. 142.

Jerry said...

Perhaps i didn't articulate my thoughts clearly. Let me try to clarify...

In the original post, Jay correctly observes that "In the gay marriage debate, one side emphasizes ‘gay’, the other ‘marriage’; and we end up talking past each other.

I never said that objectivity meant disregarding Scripture or Church teaching, as has been charged. But you have, in the person of Jonathan, someone who is outside the fold. If you insist upon talking from the standpoint of Catholic orthodoxy, you'll be talking past him.

We may very well pray for those who lack the solid truth of the Catholic Faith, and do our best to speak the truth "in season and out of season" as today's feast reminds us. (2 Tim 4:2 RSV) Arguing moral teachings that the outsider just doesn't believe in is not, in my opinion, the way to do that. Keep first things first. Remember that "God desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of truth" (1 Tim 2:4) To fellow Catholics, we may certainly expect adherence to magisterial teaching. To others, we must try to speak to them wherever they might be (1 Cor. 9:19-22)

In the meantime, issues such as same-sex marriage contain elements that can be discussed intelligently with those who do not share the same religious beliefs.

Jerry said...

Oops! I've been living in the past. Yesterday was the feast of Timothy and Titus, not today.

Jonathan said...

Susan,

To begin with, I am not a Catholic. I am a non-practicing Jew. It would not be productive to ask me to view this discussion as if I were a Catholic, or to accept Catholic teachings. In the past, the Church tried to convert Jews and I think you know the history. I hope you can appreciate my sensitivity. If we can't approach this in a secular manner, the discussion is over.

I attempted to explain the flaw in your analysis. You said:

"Using Jonathan's own logic, it must follow that he is anti-Catholic then. For homosexuality has been condemned by the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and by the Popes for 2,000 years."

By that same logic, a non-Jew who doesn't adhere to the Jewish rules of Sabbath worship is "anti-Jewish". You didn't buy that argument and you explained that there are Catholic rules for keeping the Sabbath. Great! There are non-Catholic faiths (and Catholic faith communities too ;)) that have different teachings about sexual morality. These faiths are not "anti-Catholic", they are just different. These faiths do not feel that a same-sex orientation is "disordered". They believe that gay is just as good as straight. If we call these faiths pro-gay, then a faith that upholds the "disordered" belief is anti-gay. Again, I did not make a value judgement. Can you help me understand why you feel that being anti-gay is bad?

I did not reply to JayG's comment:

"...and I'm not sure that you realize that you are doing that by your question."

because I didn't understand it, and I think that's because JayG read something into my first comment that I did not say. If you or Jay can rephrase his point, I'll try to address it.

John Hosty said...

"No one has a right to commit sin." ~Susan

Sin is a religous idea and not law. Many laws are based on premisses set in ancient religions, but the laws survive into modern day because of the common value the idea has for all people. Murder is a great example. Murder is one of the Ten Commanments, but it is also a major felony in any state. The value to all people is obvious, even to those who do not believe in God. We no longer follow this as God's law, but rather the collective will of the people of this country. We the people have entered into a mutually binding agreement, and we have set forth many laws that we all agree to live by. Our founders were clear in stating and practicing the seperation of church and state. "The United States is by no means founded upon the Christian Doctrine." ~George Washington 1790

I think that many people get confused at this point and geniunely believe that the authurity of our government is derived by God. We the people have formed this government, and its laws are derived by our mutual consent to follow them. This is why it is so important to have a logical rather than religious reason behind every law. Not all people believe God exists, and of those that do, not all people agree what He wants of us. In that same line of logic, not all people believe that the Bible is the word of God.

Our right as Americans frees us from the tyranny of being forced to live by someone else's beliefs. Equality should not be dependent upon what you believe, not in this country. Those who do not believe in God at all are deserving of their equal rights, and if we are to deny someone equality we should be able to give them a logical, factual reason for denying them that is not based in an opposing religious doctrine.

I am a Catholic, struggling to understand what God wants of me. One of my beliefs is that God calls me to reach out and love my fellow man in spite of his refusal to love me in return. I have not wronged anyone, and I doubt my neighbors even know my name, let alone my sexuality, so I doubt that my marriage will cause any type of effect to them.

It is my understanding that many of the passages that have been cited in the Bible are incorrectly transcribed over the many years where it needed to be translated by hand. I am no expert on Biblical translation, and I doubt anyone blogging here is. The dilema of truth will continue ad infinitum.

The heart of issue I bring to the discussion is this; are there any circumstances in which I may live by my own beliefs and not be harrassed by my neighbors? What can I do to ease your suffering so you will stop seeing me as an enemy? I believe our call to be brothers and sisters is more important than all other charges we were given, and that was Christ's most important message. We are to use peace and love to spread His word, We are not called to exclude who we do not like.

I cited Romans 14 before, please read it in its entirety, and perhaps we can have a discusion on that too as well as gay equality.

JayG said...

What I was saying is, that if by your definition Jonathan, being against gay sex is anti-gay, then by definition the Church, and the Bible, are anti-gay. But if that is your standard, then by implication it could be argued that being against Catholic moral teaching (as defined in the catechism and other Church teaching documents, not by individuals who disagree with these teachings) would make that person anti-Catholic. You've attempted to create a situation where if I am against a certain behavior that you do, I am against you, but if I support your right to engage in that behavior, I am pro you. You have defined gayness as engaging in gay sex, I have attempted to separate the behavior from the person.

Objectively, I'd argue that even if you support my right to engage in Catholic Church worship, believe Catholic teachings etc, that does not really make you Pro-Catholic. Likewise, if you believe that I am mistaken in my Catholic beliefs, that does not make you Anti-Catholic. I think that is what you have done with your anti-gay argument – either we are Pro-gay or Anti-gay. I say we can still respect the person, though disagree strongly with specific behaviors that we see as objectively disordered. I think we have to argue on the points of whether the behavior is objectively disordered or not (“that gay is just as good as straight” as you put it). Using the term Anti-gay actually seems to be an attempt to avoid the serious, objective discussion, as would using the term Anti-Catholic. While I appreciate William and Susan's use of “objective” as God's view, I think Jerry is right in that this approach would not be accepted by Jonathan, and that the discussion may need to stay towards the idea of the Natural Moral Law instead of towards divine revelation.

The Bishop of Worcester recently gave an interview where he explained that the Natural Moral Law is the common ground for this type of discussion.
http://www.tfp.org/TFPForum/catholic
_perspective/moral_law.htm

Susan said...

Actually Jay, what I wrote was this:


"The idea that "same-sex marriage" is a civil rights issue which has nothing to do with morality is patently false.

This is tantamount to affirming that civil rights have nothing to do with morality, which is not true. While many today disassociate the expression "civil rights" from morality, the fact is that there can be no "civil rights" without a moral foundation.

Morality is broader than and undergirds the law. Law needs to be justified in morality. Laws that are not founded on morality have no purpose, since laws exist for the good order of society. In his famous treatise on natural law, Fr. Taparelli D'Azeglio affirms that:

"The moral order is the basis for society, because every duty is grounded in a moral order that results from the natural order. Now, order is the natural rule for the intellect. In the intellect, order is simply truth, and insofar as it compels the will, order is goodness." (Essai Theorique de Droit Naturel, Paris: Vve. H. Casterman, 1875), Vol. 1, p. 142."

Since the trend of this forum is to tackle these issues without any regard to God's Eternal Law or the natural law, I won't bother you with my comments anymore.

Obviously atheists are more welcome here than Catholics who adhere to both the Eternal Law and Natural Law.

Good luck to you.

JayG said...

I agree with you Susan, and did not mean to imply that you are not welcome here. This was only a discussion of tactics, not a reflection on your well written comments.

William said...

I disagree with Jay's comment that, "Using the term Anti-gay actually seems to be an attempt to avoid the serious, objective discussion, as would using the term Anti-Catholic."

Jonathan has implied that Catholic moral teaching is "anti-gay." This represents an anti-Catholic attitude since the Church has consistently called for respect and compassion toward homosexual persons.

I realize that Jay wants to come across as objective and fair-minded. But let's call a spade a spade. The Catholic League wouldn't hesitate to call Jonathan's posts anti-Catholic since he misrepresents the Church's attitude with a view toward promoting a homosexual agenda.

Why should we? If this discussion were only "definitional," Jonathan would not have employed the term "anti-gay" to describe those who oppose same-sex "marriage" based upon both Divine Revelation and the Natural Law.

Richard said...

Susan your presentations are excellent and filled with the truth. And truth in its fullness is found solely in the Catholic Church, period. This is what you have been proclaiming all along.

This is a fact that all Catholics must not hesitate to adhere to and proclaim loud and clear. We must not compromise this in any way.

The notion that Catholics must somehow pharse things so as not to be offense or come across as being tolerant and open-minded is a very perilous road to travel.

What is being discussed here is not "gayness" but "homosexuality" lived.

The Church is against homosexuality. The Church is against homosexuals. Therefore the Church is anti=against homosexuals or as they prefer to call themselves---"gay". And if we are true disciples of the Church=Christ, then we are anti=against homosexuals and the activity or life style in which they engage. Debating the issue is a waste of time.

However, to debate what the SJC of MA has done is open to debate.

JayG said...

John,
If Susan and William were arguing past Jonathan by invoking divine revelation and using the definition of God's view as the objective, then you are doing the same by claiming that sin is not law. When you use Lockean terms like “mutually binding agreement” you are by definition saying that our rights, under the Social Contract, are man-made, which of course Susan disagrees with, because she knows that man-made rights are not inalienable. For the sake of this discussion, we should do what Jerry suggested and stay within the framework of the Natural Moral Law, though I can't resist asking you a side question; if the value of the mutually binding agreement is so obvious to all modern people, then why are there so many wars, and so much political-based famine in the world, and so much strife and the denial of basic human rights? You have to go back hundreds of years to find examples of anyone in the Church forcing the conversion of non-Christians, but you only need to look to recent history to see the 100s of millions of deaths wrought by pagan Nazi and atheistic Communistic governments. Your Lockean social contract has never withstood the onslaught of original sin.

You ask if there are any circumstances in which you may live by your own beliefs and not be harassed by your neighbors? Yes, as long as the expression of your rights does not interfere with the rights of others, and your definition of harassment is a valid definition, not just an expression of your feelings. We are arguing that your re-definition of marriage has undermined all of our rights to a stable civilization. If that hurts your feelings or offends your sensibilities, that is not harassment.

John Ansley said...

Indeed Jay is correct. If the moral law were not inscribed in human nature and present in man's conscience, the dictates of positive law would not resonate in his soul. No relation would exist between laws and man's innermost being. Laws would be purely external impositions, only to be obeyed because of the State's coercive power.

Thus, laws opposing man's rational nature would be totally arbitrary, since they would reflect the whims and fancies of awmakers. This would not be true law, and it would not be binding in conscience.

Furthermore, law based exclusivelyon human volition carries no moral authority over man, since, from a natural point of view, the will of one man is as good as that of another. No man's will is naturally superior to his fellowman's will. Therefore, this volitional law would also not be binding on man's conscience.

For a law to bind man's conscience, its deepest roots and ultimate guarantee must be found in a Supreme Legislator, whose Will is naturally superior to human will. This superior Will must belong to God because His alone is superior to al other wills. This Supreme Will is expressed both in positive laws, i.e., laws established by God and contained in Revelation, and in natural law, as expressed throughout Creation.

John Ansley said...

The above comment should read "whims and fancies of lawmakers."

Remember, it's early folks.

John Ansley said...

"The alleged conflict between freedom and law is forcefully brought up once again today with regard to the natural law, and particularly with regard to nature. Debates about nature and freedom have always marked the history of moral reflection; they grew especially heated at the time of the Renaissance and the Reformation, as can be seen from the teaching of the Council of Trent. Our own age is marked, though in a different sense, by a similar tension. The penchant for empirical observation, the procedures of scientific objectification, technological progress and certain forms of liberalism have led to these two terms being set in opposition, as if a dialectic, if not an absolute conflict, between freedom and nature were characteristic of the structure of human history. At other periods, it seemed that "nature" subjected man totally to its own dynamics and even its own unbreakable laws. Today too, the situation of the world of the senses within space and time, physio-chemical constants, bodily processes, psychological impulses and forms of social conditioning seem to many people the only really decisive factors of human reality. In this context even moral facts, despite their specificity, are frequently treated as if they were statistically verifiable data, patterns of behaviour which can be subject to observation or explained exclusively in categories of psychosocial processes. As a result, some ethicists, professionally engaged in the study of human realities and behaviour, can be tempted to take as the standard for their discipline and even for its operative norms the results of a statistical study of concrete human behaviour patterns and the opinions about morality encountered in the majority of people.

Other moralists, however, in their concern to stress the importance of values, remain sensitive to the dignity of freedom, but they frequently conceive of freedom as somehow in opposition to or in conflict with material and biological nature, over which it must progressively assert itself. Here various approaches are at one in overlooking the created dimension of nature and in misunderstanding its integrity. For some, "nature" becomes reduced to raw material for human activity and for its power: thus nature needs to be profoundly transformed, and indeed overcome by freedom, inasmuch as it represents a limitation and denial of freedom. For others, it is in the untrammelled advancement of man's power, or of his freedom, that economic, cultural, social and even moral values are established: nature would thus come to mean everything found in man and the world apart from freedom. In such an understanding, nature would include in the first place the human body, its make-up and its processes: against this physical datum would be opposed whatever is "constructed", in other words "culture", seen as the product and result of freedom. Human nature, understood in this way, could be reduced to and treated as a readily available biological or social material. This ultimately means making freedom selfdefining and a phenomenon creative of itself and its values. Indeed, when all is said and done man would not even have a nature; he would be his own personal life-project. Man would be nothing more than his own freedom!

In this context, objections of physicalism and naturalism have been levelled against the traditional conception of the natural law, which is accused of presenting as moral laws what are in themselves mere biological laws. Consequently, in too superficial a way, a permanent and unchanging character would be attributed to certain kinds of human behaviour, and, on the basis of this, an attempt would be made to formulate universally valid moral norms. According to certain theologians, this kind of "biologistic or naturalistic argumentation" would even be present in certain documents of the Church's Magisterium, particularly those dealing with the area of sexual and conjugal ethics. It was, they maintain, on the basis of a naturalistic understanding of the sexual act that contraception, direct sterilization, autoeroticism, pre-marital sexual relations, homosexual relations and artificial insemination were condemned as morally unacceptable. In the opinion of these same theologians, a morally negative evaluation of such acts fails to take into adequate consideration both man's character as a rational and free being and the cultural conditioning of all moral norms. In their view, man, as a rational being, not only can but actually must freely determine the meaning of his behaviour. This process of "determining the meaning" would obviously have to take into account the many limitations of the human being, as existing in a body and in history. Furthermore, it would have to take into consideration the behavioural models and the meanings which the latter acquire in any given culture. Above all, it would have to respect the fundamental commandment of love of God and neighbour. Still, they continue, God made man as a rationally free being; he left him "in the power of his own counsel" and he expects him to shape his life in a personal and rational way. Love of neighbour would mean above all and even exclusively respect for his freedom to make his own decisions. The workings of typically human behaviour, as well as the so-called "natural inclinations", would establish at the most — so they say — a general orientation towards correct behaviour, but they cannot determine the moral assessment of individual human acts, so complex from the viewpoint of situations.

Faced with this theory, one has to consider carefully the correct relationship existing between freedom and human nature, and in particular the place of the human body in questions of natural law.

A freedom which claims to be absolute ends up treating the human body as a raw datum, devoid of any meaning and moral values until freedom has shaped it in accordance with its design. Consequently, human nature and the body appear as presuppositions or preambles, materially necessary for freedom to make its choice, yet extrinsic to the person, the subject and the human act. Their functions would not be able to constitute reference points for moral decisions, because the finalities of these inclinations would be merely "physical" goods, called by some "pre-moral". To refer to them, in order to find in them rational indications with regard to the order of morality, would be to expose oneself to the accusation of physicalism or biologism. In this way of thinking, the tension between freedom and a nature conceived of in a reductive way is resolved by a division within man himself.

This moral theory does not correspond to the truth about man and his freedom. It contradicts the Church's teachings on the unity of the human person, whose rational soul is per se et essentialiter the form of his body.86 The spiritual and immortal soul is the principle of unity of the human being, whereby it exists as a whole — corpore et anima unus — as a person. These definitions not only point out that the body, which has been promised the resurrection, will also share in glory. They also remind us that reason and free will are linked with all the bodily and sense faculties. The person, including the body, is completely entrusted to himself, and it is in the unity of body and soul that the person is the subject of his own moral acts. The person, by the light of reason and the support of virtue, discovers in the body the anticipatory signs, the expression and the promise of the gift of self, in conformity with the wise plan of the Creator. It is in the light of the dignity of the human person — a dignity which must be affirmed for its own sake — that reason grasps the specific moral value of certain goods towards which the person is naturally inclined. And since the human person cannot be reduced to a freedom which is self-designing, but entails a particular spiritual and bodily structure, the primordial moral requirement of loving and respecting the person as an end and never as a mere means also implies, by its very nature, respect for certain fundamental goods, without which one would fall into relativism and arbitrariness." (Veritatis Splendor, Nos 46-48).

Marie Tremblay said...

Susan raised a valid point. Jonathan's statement that, "If we can't approach this in a secular manner, the discussion is over," is both childish and unreasonable. Much akin to the little boy who tells his playmates, "If we don't play my game, I'm taking my ball home."

If we agree to Jonathan's demand, then we may not have recourse to either God's Eternal Law or the Natural Law (which has God as its Author). If we accede to Jonathan's demand, then we must debate this question within the framework of his atheistic or naturalistic philosophy or philosophies.

Jay raised an excellent point, one that the Bishop of Worcester also made, and it is this: both sides may find common ground in this debate within the context of the Natural Law. But apparently this is unacceptable to Jonathan. And this is why he writes, "If we can't approach this in a secular manner, the discussion is over."

This is my impression at any rate. Does Jonathan mean to exclude the Natural Law when he insists upon this debate being approached "in a secular manner"?

William said...

John Hosty wrote: "Our founders were clear in stating and practicing the seperation of church and state. "The United States is by no means founded upon the Christian Doctrine." ~George Washington 1790"

This is certainly true. However, we must not equate "separation of church and state" with separation of state from religious principles. This was not the mind of the founding fathers.

The founding fathers were guarding against both a state-controlled church and any particular church governing all the actions of the state. However, they did not intend a separation of state from religious principles or the Supreme Author of all good. It was George Washington who said: "While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion...The signal instances of Providential goodness which we have experienced and which have now almost crowned our labors with complete success demand from us in a peculiar manner the warmest returns of gratitude and piety to the Supreme Author of all good." (May 2, 1778, orders issued to his troops at Valley Forge, Mount Vernon, VAL Archives of Mount Vernon).

Nice try John. Back to the drawing board.

John Hosty said...

"You ask if there are any circumstances in which you may live by your own beliefs and not be harassed by your neighbors? Yes, as long as the expression of your rights does not interfere with the rights of others, and your definition of harassment is a valid definition, not just an expression of your feelings."

Please state your terms.

William, here is another quote from George Washington, "As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality.”

I don't follow the same beliefs as some of you here, and I have stated why that's true. I do not want you to feel like you have to worry about me being a threat to you, and I don't know how to help you with this. Please work with me here, and tell me what you are afraid I will do, so I can at least tell you if you fears are founded in truth or not.

I am not above accommodating a reasonable request, so long as the need and the wisdom of it is solidly based in truth, not speculation. Peace be with you all first and foremost as we try together to tackle this tough issue.

Jerry said...

John -

I can't speak for anyone else, but the terms that i would find acceptable would be a socio-political policy that either repealed anti-sodomy laws or left them unenforced, as matter of private acts between consenting adults.

I would draw the line at such practices as juvenile solicitation, public indecency, and such.

Personal contracts could be drawn up in any way agreeable to the signing parties, which could allow for inheritance and property transferral, etc., without automatic state-mandated legal rights being accorded to non-married couples. That is, marriage rightly upheld as a foundational relationship with all the rights and responsibilities automatically pertaining, while still allowing non-heterosexual couples to voluntarily enter into their own self-defined legally binding contracts as they would independently choose to do.

I would still, of course, consider unmarried sexual relationships as sinful and injurious. But my Catholic Faith would not prevent me from seeing the limitations imposed by a secular and pluralistic society. Thus i would find the above terms pragmatically acceptable.

William said...

Jerry wrote, "I can't speak for anyone else, but the terms that i would find acceptable would be a socio-political policy that either repealed anti-sodomy laws or left them unenforced, as matter of private acts between consenting adults.

I would draw the line at such practices as juvenile solicitation, public indecency, and such."

Perhaps that is where YOU would draw the line. But in a society governed by merely human consensus as opposed to the Natural Law, the notion of sanctifying homosexual unions by demanding that they be either monogamous or between consenting adults would soon enough go the way of limiting abortions to the first trimester. Furthermore, the push for pedophilia is now the "extreme" which will push homosexuality out of the spotlight of public debate and into full normality. That pedophilia is even being debated, taher than simply rejected as unimaginably vile, means that it is likely the next item of sexual liberation due for normalization.

If laws are enacted simply by majority consensus, rather than within the framework of the Natural Law, then "anything goes": pedophilia, bestiality, even homicide.

John, you brought up George Washington and the founding fathers, I didn't. And the founding fathers were deeply religious men even if they didn't hold to the tenets of Roman Catholicism.

Your argument from separation of church and state just doesn't wash. As I mentioned previously, "we must not equate "separation of church and state" with separation of state from religious principles. This was not the mind of the founding fathers.

The founding fathers were guarding against both a state-controlled church and any particular church governing all the actions of the state. However, they did not intend a separation of state from religious principles or the Supreme Author of all good. It was George Washington who said: "While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion...The signal instances of Providential goodness which we have experienced and which have now almost crowned our labors with complete success demand from us in a peculiar manner the warmest returns of gratitude and piety to the Supreme Author of all good." (May 2, 1778, orders issued to his troops at Valley Forge, Mount Vernon, VA Archives of Mount Vernon)."

Washington recognized an "Author of all good" (God). And he emphasized our duty toward that Author of all good. In fact, he issued from New York a National Day of Thanksgiving Proclamation on October 3, 1789, in which he said:

'Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor...Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the twenty-sixth day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these United States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficient Author of all the goodthat was, that is, or that will be.."

Richard said...

William,

A great response. This really counters John Hosty's posting which is completely inaccurate. John's notions travel the road to self ruls and anarchy.

William said...

Thanks Richard. The George Washington quote from John was as follows:

"As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality.”

The caveat or qualifier in this quote is "those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community." Washington would never have seen practicing homosexuals as "worthy members of the community" who are entitled to the protections of civil government."

Washington constantly made reference to our duty to the Supreme Author of good.

William said...

John Hosty would have us believe that George Washington wanted religious principles separated from the state. But Washington's Farewell Address proves the fallacy of this assertion. In part, Washington said:

"Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."

Jonathan said...

Marie Tremblay,

I thought that I had articulated a pretty clear boundary for my participation in the discussion. Being a non-Catholic, I can't participate in discussions of Catholic theology or "Natural Law". The title of the thread is "Does "anti-gay-marriage" = "anti-gay"?", and IMHO, that topic requires no Catholic credentials.

JayG,

Thanks for revealing that you constructed an argument on my behalf that I never made. You said:

"You have defined gayness as engaging in gay sex, I have attempted to separate the behavior from the person."

I never defined "gayness". Your choice of term, “gayness” demonstrates that you understand that gayness is an inherent G-d given trait, like handedness. I use ther term gay to refer to people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered or queer. For the purpose of this discussion, gay refers to the subset of that group that has a same-sex orientation. Just as a left-handed person can use his or her right hand a gay person may be celibate or marry someone of the opposite sex and live (counter to his or her natural orientation) as a heterosexual. I never conflated sexual behavior with orientation.

Given that definition, Catholic teachings on sexual orientation are harmful to gay people because those teachings do not permit a gay person to marry the person of their choice. Catholic teachings on other topics, like "just war", are good. I agree with Pope John Paul II's condemnation of the war against Iraq as an unjust war. To set the record straight, I’m not anti-Catholic, I just disagree with some teachings.

I think that the consensus opinion on this thread is both anti-gay-marriage and anti-gay, but first and foremost, anti-gay, and I’d like to understand why, having such a clear anti-gay position, people feel that anti-gay is wrong.

Susan articulated an anti-gay position pretty starkly:

"Is the homosexual "lifestyle" really one of happiness? All the evidence would appear to suggest otherwise."

Please read John Hosty's blog, Susan. He seems happy to me. Please don’t use the Catholic teaching that a same-sex orientation is "disordered" as an evidence resistant backstop for prejudice.

JayG made few arguments that have been accepted at face value. I find that acceptance very disturbing, immoral and sinful. While the Church may have apologized for the inquisition, and the persecution of Jews in Spain may have occurred hundreds of years ago, the deep-seated anti-semitism that manifested itself in the holocaust was rooted in part in the Church teaching that "Jews killed Jesus" and that Jewish refusal to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior will send them to eternal hell. In Mein Kampf, Hitler evoked a religious basis for persecution:

"I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: By defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord."

Words matter. They create a cultural environment that leads to action, so when JayG says:

"We are arguing that your re-definition of marriage has undermined all of our rights to a stable civilization. If that hurts your feelings or offends your sensibilities, that is not harassment."

He is unleashing all manner of potential demons. Putting aside the truth that same-sex marriage is an extension, not a redefinition, in asserting that the 8,000 or so marriages in MA have "undermined all of our rights to a stable civilization", JayG is calling forth a pogrom. That is harassment, maybe not here and now, but it is planting the seeds.

JayG said...

John,
Perhaps you think you can hamstring us with Scripture in general and Rom14 in particular, even though you don't accept Religion as arbiter in so-called secular matters. At the risk of letting you have it both ways, I will answer your Rom14 challenge:
The word judge, used in Rom14, also used in Matthew 7:1, and in 1st Corinthians6, is the same word, Judicat in Latin, Kree'no in Greek. In Mt7, Jesus tells us not to Judge, lest we be judged, while St. Paul tells us in 1st Corinthians that there are many things that we should judge, and your Rom14 tells us not to judge those weak in faith on disputable matters. The only way to reconcile all three passages is to understand that Jesus is speaking of judging someone's soul, while Paul is talking about judging important sinful matters that would affect the loss or salvation of one's soul. Your contention, that homosexual sex is a disputable matter, simply does not hold water:

1Cor6:1-11. Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to be judged before the unjust: and not before the saints? Know you not that the saints shall judge this world? And if the world shall be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know you not that we shall judge angels? How much more things of this world? If therefore you have judgments of things pertaining to this world, set them to judge who are the most despised in the church. I speak to your shame. Is it so that there is not among you any one wise man that is able to judge between his brethren? But brother goeth to law with brother: and that before unbelievers. Already indeed there is plainly a fault among you, that you have law suits one with another. Why do you not rather take wrong? Why do you not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? But you do wrong and defraud: and that to your brethren. Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God? Do not err: Neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers: Nor the effeminate nor liers with mankind nor thieves nor covetous nor drunkards nor railers nor extortioners shall possess the kingdom of God. And such some of you were. But you are washed: but you are sanctified: but you are justified: in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God.

Perhaps you'll want to stick with your secular arguments. But please note the idea of repentence at the end, with the sin in the past tense "And some of you were."

Richard said...

Johnathan,

In the natural order of things there has only been two kinds of persons. One male person and one female person. And in the natural order of things, it is the uniting of the male and female knowing each other, as the Old Testamanet history book puts it, that other persons are brought into the world.
This is the natural order things that the male and female person were brought about.

In the natural order of things there has never been a third order of being or person as the "gay person".

What has happened is that both the male person and the female person can of their own free will take their sexual powers and use them other than for which they have been so ordained, as there end in the natural order of things. And this a disorder in the natural order.

There is no such person as an "aduterer-person, or a murderer-person, or a theif-person, but there is a male person and a female person that can by their free choice, commit an act of adultery, or an act of theft, or an act of murder. If there were such an order of persons, then all could cry from the house tops, I want my "civil rights" to be respected and thereby be who I am.

And I am beginning to wonder if this might not come about since murders, and robbers, and adulters are being defended in our courts of law as though their rights have been offended.

JayG said...

Jonathan,
It's so refreshing to engage in a level-headed debate on same-sex marriage, without all that name-calling (e.g. Hitler) or insinuation that my side of the debate wants to kill you all. No, you did not insinuate at all!

Though I still have a question, "If [as you say] we can't approach this in a secular manner, the discussion is over", why did you "find that acceptance [of Jay's arguments] very disturbing, immoral and sinful"?

Jonathan said...

Richard,

You may visit my web site and study my husband's analysis of the Abstract Model of Gender Bipolarity.

JayG,

I did not mean to close the thread by imposing Godwin's law. You presented such a crabbed revisionist view of history that I could not let it go unchallenged. These are your words:

"You have to go back hundreds of years to find examples of anyone in the Church forcing the conversion of non-Christians, but you only need to look to recent history to see the 100s of millions of deaths wrought by pagan Nazi and atheistic Communistic governments. Your Lockean social contract has never withstood the onslaught of original sin."

I think you made the insinuation that my ideology (which you know nothing about) is responsible for the moral slide of civilization and the "100s of millions of deaths". I'm perfectly willing to take responsibility for my ideology and refute your assertions. That's why I brought up the topic. It appears that you are asking for a special right to aviod responsibility. I find your statement about undermining stable civilization to be ominous, and threatening. "Disturbing and immoral" are secular terms. Sinful is religous in the broad sense that sin is understood by many religions. I entered the thread and used the term "mere sin" and didn't clarify. I take sin very seriously in the transcendent sense that religion with a small 'r' understands what sin is. I'll leave the thead with this question:

What is the greater sin, to form a covenenant marriage to love and honor a same sex partner faithfully until death, or to scapegoat that marriage and hold it responsible for undermining civilization?

Jerry said...

The question is unanswerable because same-sex marriage is an oxymoron. Treating the word marriage as if it were a mere nominal and subjective definition is intellectually unsound.

By its domestication of men, its protection of women, and its provision for the secure rearing of children, marriage is the foundation of civilization as we know it.

You are free to enter into any relationship you choose, and you may even forge a legally binding contract - but if you and your partner are of the same sex, it is not a marriage.

JayG said...

Jonathan,
Since my answer was to John Hosty’s assertion that the Lockean social contract was the true basis of our God-given rights, I don’t see how I could have insinuated that your ideology was responsible for 100’s of millions of deaths. Your statements are even more confusing in light of the fact that I blamed original sin for these deaths, not you and not an ideology. But I suppose I can’t help your feelings that my statements about traditional heterosexual marriage are “ominous”.

And your question about the greater sin assumes your conclusion; if we allow you to further water down the definition of marriage, to be as it were the last nail in the coffin of marriage, and society does lose an institution that domesticates men, protects women, and provides for the rearing of children, then there is no scape-goating.

Jonathan said...

Jerry,

Am I mistaken that this post concerns the 8000 married same sex couples in MA, the constitutional amendment initiative and whether or not the anti-gay-marriage position is anti-gay?

You may define marriage as you would like and parrot Maggie Gallagher's opinions about "domesticating men and foundations or pillars of civilization" ad-nauseum and you will remain off-topic. We are talking about civil marriage. Having lectured on about secular discourse, you can't define away my question. You're being evasive.

Is it fair to once more summarize that yes, the anti-gay-marriage position is anti-gay, and yet, mysteriously, even with the backing of the Pope, and Catholic doctrine, Natural Law, and civilization as we know it, people who hold the anti-gay-marriage position know in their hearts that their position is anti-gay and wrong?

Jerry said...

According to Jay, its moderator, this post is about whether or not anti-gay-marriage can be equated with being anti-gay i.e., against the homosexual person as a person. It is a legitimate and reasonable question, which many of us can reasonably answer, "No".

Further, Jay aptly points out the tendency for both sides of the debate to talk past each other.

Allow me to revisit some above comments:

At one point, Jay said this to John Hosty:

"You ask if there are any circumstances in which you may live by your own beliefs and not be harassed by your neighbors? Yes, as long as the expression of your rights does not interfere with the rights of others, and your definition of harassment is a valid definition, not just an expression of your feelings."

to which John replied, in part:

"Please state your terms."

I then butted in with this comment:

"I can't speak for anyone else, but the terms that i would find acceptable would be a socio-political policy that either repealed anti-sodomy laws or left them unenforced, as matter of private acts between consenting adults.

I would draw the line at such practices as juvenile solicitation, public indecency, and such.

Personal contracts could be drawn up in any way agreeable to the signing parties, which could allow for inheritance and property transferral, etc., without automatic state-mandated legal rights being accorded to non-married couples. That is, marriage rightly upheld as a foundational relationship with all the rights and responsibilities automatically pertaining, while still allowing non-heterosexual couples to voluntarily enter into their own self-defined legally binding contracts as they would independently choose to do."

There followed some quite derogatory replies from fellow Catholics to my stated terms. I have been re-examining my own comment, and now have this to say...

To my fellow Catholics:

I would love nothing better than to see our civil society fully embrace Catholic principles. As i read the Cathechism and try to form my Catholic conscience, i still see nothing amiss with a socio-political policy of admitting private acts of immorality, so long as the common good is not threatened. In fact, the Church's teachings on subsidiarity and human freedom would seem to argue for this position. In an ideal society, i believe, competent and consenting adults would be allowed to sin privately without state interference. Such things as solicitation of juveniles and public indecency are different matters, of course.

To insist overzealously on a more Puritan-like approach will alienate those outside the Church. And such an approach may not even be the true Catholic one.

If have missed some magisterial or doctrinal principle, i am ready to receive fraternal correction.

To those who do not accept Church authority, i say this:

You may be just as guilty as the overzealous Catholics when you talk past us and insist upon imposing your terms upon society as a whole.

Consider whether the terms as i have offered them may not serve your goals quite well. As long as you insist upon redefining the laws of marriage to suit your ideology, you will be alienating the other side, and that may not be to your advantage.

If my analysis of Catholic teaching has merit and is adopted, you would be allowed to do whatever you please privately, with no threat of harassment. Isn't that pretty much what you are asking for?

I sincerely ask for consideration of these principles, and for both sides to resist futile diatribes.

Richard said...

Jerry,

The Catholic Catechism is one with the Holy Scriptures. Neither would in anyway endorse, advocate or respect "a socio-political policy of admitting private acts of immorality, so long as the common good is not threatened."

To pharse it in another manner---

Jerry, do you believe Chirst the Lord would even think in this line of thought---permitting "a socio-political policy of admitting private acts of immorality, so long as the common good is not threatened."??????

Respectfully,
Richard

JayG said...

I intended to discuss the Civil Right that the Massachusetts SJC found in 2003, I believe it is wrong from a secular perspective, as was the Dredd Scott decision. You may dress up the ways in which you call me homophobic, but you have not addressed your coercive premise that I must accept gay-marriage or I am anti-gay.

We have been seeking to rebalance the Constitutional process in Massachusetts, because of the political problem of activist judges like Maggie Marshal creating civil rights based on what? No precedent, not even a solid legal understanding of why marriage needed to be re-defined, other than it makes some gays feel better about themselves. Neither you jonathan, nor Margaret Marshall, has the right to do that, even if you have the power to.

It is a great sin to mock marriage, and to use political intrigue and power politics to force your will upon Massachusetts, with an eye towards forcing your will on the United States.

Jonathan said...

All,

If same-sex couples may marry in their respective churches (religious freedom) and per Jerry, they are given the ability to bundle legal contractual rights in packages that "intend to approximate marriage", would it "undermine stable civilization" for them to refer to themselves as married and to refer to their partners as spouse or family?

John Hosty said...

"Your contention, that homosexual sex is a disputable matter, simply does not hold water" ~Jay

If that were true we would not be having a debate about it, and how gay equality fits into issues like marriage. Your statement seems to be one of opinion instead of fact.

You seem to have a decent grasp of what is in the Bible, but the passages you cite only bring further light to how confusing and contradictory it can be. There is one point you seem to be missing, so let me cover that again. When you are genuinely worried about your brother, you approach him with love. Even if you hold that the passages you cite give you the authority to judge me, and condemn me for living a gay life, the way in which you do so makes all the difference. No matter how serious the sin, we are called to love the sinner, are we not? This is what worries me so much about how people of faith are reacting to their gay neighbors. The absence of love towards those who they consider sinners brings them further from God.

Peace and love are the most important things for us to bring to each other.

"To insist overzealously on a more Puritan-like approach will alienate those outside the Church. And such an approach may not even be the true Catholic one." ~Jerry

I agree with what you said here Jerry.

Marie Tremblay said...

In a previous comment, I wrote:

"Susan raised a valid point. Jonathan's statement that, "If we can't approach this in a secular manner, the discussion is over," is both childish and unreasonable. Much akin to the little boy who tells his playmates, "If we don't play my game, I'm taking my ball home."

If we agree to Jonathan's demand, then we may not have recourse to either God's Eternal Law or the Natural Law (which has God as its Author). If we accede to Jonathan's demand, then we must debate this question within the framework of his atheistic or naturalistic philosophy or philosophies.

Jay raised an excellent point, one that the Bishop of Worcester also made, and it is this: both sides may find common ground in this debate within the context of the Natural Law. But apparently this is unacceptable to Jonathan. And this is why he writes, "If we can't approach this in a secular manner, the discussion is over."

This is my impression at any rate. Does Jonathan mean to exclude the Natural Law when he insists upon this debate being approached "in a secular manner"?

And Jonathan has responded:

"Marie Tremblay,

I thought that I had articulated a pretty clear boundary for my participation in the discussion. Being a non-Catholic, I can't participate in discussions of Catholic theology or "Natural Law". The title of the thread is "Does "anti-gay-marriage" = "anti-gay"?", and IMHO, that topic requires no Catholic credentials."

This comment is asinine. One does not have to be a Catholic to accept the Natural Law as a context with which to discuss this issue.

The Natural Law can be considered on many levels. It is, first of all, the objective standard for what is morally right or wrong, which human beings can know, at least to a certain extent (its basic principles), without appealing to Divine Revelation. Moreover, it is the standard by which certain actions are right and other actions are wrong for all human beings, Catholic or not, and indeed Christian or not.

St. Paul alludes to this when he explains in his letter to the Romans that those who have not heard of the law of Moses, the Ten Commandments, still know what is right and wrong, because "what the law requires is written on their hearts" (Rom 2:15).

As its name indicates, natural law flows from human nature. It is that law which man can know with the light of reason without the aid of Divine Revelation, since God inscribed it in the depths of all hearts as St. Paul teaches. Since it is inscribed on the hearts of all men, it is the same for everyone, everywhere and throughout time. Therefore, natural law is universal. It is also immutable; time does not affect it. Moreover, there is no dispensation from natural law. All men must observe it. Lastly, it is perceptible and knowable by all men who have reached the age of reason.

This is why the Bishop of Worcester (and Jay) have indicated that the Natural Law provides an excellent context for discussing these issues and a place where we may find some common ground.

Jonathan has confirmed what I suspected. He is equating the Natural Law with Divine Revelation. And he is wrong. The Natural Law can be known with the light of reason alone without the assistance of Divine Revelation.

I have to conclude that Jonathan rejects the Natural Law because he rejects reason. Am I wrong?

Marie Tremblay said...

John wrote, "Peace and love are the most important things for us to bring to each other."

I would be interested in how John defines "love." For those of us who are Catholic, the Catechism defines charity thusly:

"Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God."

In other words, an authentic love must place God first. Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15).

Perhaps John would care to share his definition of love with the rest of us?

William said...

Jerry wrote, "i still see nothing amiss with a socio-political policy of admitting private acts of immorality, so long as the common good is not threatened."

When an evil act is done in public, the ensuing scandal compounds its intrinsic evil. However, an evil act does not become good just because it is performed in private. Its evil nature remains unchanged.

Though homosexual acts are graver when they are done in public, they continue to be "intrinsically evil" when done in private* Likewise, the inviolability of the home does not protect immoral and socially destructive acts such as child prostitution, polygamy, incest and any such other acts. While the privacy of the home is undoubtedly sacred, it is not absolute.

* "If acts are intrinsically evil, a good intention or particular circumstances can diminish their evil, but they cannot remove it. They remain 'irremediably' evil acts per se and in themselves they are not capable of being ordered to God and to the good of the person" (John Paul II, Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, No. 81).

William said...

Earlier in this thread, Jerry wrote:

"Jerry wrote, "I can't speak for anyone else, but the terms that i would find acceptable would be a socio-political policy that either repealed anti-sodomy laws or left them unenforced, as matter of private acts between consenting adults.

I would draw the line at such practices as juvenile solicitation, public indecency, and such."

To which I replied:

"Perhaps that is where YOU would draw the line. But in a society governed by merely human consensus as opposed to the Natural Law, the notion of sanctifying homosexual unions by demanding that they be either monogamous or between consenting adults would soon enough go the way of limiting abortions to the first trimester. Furthermore, the push for pedophilia is now the "extreme" which will push homosexuality out of the spotlight of public debate and into full normality. That pedophilia is even being debated, taher than simply rejected as unimaginably vile, means that it is likely the next item of sexual liberation due for normalization.

If laws are enacted simply by majority consensus, rather than within the framework of the Natural Law, then "anything goes": pedophilia, bestiality, even homicide."

So far, Jerry really hasn't answered to my legitimate concerns as expressed in this post. All the more disturbing since, as John Ansley has said:

"If the moral law were not inscribed in human nature and present in man's conscience, the dictates of positive law would not resonate in his soul. No relation would exist between laws and man's innermost being. Laws would be purely external impositions, only to be obeyed because of the State's coercive power.

Thus, laws opposing man's rational nature would be totally arbitrary, since they would reflect the whims and fancies of awmakers. This would not be true law, and it would not be binding in conscience.

Furthermore, law based exclusively on human volition carries no moral authority over man, since, from a natural point of view, the will of one man is as good as that of another. No man's will is naturally superior to his fellowman's will. Therefore, this volitional law would also not be binding on man's conscience.

For a law to bind man's conscience, its deepest roots and ultimate guarantee must be found in a Supreme Legislator, whose Will is naturally superior to human will. This superior Will must belong to God because His alone is superior to al other wills. This Supreme Will is expressed both in positive laws, i.e., laws established by God and contained in Revelation, and in natural law, as expressed throughout Creation."

Margaret said...

I'm wondering, since Jonathan apparently rejects the Natural Law, does he have a problem with the Nuremberg Trials? Is it his contention that the Nazis should not have been tried for war crimes?

Natural Law has played an important role in ethics, political philosophy, and legal theory for at least twenty-five hundred years, starting perhaps with Heraclitus's observation that "all human laws are nourished by one divine law." The natural law tradition has included a wide array of philosophers: Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Grotius, Hobbes, Locke, Kant, and Hegel, among others. Furthermore, natural law beliefs informed the framers of the American Constitution. World War II and its aftermath, did much to rekindle interest in natural law, sparked by the desire of the victorious Allies to hold Nazi officials responsible for their crimes. The notion that there is a higher law to which all human laws and rulers must conform in order to be considered legitimate--the essential claim of natural law's adherents--provided the justification for the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals.

Jonathan, were the Allies wrong to prosecute Nazis as war criminals using the Natural Law? If not, if the Natural Law is an acceptable standard, why then do you object to its use at this forum?

Renee said...

This post is more about marriage, but explains why we are not anti-gay in terms of hating another person.

I've been reading "Queen Bees and Wanna Bees" regarding teenager girls social and sexual behavior. The sex education agenda has been promoting oral and anal sex with teenager girls as normal, the author reiterates the reality is women don't like it. We want to save ourselves for the right one, but will humiliate ourselves in order to keep the one we have and the much larger agenda in sex education to make homosexual acts equal to male/female mutual and complementary intercourse. As a whole women find oral, anal, and mastubation to be very demeaning as do we are disgusted by porn, but many will tolerate it even endorse it because we are so fearful of losing our man even if he disrespects us.

I know I'm not homophobic. I've heard many articulate arguments for civil unions, that should not discriminate on sexual orientation, which means a single person who is not in a sexual relationship, should have the right to decide who should be their health care proxy or who should handle their estate after death. When hearing my gay classmate talk about all the private legal paperwork homosexuals must use to obtain these needs seven years ago, my thought wasn't 'oh they should have marriage' but the opposite. Heterosexual couples should be doing this legal work rather then filling out one piece of paper with no disclosures of what marriage is, responsibilities, or liabilities.

Marriage isn’t a civil right. Marriage is an act, something that is created when two persons each of the complementary sex is responsible to each other in their behavior. It protects both persons, but especially the woman in the relationship, which I will cite below.

http://www.hugthemonkey.com/2007/01/michael_gurian_.html
"Both males and females hormonally need each other and want connection. Teenage males in general tend to want more sex and less intimacy, and females tend to need more social intimacy. As she's trying to separate from mom and still has a deep need for intimacy, she will project a lot of it onto friends and males.
With boys, there will be romance and sexuality mixed in, which further complicates things. She's trying to bond with the boy and at same time trying to understand how to have a self. The malleability of her hormonal, social and emotional base often leads to her to nearly give up herself just to get intimacy. Often we will see a girl during the teen years fighting the urge to obtain intimacy at the expense of self. Part of her internal destiny is to see how to give a self without giving up a self. And she fights that fight with the male.
The males are smart. They'll say, "I love you, I love you," get the sex from her and never call her again. When a male has sex and orgasms, he gets that hit of oxytocin that takes him to a level similar to hers, so he will exacerbate the problem by saying, "I love you you're the best." His oxytocin goes down in a couple of hours, as testosterone floods in and mitigates the oxytocin level.
But she has this oxytocin that rages for days and days, and she thinks he's in love with her. I think that's why we have so much depression after these romantic and sexual breakups."




To say there rational biological a need for women and men to bond is some how anti-gay? The reality is we’re not homophobic, we’re sexist.

We are denying men and women very important information about their bodies, in which they are not able to make proper moral decision making regarding their sexual behavior, because as a matter of a “right” homosexuals don’t feel that same that way and to legitimize their behavior we have to void absolutely any distinction between men and women when to comes to sexual biochemistry Laws should speak the truth, not hide it.
If marriage is a “right” then we can not discriminate against those who are not in a sexual relationship either, there are many single persons who should have the right to choose who will make decisions with them, but they are not seeking marriage. I’m all for calling everything as a matter of law “civil unions” so it will not properly discriminate against anyone and would not specifly endorse an act or relationships that has nothing to do with marriage.

Renee said...

We are called to love the sinner, and not to lead them into temptation. Your attitude towards the opposite sex I find to be hateful, because you have absolutely no regard for a woman's needs in a relationship with a man. A women needs marriage not only for the creation of children, but also to protect the normal and natural response with have when it comes to sex. A few weeks ago when I tried to explain my needs to you, you took it as an attack. So how can it be all Peace and Love when to take away the language that protects women and children?

Renee said...

Last post was to John H.

Renee said...

More from Hug the monkey...

"The most tried-and-true way throughout history, and one we must constant reinvigorate, is accountability to family and extended family. Always remember, this hormonal base and reproductive system was meant to be nurtured in a three-family system, and this boy and this girl are supposed to be accountable to this system and social network.

For an individual child, there may be certain times where dad or mom isn't around, or there is no extended family. In those cases, I would try to get the community and schools to focus on character development: going to synagogue, mosque, anything, especially for males. And sexuality needs to be part of that character development.

The point of having them accountable and loved in a three-family system is they get their emotional needs met in a variety of settings, so girls don't need to hyper-utilize the males. It's normal primate behavior. I don't think there's a tip a girl can follow to hold onto herself that's as powerful as making sure she's loved. "

Jerry said...

Richard said:

"Jerry, do you believe Chirst the Lord would even think in this line of thought---permitting "a socio-political policy of admitting private acts of immorality, so long as the common good is not threatened."??????"

As i understand things, yes, i do believe that Jesus would not expect civil authority to be concerned with personal morality, unless the common good were threatened.

William said:

If laws are enacted simply by majority consensus, rather than within the framework of the Natural Law, then "anything goes": pedophilia, bestiality, even homicide."


Are the terms i have set out really a violation of Natural Law? Does Natural Law demand that the state monitor moral conduct that does not impact the common good? Obviously things like homicide can never be tolerated; whenever there are victims involved, or the common good is threatened, the state has a legitimate responsibility to intervene.

I'm asking a question. I may very well have a mistaken view of both Natural Law and Church teaching. If so, please give me specific references to steer me, not just your indignation. I am not advocating or excusing immorality; merely questioning whether it is a legitimate duty of the state to regulate immorality that has no impact upon the innocent nor upon the greater society as a whole.

John-

You have accepted the part of my terms that have to do with non-enforcement of private acts of sodomy. Do you accept the other terms as well: that you abandon the demands to have your arrangement recognized as legitimate by society, and as legally equivalent to marriage?

John Ansley said...

Renee commented that, "Does Natural Law demand that the state monitor moral conduct that does not impact the common good? Obviously things like homicide can never be tolerated; whenever there are victims involved, or the common good is threatened, the state has a legitimate responsibility to intervene."

The implication here is that homosexual acts between consenting adults do not impact the common good. But consent does not necessarily legitimize an act. The morality of an act does not depend only on the intent and consent of those who perform it; the act must also conform to moral law. Thus, the mutual consent of homosexual partners can never legitimize homosexual acts, which are unnatural deviations of the sexual act from its true and natural purpose. And consensual homosexual acts do hurt. The spread of homosexuality undermines public morality (the common good) and the family. It "hurts" the common good of society and the perpetuation of the human race.

On the individual plane, lust destroys peace of mind, nobility of soul, heavenly desires and causes spiritual blindness. The more one satisfies lust, the more vehemently it burns, provoking nervousness, excitation and impatience and often leading to other sins and even crime. Thus, lust numbers among the seven capital vices. It feeds egotism, thoughtlessness, rashness and instability. Through lust, extremely painful and sometimes even fatal sexually transmitted diseases, such as AIDS or syphilis, are contracted and spread. It can also feed morbid tendencies.

In society, lust favors corruption, fosters prostitution and pornography, renders families unstable, encourages contraception and abortion and harms the upbringing of children.

Yes, homosexual acts impact the common good. In fact, Dr. Abram Kardiner, a distinguished psychologist, psychoanalyst and anthropologist says that homosexuality becomes rampant in morally rotting societies on the verge of total collapse.

John Ansley said...

Renee, thought I would steer you to the Vatican:


CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH

CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING PROPOSALS
TO GIVE LEGAL RECOGNITION
TO UNIONS
BETWEEN HOMOSEXUAL PERSONS





INTRODUCTION

1. In recent years, various questions relating to homosexuality have been addressed with some frequency by Pope John Paul II and by the relevant Dicasteries of the Holy See.(1) Homosexuality is a troubling moral and social phenomenon, even in those countries where it does not present significant legal issues. It gives rise to greater concern in those countries that have granted or intend to grant – legal recognition to homosexual unions, which may include the possibility of adopting children. The present Considerations do not contain new doctrinal elements; they seek rather to reiterate the essential points on this question and provide arguments drawn from reason which could be used by Bishops in preparing more specific interventions, appropriate to the different situations throughout the world, aimed at protecting and promoting the dignity of marriage, the foundation of the family, and the stability of society, of which this institution is a constitutive element. The present Considerations are also intended to give direction to Catholic politicians by indicating the approaches to proposed legislation in this area which would be consistent with Christian conscience.(2) Since this question relates to the natural moral law, the arguments that follow are addressed not only to those who believe in Christ, but to all persons committed to promoting and defending the common good of society.



I. THE NATURE OF MARRIAGE
AND ITS INALIENABLE CHARACTERISTICS

2. The Church's teaching on marriage and on the complementarity of the sexes reiterates a truth that is evident to right reason and recognized as such by all the major cultures of the world. Marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. It was established by the Creator with its own nature, essential properties and purpose.(3) No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman, who by mutual personal gift, proper and exclusive to themselves, tend toward the communion of their persons. In this way, they mutually perfect each other, in order to cooperate with God in the procreation and upbringing of new human lives.

3. The natural truth about marriage was confirmed by the Revelation contained in the biblical accounts of creation, an expression also of the original human wisdom, in which the voice of nature itself is heard. There are three fundamental elements of the Creator's plan for marriage, as narrated in the Book of Genesis.

In the first place, man, the image of God, was created “male and female” (Gen 1:27). Men and women are equal as persons and complementary as male and female. Sexuality is something that pertains to the physical-biological realm and has also been raised to a new level – the personal level – where nature and spirit are united.

Marriage is instituted by the Creator as a form of life in which a communion of persons is realized involving the use of the sexual faculty. “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife and they become one flesh” (Gen 2:24).

Third, God has willed to give the union of man and woman a special participation in his work of creation. Thus, he blessed the man and the woman with the words “Be fruitful and multiply” (Gen 1:28). Therefore, in the Creator's plan, sexual complementarity and fruitfulness belong to the very nature of marriage.

Furthermore, the marital union of man and woman has been elevated by Christ to the dignity of a sacrament. The Church teaches that Christian marriage is an efficacious sign of the covenant between Christ and the Church (cf. Eph 5:32). This Christian meaning of marriage, far from diminishing the profoundly human value of the marital union between man and woman, confirms and strengthens it (cf. Mt 19:3-12; Mk 10:6-9).

4. There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Homosexual acts “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”.(4)

Sacred Scripture condemns homosexual acts “as a serious depravity... (cf. Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10). 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”.(5) This same moral judgment is found in many Christian writers of the first centuries(6) and is unanimously accepted by Catholic Tradition.

Nonetheless, according to the teaching of the Church, men and women with homosexual tendencies “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided”.(7) They are called, like other Christians, to live the virtue of chastity.(8) The homosexual inclination is however “objectively disordered”(9) and homosexual practices are “sins gravely contrary to chastity”.(10)



II. POSITIONS ON THE PROBLEM
OF HOMOSEXUAL UNIONS

5. Faced with the fact of homosexual unions, civil authorities adopt different positions. At times they simply tolerate the phenomenon; at other times they advocate legal recognition of such unions, under the pretext of avoiding, with regard to certain rights, discrimination against persons who live with someone of the same sex. In other cases, they favour giving homosexual unions legal equivalence to marriage properly so-called, along with the legal possibility of adopting children.

Where the government's policy is de facto tolerance and there is no explicit legal recognition of homosexual unions, it is necessary to distinguish carefully the various aspects of the problem. Moral conscience requires that, in every occasion, Christians give witness to the whole moral truth, which is contradicted both by approval of homosexual acts and unjust discrimination against homosexual persons. Therefore, discreet and prudent actions can be effective; these might involve: unmasking the way in which such tolerance might be exploited or used in the service of ideology; stating clearly the immoral nature of these unions; reminding the government of the need to contain the phenomenon within certain limits so as to safeguard public morality and, above all, to avoid exposing young people to erroneous ideas about sexuality and marriage that would deprive them of their necessary defences and contribute to the spread of the phenomenon. Those who would move from 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.

In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.



III. ARGUMENTS FROM REASON AGAINST LEGAL
RECOGNITION OF HOMOSEXUAL UNIONS

6. To understand why it is necessary to oppose legal recognition of homosexual unions, ethical considerations of different orders need to be taken into consideration.

From the order of right reason

The scope of the civil law is certainly more limited than that of the moral law,(11) but civil law cannot contradict right reason without losing its binding force on conscience.(12) 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 rights of every person.(13) Laws in favour of homosexual unions are contrary to right reason because they confer legal guarantees, analogous to those granted to marriage, to unions between persons of the same sex. 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.

It might be asked how a law can be contrary to the common good if it does not impose any particular kind of behaviour, but simply gives legal recognition to a de facto reality which does not seem to cause injustice to anyone. In this area, one needs first to reflect on the difference between homosexual behaviour as a private phenomenon and the same behaviour as a relationship in society, foreseen and approved by the law, to the point where it becomes one of the institutions in the legal structure. This second phenomenon is not only more serious, but also assumes a more wide-reaching and profound influence, and would result in changes to the entire organization of society, contrary to the common good. Civil laws are structuring principles of man's life in society, for good or for ill. They “play a very important and sometimes decisive role in influencing patterns of thought and behaviour”.(14) Lifestyles and the underlying presuppositions these express not only externally shape the life of society, but also tend to modify the younger generation's perception and evaluation of forms of behaviour. Legal recognition of homosexual unions would obscure certain basic moral values and cause a devaluation of the institution of marriage.

From the biological and anthropological order

7. Homosexual unions are totally lacking in the biological and anthropological elements of marriage and family which would be the basis, on the level of reason, for granting them legal recognition. Such unions are not able to contribute in a proper way to the procreation and survival of the human race. The possibility of using recently discovered methods of artificial reproduction, beyond involv- ing a grave lack of respect for human dignity,(15) does nothing to alter this inadequacy.

Homosexual unions are also totally lacking in the conjugal dimension, which represents the human and ordered form of sexuality. Sexual relations are human when and insofar as they express and promote the mutual assistance of the sexes in marriage and are open to the transmission of new life.

As experience has shown, the absence of sexual complementarity in these unions creates obstacles in the normal development of children who would be placed in the care of such persons. They 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. This is gravely immoral and in open contradiction to the principle, recognized also in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, that the best interests of the child, as the weaker and more vulnerable party, are to be the paramount consideration in every case.

From the social order

8. Society owes its continued survival to the family, founded on marriage. The inevitable consequence of legal recognition of homosexual unions would be the redefinition of marriage, which would become, in its legal status, an institution devoid of essential reference to factors linked to heterosexuality; for example, procreation and raising children. If, from the legal standpoint, marriage between a man and a woman were to be considered just one possible form of marriage, the concept of marriage would undergo a radical transformation, with grave detriment to the common good. By putting homosexual unions on a legal plane analogous to that of marriage and the family, the State acts arbitrarily and in contradiction with its duties.

The principles of respect and non-discrimination cannot be invoked to support legal recognition of homosexual unions. Differentiating between persons or refusing social recognition or benefits is unacceptable only when it is contrary to justice.(16) The denial of the social and legal status of marriage to forms of cohabitation that are not and cannot be marital is not opposed to justice; on the contrary, justice requires it.

Nor can the principle of the proper autonomy of the individual be reasonably invoked. It is one thing to maintain that individual citizens may freely engage in those activities that interest them and that this falls within the common civil right to freedom; it is something quite different to hold that activities which do not represent a significant or positive contribution to the development of the human person in society can receive specific and categorical legal recognition by the State. Not even in a remote analogous sense do homosexual unions fulfil 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.

From the legal order

9. 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.

Nor is the argument valid according to which legal recognition of homosexual unions is necessary to avoid situations in which cohabiting homosexual persons, simply because they live together, might be deprived of real recognition of their rights as persons and citizens. In reality, they can always make use of the provisions of law – like all citizens from the standpoint of their private autonomy – to protect their rights in matters of common interest. It would be gravely unjust to sacrifice the common good and just laws on the family in order to protect personal goods that can and must be guaranteed in ways that do not harm the body of society.(17)



IV. POSITIONS OF CATHOLIC POLITICIANS
WITH REGARD TO LEGISLATION IN FAVOUR
OF HOMOSEXUAL UNIONS

10. If it is true that all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way, in keeping with their responsibility as politicians. Faced with legislative proposals in favour of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are to take account of the following ethical indications.

When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favour of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral.

When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is already in force, the Catholic politician must oppose it in the ways that are possible for him and make his opposition known; it is his duty to witness to the truth. If it is not possible to repeal such a law completely, the Catholic politician, recalling the indications contained in the Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, “could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality”, on condition that his “absolute personal opposition” to such laws was clear and well known and that the danger of scandal was avoided.(18) This does not mean that a more restrictive law in this area could be considered just or even acceptable; rather, it is a question of the legitimate and dutiful attempt to obtain at least the partial repeal of an unjust law when its total abrogation is not possible at the moment.



CONCLUSION

11. The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society. Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behaviour, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself.

The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, in the Audience of March 28, 2003, approved the present Considerations, adopted in the Ordinary Session of this Congregation, and ordered their publication.

Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, June 3, 2003, Memorial of Saint Charles Lwanga and his Companions, Martyrs.

Joseph Card. Ratzinger
Prefect

Angelo Amato, S.D.B.
Titular Archbishop of Sila
Secretary




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NOTES

(1) Cf. John Paul II, Angelus Messages of February 20, 1994, and of June 19, 1994; Address to the Plenary Meeting of the Pontifical Council for the Family (March 24, 1999); Catechism of the Catholic Church, Nos. 2357-2359, 2396; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Persona humana (December 29, 1975), 8; Letter on the pastoral care of homosexual persons (October 1, 1986); Some considerations concerning the response to legislative proposals on the non-discrimination of homosexual persons (July 24, 1992); Pontifical Council for the Family, Letter to the Presidents of the Bishops' Conferences of Europe on the resolution of the European Parliament regarding homosexual couples (March 25, 1994); Family, marriage and “de facto” unions (July 26, 2000), 23.

(2) Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding the participation of Catholics in political life (November 24, 2002), 4.

(3) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 48.

(4) Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2357.

(5) Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Persona humana (December 29, 1975), 8.

(6) Cf., for example, St. Polycarp, Letter to the Philippians, V, 3; St. Justin Martyr, First Apology, 27, 1-4; Athenagoras, Supplication for the Christians, 34.

(7) Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2358; cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter on the pastoral care of homosexual persons (October 1, 1986), 10.

(8) Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2359; cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter on the pastoral care of homosexual persons (October 1, 1986), 12.

(9) Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2358.

(10) Ibid., No. 2396.

(11) Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae (March 25, 1995), 71.

(12) Cf. ibid., 72.

(13) Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I-II, q. 95, a. 2.

(14) John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae (March 25, 1995), 90.

(15) Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction Donum vitae (February 22, 1987), II. A. 1-3.

(16) Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, II-II, q. 63, a.1, c.

(17) It should not be forgotten that there is always “a danger that legislation which would make homosexuality a basis for entitlements could actually encourage a person with a homosexual orientation to declare his homosexuality or even to seek a partner in order to exploit the provisions of the law” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Some considerations concerning the response to legislative proposals on the non-discrimination of homosexual persons [July 24, 1992], 14).

(18) John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae (March 25, 1995), 73.

JayG said...

John Hosty,
Actually, we are not having a debate, a debate is when civil society holds open and honest discussion about any proposed changes to our long standing cultural institutions before any changes are recommended and eventually voted on; what happened here is that your side forced same-sex marriage on Massachusetts through judicial fiat, and my side is attempting to re-balance the Constitutional tilt you’ve wrought.

I think Truth is the foundation for peace and love, and I only try to show the truth in an attempt to get you to consider it – not to condemn you.

Jerry said...

To John Ansley:

Thank you for your very thorough reference re.the Church's teaching on homosexual unions. (It was actually me, not Renee, who made the comments to which you were responding)

The documentation you provided is what i sought, and i will study it more later. I think you still misunderstand my original intent, however. As a believing Catholic, i will never admit that same-sex unions ought to be sanctioned or legalized. The Church teaches that homosexual relations are gravely disordered. She calls the homosexual person to a life of chastity and holiness. The question is, does she call on the state to enforce such matters in all cases?

The document you provided contained this paragraph:

"Where the government's policy is de facto tolerance and there is no explicit legal recognition of homosexual unions, it is necessary to distinguish carefully the various aspects of the problem. Moral conscience requires that, in every occasion, Christians give witness to the whole moral truth, which is contradicted both by approval of homosexual acts and unjust discrimination against homosexual persons. Therefore, discreet and prudent actions can be effective; these might involve: unmasking the way in which such tolerance might be exploited or used in the service of ideology; stating clearly the immoral nature of these unions; reminding the government of the need to contain the phenomenon within certain limits so as to safeguard public morality and, above all, to avoid exposing young people to erroneous ideas about sexuality and marriage that would deprive them of their necessary defences and contribute to the spread of the phenomenon. Those who would move from 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 doesn't appear to be far from what i was proposing, or asking. Note especially that both in the above and in CCC 2210, the Church calls upon society to safeguard public morality. She calls each person to absolute morality, but i can find no reference where She clearly calls upon the state to enforce private morality.

I will look further into the document you have provided. And, thank you.

Jerry said...

Jay, i've raised a few hackles here by responding to an exchange between you and John Hosty. Several comments ago, you said this to John H.

"You ask if there are any circumstances in which you may live by your own beliefs and not be harassed by your neighbors? Yes, as long as the expression of your rights does not interfere with the rights of others, and your definition of harassment is a valid definition, not just an expression of your feelings. We are arguing that your re-definition of marriage has undermined all of our rights to a stable civilization. If that hurts your feelings or offends your sensibilities, that is not harassment."

to which John responded:

"Please state your terms"

This time i will shut up and let you answer.

John Hosty said...

In return for my good will I have been equated to a pedophile, had my faith in God questioned, and had many ugly insinuations cast against me. I am done. God is my judge, and He is your judge as well. Only He sees into the hearts of men and knows who they are. I will live in peace with all of you, and where you try to trespass on my rights, I will be there to answer with a calm neighborly but opposing point of view. We CAN all live together in peace, it seems that some just don't want to. I pray that some day you will see the wisdom of allowing people to choose their own path.

Jonathan said...

John Hosty,

You are very kind and patient, a true disciple of Jesus, not a Pharisee clinging to traditions that grant privilege, favoritism and special rights.

Folks,

Can you not see that there are 8000 same-sex married couples in your state? Their vows are public, not private. How can you utter the words:

"Those who would move from 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."

and claim not to be anti-gay. Yes, reason has left you. I'll pray that G-d will help you find the way.

If it were possible to hold a reasoned discussion with you, we would be having one. Not one anti-gay writer - one who is opposed to allowing gay people to find happiness and autonomy in accordance with their own sentient understanding of natural law - on this thread has accepted responsibility for his or her position.

I do thank you for asking me to learn something about natural law which I found here. Our understanding of natural law advances with our understanding of the world. G-d is still speaking, isn't He.

From the link:

"Do we know everything about the natural law? This is a common question asked and a good one. The answer is a simple "No." The discovery of the natural law is a continuously unfolding enterprise. Just as it took human beings a long time to separate out and clarify the laws of physical nature, so too for the laws of moral nature. The passage of time and additional philosophical reflection always raises new issues in natural law theory. For instance, slavery was once accepted as normal and natural even by many who subscribed to natural law theory. We now know that slavery violates the natural law. Society once accepted judicial torture as being normal and natural. We now know that judicial slavery violates the natural law. And, personally, I am convinced that one day our society will "discover" that capital punishment violates natural law and we will abolish it."

I am convinced that one day our society will "discover" that the claim that marriage equality "has undermined all of our rights to a stable civilization" is pure hogwash, and I'm being gentle. People will look to Massachusetts, Canada, Belgium, South Africa, and the Netherlands and see that good triumphed and G-d smiled. Opposition to marriage equality will be found to have violated natural law and people will begin to loosen the strict gender roles that have prevented men and women from realizing their G-d-given potential for millenia.

You can help. Meditate. Soften your hard hearts. Listen to G-d.

JayG said...

jonathan,
I think you are asking us to listen to you, and your relativism ("allowing gay people to find happiness and autonomy in accordance with their own sentient understanding of natural law").


If you read closely what Renee, John Ansley, Marie, William, Richard and Jerry have written, the Catholic moral teaching does not give any one of them Pharisaical "privilege, favoritism and special rights," indeed there is a lot of work and effort to live a truly Catholic life.

Throughout History, there have been pockets of Light, such as 300-1000 AD, when the Church worked diligently to end slavery, virtually eliminating it from Europe and North Africa. Of course 1517-1863 AD was a huge moral setback, but ultimately corrected. However, at no time in history has anyone advocated or allowed same sex marriage. Can you point to any historical precedent? Any moral or ethical understanding that this type of behavior was considered good, noble, and in accordance with self-giving love? I think not, which is why Maggie Marshall did not mention any, and which is why you resort to name-calling.

Jonathan said...

Name calling? Not true. As I expressed over and over, pro-gay is a political movement that believes that G-d created gay people and said "and it was good". A Pro-gay position supports full equality for gay people. No discrimination in work, or housing, no fear of being harassed by people who believe gay people are a public expression of "evil", equal opportunities, and the ability to marry the person of one's choice.

People or groups who oppose full equality for gay people are, by definition "anti-gay". That is not name calling. It is definitional. If you find it to be name calling, your conscience is telling you that being anti-gay is bad. That's a good thing. See, you are beginning to listen. ;-)

As for historical precedent, I'd refer you to the SCOTUS Lawrence v Texas decision. If it weren't for the works of gender studies scholars, the Justices would not have overruled Justice White's opinion that a same-sex orientation is disordered. You do realize that the SCOTUS is extra cautious about overturning prior decisions. If you've done your opposition research, I'm sure you've found lots of historical and contemporary material. Feel free to visit my web set. There is a great deal of pro-gay and pro-marriage-equality work there.

Peace,
Jonathan

Richard said...

MORALITY.

All sects are different, because they come from men; morality is everywhere the same, because it comes from God.----- Voltaire

Morality which is divorced from godliness, however specious and captivating to the eye, is suuperficial and decpetive. The only morality that is clear in its source, pure in its percepts, and efficacious in it influence, is the morality of the gospel. All else is, at best, but idolatry---the worship of something of man's own creation; and that imperfect and feeble, like himslef, and wholly insufficient to give him support and strength.----Tryon Edwards.

JayG said...

Since I believe that same sex marriage is a re-definition of marriage, I'd have to say Pro-gay is for special rights and special treatment of those who identify themselves as gay. Even if you claim that by definition our position is anti-gay, you cannot logically imply that our position is anti-you, or anti-jonathan, or anti-John Hosty. The basis for our claim that we are not anti-gay is that we've separated the act from the person; and it is also why I claimed that in order for your accusation of anti-gay to stand up, you were defining the gay person by the acts that they engage in.

One of the reasons I believe same-sex marriage is a re-definition of marriage is what I referred to as the historical perspective; there are no examples in history. Another reason is the Natural Law - same-sex couples simply do not "fit" together the same way as hetero-sex couples do. You can ridicule my Maggie Gallagher references, but not answer them. Essentially your re-definition of marriage is an exercise in raw will.

Margaret said...

Jonathan wrote, "People or groups who oppose full equality for gay people are, by definition "anti-gay". That is not name calling. It is definitional."

However, we don't accept Jonathan's definition of what constitutes "anti-Gay." Moreover, he has failed to provide us with an intelligent argument from Natural Law as to why society should accept same-sex "marriage."

In a previous post, I issued a challenge which Jonathan apparently doesn't care to address. I wrote, "I'm wondering, since Jonathan apparently rejects the Natural Law, does he have a problem with the Nuremberg Trials? Is it his contention that the Nazis should not have been tried for war crimes?

Natural Law has played an important role in ethics, political philosophy, and legal theory for at least twenty-five hundred years, starting perhaps with Heraclitus's observation that "all human laws are nourished by one divine law." The natural law tradition has included a wide array of philosophers: Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Grotius, Hobbes, Locke, Kant, and Hegel, among others. Furthermore, natural law beliefs informed the framers of the American Constitution. World War II and its aftermath, did much to rekindle interest in natural law, sparked by the desire of the victorious Allies to hold Nazi officials responsible for their crimes. The notion that there is a higher law to which all human laws and rulers must conform in order to be considered legitimate--the essential claim of natural law's adherents--provided the justification for the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals.

Jonathan, were the Allies wrong to prosecute Nazis as war criminals using the Natural Law? If not, if the Natural Law is an acceptable standard, why then do you object to its use at this forum?"

I still invite Jonathan to answer my question.

As for Mr. Hosty, he writes, "In return for my good will I have been equated to a pedophile, had my faith in God questioned, and had many ugly insinuations cast against me. I am done. God is my judge, and He is your judge as well. Only He sees into the hearts of men and knows who they are. I will live in peace with all of you, and where you try to trespass on my rights, I will be there to answer with a calm neighborly but opposing point of view. We CAN all live together in peace, it seems that some just don't want to. I pray that some day you will see the wisdom of allowing people to choose their own path."

Such an attitude is rather unfortunate. I have read absolutely no posts where Mr. Hosty was labelled as "a pedophile" or which questioned his faith in God or which have levelled "ugly insinuations" against his person.

If Mr. Hosty is really done with this forum it is simply because the majority of visitors to this wonderful forum don't share his world-view and have soundly refuted his arguments from both Natural Law and American history (recall his selective quotations from George Washington).

I invite Mr. Hosty not to resort to emotional posts aimed at attempting to convince faithful Cahtolics or people of good will that their views are somehow "hateful." This cheap tactic is unworthy of an adult.

Richard said...

Well said, Margaret

Jonathan said...

Margaret,

Having no degree in natural law and having never consciously engaged a discussion using "natural law formalism", I was reticent to bang heads with the scholars who post and comment here. I was also concerned that "Natural Law" would be used as an excuse to present the essentialist, mechanical, tautological argument that JayG presented:

"Another reason is the Natural Law - same-sex couples simply do not "fit" together the same way as hetero-sex couples do."

After reading about natural law - I did post a two links, please follow them - I learned that it has more to do with reason and conscience than "Divine Revelation". I presented the historical argument that society advances and cures instances of injustice and opression. By that same argument, the excuse that "I was just following orders" becomes an invalid reason to carry out acts of injustice even in time of war. Does that answer your Nuremburg question?

If the trajectory of natural law is to treat all people with respect and dignity, marriage equality is on the horizon, in accordance with natural law.

JayG and all other married posters and commentors,

If a politically powerful group were to find your marriage to be an abomination of their dogma and the group worked to abolish your marriage by referendum, would you consider that "anti-you"?

I thought that the Gospel transcended traditional religious rituals, favoring relationships to G-d, neighbor and self. My marriage, John's marriage and the 8000 same-sex covenants are spiritual public declarations of family. They are relationships between G-d, neighbor and self. Reducing a marriage to "acts" is insulting, demeaning, filthy and prurient.

John Ansley said...

The homosexual movement claims that keeping same-sex unions illegal is discriminatory and a violation of justice since homosexuals are equally entitled to marriage and all its benefits. In a document entitled Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith answered this sophism:

"Differentiating between persons or refusing social recognition or benefits is unacceptable only when it is contrary to justice. The denial of the social and legal status of marriage to forms of cohabitation that are not and cannot be marital is not opposed to justice; on the contrary, justice requires it."

I have noticed that Jonathan is engaging in a dishonest tactic. At first, he insisted on approaching the question of "same-sex marriage" in a purely secular manner, which he interpreted as having no reference to either God's Eternal Law or the Natural Law (which may be known through reason alone).

However, now he is directing us to a link which has a skewed and novel interpretation of Natural Law. He writes, "I do thank you for asking me to learn something about natural law which I found here. Our understanding of natural law advances with our understanding of the world. G-d is still speaking, isn't He.

From the link:

"Do we know everything about the natural law? This is a common question asked and a good one. The answer is a simple "No." The discovery of the natural law is a continuously unfolding enterprise. Just as it took human beings a long time to separate out and clarify the laws of physical nature, so too for the laws of moral nature. The passage of time and additional philosophical reflection always raises new issues in natural law theory. For instance, slavery was once accepted as normal and natural even by many who subscribed to natural law theory. We now know that slavery violates the natural law. Society once accepted judicial torture as being normal and natural. We now know that judicial slavery violates the natural law. And, personally, I am convinced that one day our society will "discover" that capital punishment violates natural law and we will abolish it."

I am convinced that one day our society will "discover" that the claim that marriage equality "has undermined all of our rights to a stable civilization" is pure hogwash, and I'm being gentle. People will look to Massachusetts, Canada, Belgium, South Africa, and the Netherlands and see that good triumphed and G-d smiled. Opposition to marriage equality will be found to have violated natural law and people will begin to loosen the strict gender roles that have prevented men and women from realizing their G-d-given potential for millenia.

You can help. Meditate. Soften your hard hearts. Listen to G-d."

This comment is problematic because the Natural Law has two basic characteristics. 1. Universality, which means that it applies to everyone; and 2. Immutability, which means that it cannot be changed.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that: "The natural law is immutable and permanent throughout the variations of history; it subsists under the flux of ideas and customs and supports their progress. The rules that express it remain substantially valid. Even when it is rejected in its very principles, it cannot be destroyed or removed from the heart of man. It always rises again in the life of individuals and societies.." (CCC, 1958).

JayG said...

If I sneak into jonathan's house while he is not looking, move in my stuff, and start watching TV, should I be indignant and claim my rights were violated when I'm evicted? As a tactic I might try that, but I do not have a right to the house.

I also do think that it is "insulting, demeaning, filthy [or] prurient" to assume that married couples engage in the marital act. Perhaps it's my Catholicism; where marriage is the sacrament that the husband and wife confer on each other, and the priest is only a witness for the Church, or the fact that under canon law a marriage can be declared annulled if the marital act cannot or will not be performed i.e. the marriage is not a marriage. No, I think it is healthy to assume marriage involves sex between the wife and husband.

Also, what makes you think G_d wants two men to form a sexual relationship. I would think both the Bible, and 4000 years of written history would tend to lead one to the conclusion, no, not that kind of relationship.

Margaret said...

Jay writes to Jonathan, "what makes you think G_d wants two men to form a sexual relationship? I would think both the Bible, and 4000 years of written history would tend to lead one to the conclusion, no, not that kind of relationship."

Well said. But we also consider (as John Ansley has so eloquently reminded us) the immutability of the Natural Law.

Laws come into being by enactment and are abolished by repeal. Laws are changed by amendment, which consists either in canceling part of the law, or adding something to the law, or substituting a new part for an old. These ideas are derived from positive laws, and our question is whether they are also applicable to the natural law.

The ordinary way for a law to be changed is by an act of the lawgiver himself or his successor in office. This is called an extrinsic change because nothing happened within the law itself to invalidate it and the change came from a change in the lawgiver's will. The other way is an intrinsic change occurring within the law itself. Conditions and circumstances have become so different that the law now becomes useless or harmful; it ceases to be reasonable or for the common good, and so fails to fulfill any longer the definition of a law even though the lawgiver may continue to impose it.

However, the Natural Law cannot undergo change either intrinsically or extrinsically. To change intrinsically, the Natural Law would have to become useless or harmful, either in whole or in part. But it can never become useless or harmful because it prescribes what right reason sees to be in harmony with human nature taken completely in all its parts and relations, and human nature remains essentially the same. If human nature is essentially unchangeable, what is in harmony with human nature is unchangeable.

The Natural Law is extrinsically unchangeable. This beause to change extrinsically, the Natural Law would have to be repealed or amended by the lawgiver. But the lawgiver in this case is God, and there is no danger of any other lawgiver usurping his authority. God could not change the Natural Law without contradicting Himself. As Author of human nature, Gd wills that we live according to our nature; this is the Natural Law. Then by changing the Natural Law God would will that we do not live according to our nature. Not even God could will both of these together.

Sorry Jonathan. The Natural Law is immutable.

JayG said...

The Natural Law is like the Laws of Physics in this regard - it hasn't changed, and won't.

Jonathan said...

As folks on this thread expect me to argue in good faith, I expect the same of you. Please explain the following:

1. What you propose to do with the 8000 married same-sex couples in MA?

2. How can you label a disrespect for same-sex headed families as anything other than anti-gay?

3. Do words have power? How is calling same-sex families "evil" different from other historical epithets used against scapegoated minorities?

4. How does same-sex marriage "undermined all of our rights to a stable civilization",not in some abstract sense, in a real sense, how has civilization in MA become destabilized by the 8000 marriages?

JayG,

The laws of physics are contextual. Laws that hold in Newtonian systems break down at relativistic speeds. The same can be said for marriage. The ancient necessity to "be fruitful and multiply" no longer applies. As a matter of fact, exponential population growth would be devastating. Technological and social innovation has given many people more free time, and some use that time to postpone or bypass child rearing in favor of other activities. The government does not require that married people procreate, and infertility is not grounds for divorce as it was in Biblical times.

Marriage benefits society because married people take care of each other, and it also benefits the spouses who live healthier and happier lives and receive legal benefits. Same-sex couples have been advocating for equal marriage rights for many years because we want to participate in the institution and to contribute its "perfection". There is no effort to undermine, redefine or destroy the institution. Arguments to that effect are assigning motives.

The legalization of same-sex marriage in several countries and in MA, the loss of the amendment vote in AZ, and the changing voter trends demonstrates that the trajectory is towards inclusion and acceptance, just as Jesus taught us. This is natural law playing out in our lives right here and now. Why is this so hard for you to accept? Are you "just following orders?"

Jonathan said...

G-d is Revealing his Will has we discuss the issue. See Jerusalem's first same-sex Marriage. Unfortunately, the couple will not receive meaningful state recognition. The marriage was recorded for statistical purposes. In Israel marriage is controled by a panel of rabbis. Unlike the U.S. where marriage is a civil, not a religious right, there is no civil marriage in Israel.

JayG said...

1.ignore them for now, and focus on preventing the continued problem of your attempts to force this re-definition of marriage on the rest of the US through the full faith and credit clause.
2.People are free to organize their families anyway they choose as long as they do not re-define marriage.
3.This is a religious argument, but homosexual sex is disordered and intrinsically evil, marriage is the public proclamation that a couple is married and engages in the marital act, therefore your re-definition of marriage has made very public something that we consider from a religious point of view to be evil, and this publicity is scandalous. If words do have power, they have power to convert, and to bring someone to repentance, which is the message of Jesus. This message of Jesus will at times set son against father, and mother-in-law against daughter-in-law (Lk10:34-36), but it is still the Truth. Silence has caused more evil throughout history.
4.No one feels the plate tectonic shifts of the continents, until the earthquake. Already the family dissolution rate is going sky high in Scandinavia, and children are being raised without two complimentary sex parents, especially the two who begat them, because a parents convenience is deemed more important than a child's welfare. Name one good demographic trend same-sex marriage has brought to the table.

Explain how you intend to handle the fact that this civil right discovered by Meg Marshal has made Christian, and Orthodox Jewish, as well as Muslim doctrine illegal. If you are honest you will admit the end game.

Next time you fall to the earth at 32 feet per second squared, console yourself with your fact that this Law of physics is contextual.

Jonathan said...

Stalemate.

People are going to look at the two political positions and see that the pro-gay position provides a direct path to happiness for a small percentage of the population, and a message of equal partners in marriage that is sorely needed by an institution scarred by patriarchal inequality. Does Matthew 22 apply?

Then they are going to look at the anti-gay position and see people who can't manage their own love, so they lash out at so-called "evil" and marshall forces that aren't for anything except for intruding into other peoples lives and breaking families apart. The anti-gay position is clearly against Love.

Then the people are going to look into their hearts and decide who is their friend, and who is their foe.

It's been fun JayG. Please visit the Equality Loudoun blog. I'll be writing about this exchange in more detail after I clear a few assignments from my plate.

In peace and love,
Jonathan

Anonymous said...

Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you. - Luke 6:37-38

There is one part of the Roman Catholic liturgy that has always troubled me - it is called The Creed. It lists a collective agreement, an ancient mission statement if you will, of what "we believe." It has always troubled me that the word love - central to Christianity - is not included as somehow central to our credal statements. How powerful words are for us. And how careful we need to be as we measure our words as Christians, particularly in debates framed by religion and creed.

In the debate about constitutionally recognized marriage equality in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, starting points are important. The language of both sides has often been defensive, hurtful and exclusive. I believe that is because the persons involved in the debate have themselves felt this way. An examination of conscience is needed to discern the role religious leaders have played in lifting up or breaking down a conversation truly defined by human persons who love each other.

The purpose of religions existing at all is to remind the human person that love is central to how we live and move and have our being. To serve the need of human beings as a reminder of what truly matters. To frame the starting points of human argument and conflict within the essence of human truth. Love. The capacity to love. The openness to being loved.

Society cannot contain grace or justice without love. The role of religion as inspiration, guide, forum, moral compass - all these and more, is so diminished without the language of love as the starting point. "Love is the measure" cried Dorothy Day, stating by her life as a Catholic woman for social justice that we can do nothing but love to face the issues before us. The responsibility of all religions, and for me, for my Catholic tradition, is to be faithful to the language and commandment of love, especially during the current climate of debate on marriage equality.

Rev. Robert Bowers

Margaret said...

Jonathan writes, "As folks on this thread expect me to argue in good faith, I expect the same of you.."

And yet, he has neglected to respond appropriately to my comments on the immutability of Natural Law.

William said...

Anonymous said:

"There is one part of the Roman Catholic liturgy that has always troubled me - it is called The Creed. It lists a collective agreement, an ancient mission statement if you will, of what "we believe." It has always troubled me that the word love - central to Christianity - is not included as somehow central to our credal statements.."

But love IS mentioned in the Creed. Read Nos. 946-948 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church which explains the "communion of saints."

But this communion is one of truth. You say you love Jesus? Then listen to Him: "If you love Me, keep My commandments." (John 14:15).

Looks like Jonathan is bailing on this discussion for the same reason as John Hosty: he has no case.

William said...

A link of interest: http://lasalettejourney.blogspot.com/2007/01/in-his-encyclical-letter-deus-caritas.html

JayG said...

Thank you jonathan for your time and effort in this debate, which will continue beyond us as this is a very important issue which needs to be straightened out.

Does MT22 apply? You tell me.
MT22:12. And he saith to him: Friend, how camest thou in hither not having on a wedding garment? But he was silent.
22:13. Then the king said to the waiters: Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the exterior darkness. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Margaret said...

I have invited Jonathan on several occasions to reply in a meaningful way to my explanation as to the immutability of the Natural Law. And he has refused thus far.

He has also announced his departure from this forum and has declared a "stalemate" in this debate.

Since this thread is supposed to be "definitional," I guess we'll have to define what it is exactly that constitutes a "stalemate."

Mike said...

"Looks like Jonathan is bailing on this discussion for the same reason as John Hosty: he has no case."

Read some of the comments and ask yourself if you would want to be spoken to the way we have spoken to them. Enough is enough guys. Let's stop pretending we can't see what we are doing just because they are on the other side of this argument. They have been perfect gentlemen, and we have been shamefully rude.

Like Rev. Bowers said, our religion is about love. Where is our love right here? If this is the best we can behave to the most well behaved of homosexuals, exactly how do we expect to ever make any type of progress with them? I don't want to live as enemies. It's wrong.

Mike said...

"...Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive thosw who trespass against us..."

I hope God is a lot more forgiving and loving than that.

William said...

I posted this comment:

"Looks like Jonathan is bailing on this discussion for the same reason as John Hosty: he has no case."

Now Mike has written:

"Read some of the comments and ask yourself if you would want to be spoken to the way we have spoken to them. Enough is enough guys. Let's stop pretending we can't see what we are doing just because they are on the other side of this argument. They have been perfect gentlemen, and we have been shamefully rude."

Perhaps Mike would like to share which comments from those faithful to Church teaching have been "shamefully rude"

The only posts which have been inappropriate have been from the other side in this debate. Jonathan insisted that Jay (and the rest of us who adhere to God's Eternal Law and the Natural Law) have been "anti-Gay."

Jonathan even accused the Church of anti-Semitism if memory serves.

I challenge Mike to provide us with one example of "shamefully rude" behavior from those of us who adhere to God's Revelation and/or the Natural Law.

I suspect this is merely a ruse to distract us from the painfully obvious fact that Jonathan couldn't answer Margaret's posting on the immutability of the Natural Law or Jay's excellent posts regarding the fact that authentic Catholics always distinguish homosexual acts from the homosexual person.

I think Jonathan et al should practice some honesty and simply admit that they have not made a case from Natural Law as to why homosexuals should be permitted to marry.

John Ansley said...

Refusing to acknowledge Jay's point about separating the homosexual person from the homosexual act, Jonathan has once again insisted that those of us who oppose same-sex "marriage" are anti-Gay. He writes, "The anti-gay position is clearly against love."

Really? Read the posting at this link: http://lasalettejourney.blogspot.com/2007/01/in-his-encyclical-letter-veritatis.html

Jerry said...

I think i've learned a couple things by participating in this forum. For one thing, i've now read the Catholic document listed some comments ago by John Ansley, and have had an opportunity to review some of my own comments. I would like to retract my stated opinion that the ideal society would tolerate homosexual behavior without legalizing same-sex marriage. I would rather say now that if the state and civil society does in fact tolerate homosexual behavior, it may behoove the faithful Catholic to accept that as perhaps the best that can be presently hoped for, without making too much fuss, but also without considering it to be ideal.

As before, i still recognize that there are limits to tolerance, notably, that the faithful Catholic may never tolerate the legalization or recognition of same-sex marriage by civil law. In fact, we may be obliged to actively resist and disobey such unjust laws.

I may also have gained a little sharper understanding into the subtle nature of the arguments employed to advance such a travesty. The devout Christian will naturally be inclined toward love, civility, and tolerance, correctly understood, and disinclined toward strife. I personally know a couple individuals, formerly quite orthodox and devout, who have been deceived into the same-sex marriage mindset. Now i may understand a bit better how that came to be.

Well, keep defending the Faith, brethren. We can be open and honest about everything we are about, and know that subtle tactics have a way of being found out eventually.

Jerry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jerry said...

Here's the lasalettejourney html link recommended 2 comments above by John Ansley: click here

John Ansley said...

Jerry,

Thank you for your charitable contributions to this thread and for your kind comments. Together, let's show our neighbors tht while we are steadfastly opposed to homosexual marriage, our opposition is rooted in the Natural Law. And, in so doing, may we always emphasize - as Jay has done so well -that we differentiate between human acts and the human person.

It saddens me that anyone would consider faithful Catholics to be anti-gay. Jesus came that we may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). Faithful Catholics only want the same for their brothers and sisters who have a homosexual inclination.

Please pray for me and Paul as we prepare for a seminar/retreat on the thought of Gabriel Marcel. May this great philosopher of communion come to be better known and loved.

God bless you.

JayG said...

Thanks everyone.

Payday Loan said...

VzfpBj Good article! Thanks!

OnlineShop said...

CpepM9 Hello! Great blog you have! My greetings!

Giva said...

Thanks for writing this.