SECRET INFO CLUB: Pope Benedict on Homosexual "Marriage"
Sent Friday, May 18, 2012View as plaintext
For years, U.S. President Barack Obama refused to clearly commit himself on the subject of homosexual "marriage." After initially saying that he did not favor it, he hinted that he was "evolving" in his views.
Recently, Vice President Joseph Biden--a Catholic--publicly endorsed the concept of homosexual marriage. Feeling pressure from the homosexual lobby, President Obama himself endorsed it a few days later.
Here we offer an "interview" with Pope Benedict XVI that draws on his previous writings on the subject of homosexuality, on giving legal recognition to homosexual unions, and on the duties of Catholic politicians.
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Your Holiness, thank you for joining us today. You recently referred to the "powerful political and cultural currents seeking to alter the legal definition of marriage" in the United States. How should the Catholic Church in America respond to such pressure?
The Church's conscientious effort to resist this pressure calls for a reasoned defense of marriage as a natural institution consisting of a specific communion of persons, essentially rooted in the complementarity of the sexes and oriented to procreation.
Sexual differences cannot be dismissed as irrelevant to the definition of marriage.
Defending the institution of marriage as a social reality is ultimately a question of justice, since it entails safeguarding the good of the entire human community and the rights of parents and children alike.
Many try to dismiss this as a matter of religion and say that it should have no place in a modern, pluralistic society. What do you say?
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.
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.
No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman.
Many people think think of homosexual unions as on par with heterosexual unions--only with the genders changed. What should we make of this view?
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.
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.
This same moral judgment is found in many Christian writers of the first centuries and is unanimously accepted by Catholic Tradition.
What does this say about people with same-sex attraction? How should they be treated? And how should they view their situation?
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.
They are called, like other Christians, to live the virtue of chastity. The homosexual inclination is, however, objectively disordered, and homosexual practices are sins gravely contrary to chastity.
Why shouldn't the State give legal recognition to homosexual relationships, the same way it does to heterosexuals united in marriage?
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.
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.
Homosexual relationships will exist whether or not they are given legal recognition by the State. Some argue that the State is simply giving legal recognition to a reality which does not seem to cause injustice to anyone. What do you say?
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.
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.
What about using methods of artificial reproduction--or allowing homosexual couples to adopt children?
The possibility of using recently discovered methods of artificial reproduction, beyond involving a grave lack of respect for human dignity, does nothing to alter this inadequacy.
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.
What about the charge that homosexuals should not be discriminated against?
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.
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.
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.
Some have proposed splitting marriage in two, so that there are a civil (State) marriages that are open to homosexuals and religious (Church) marriages that are not. Why shouldn't the State pursue this course?
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.
In some places in America homosexual unions--either "civil partnerships" or outright homosexual "marriage"--have obtained force of law. What is a Catholic's duty in these areas?
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.
Many Catholic politicians in the U.S. have spoken in favor of homosexual marriage or civil unions. What is their responsibility as lawmakers?
When legislation in favor 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 favor of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral.
When legislation in favor 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.
Your Holiness, thank you for being with us today. Would you have anything to say in conclusion?
The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behavior 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 behavior, 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.
Thank you, Your Holiness.
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To learn more of Pope Benedict's wisdom, be sure to read his writings on this subject. They include: