Homosexuality and the Clergy
'The Sin of Sodom Was Inhospitality'-
A Response to This Lie
Gary L. Morella
Once at a School Board meeting I heard something that, as a Roman Catholic, I found to be so totally preposterous that I could not believe someone calling himself "Catholic" could be capable of making such a statement. The person claiming to be a Catholic told the Board and the Community that “the sin of Sodom was inhospitality," that Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica challenged natural law arguments, and said that "homosexuality was natural, not unnatural” and that “homosexuality among animals is natural, not unnatural."
Doesn't it strike anyone as a little odd that God would nuke a city for a breach of manners? Common sense dictates otherwise as God, in His mercy, would not destroy a city for inhospitality.
|Lot and his daughters leave the city that God destroyed for its sins against nature. |
Throughout History, Jewish and Christian scholars of all persuasions have recognized that one of the chief sins that provoked God’s destruction of Sodom was its people's homosexual behavior. But today certain homosexual activists advocate the idea that the sin of Sodom was merely a lack of hospitality. Although inhospitality is a sin, it is clearly the homosexual behavior of Sodomites that is singled out for special criticism and prominence in the account of their city's destruction. We must look to Scripture's own interpretation of the sin of Sodom. Jude 7 records that Sodom and Gomorrah "acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lust."
A public challenge
I would ask this psychologist to please give us the exact references in the Summa Theologica where Thomas Aquinas made the statements about homosexuality being "natural," as the kindest thing that Aquinas has to say about homosexuality is that it is the unnatural vice.
It should not be required to formally refute such outrageous, scandalous statements, but because of the confusion spawned by dissident theologians who would create their own heretical "magisterium" co-equal with that of Holy Mother Church, a response is in order.
I will let St. Thomas Aquinas respond directly through his own words in Summa Theologica (English translation of Christian Classics, 1948, Benzinger). The clarity is unmistakable. First the Natural Law will be addressed, then homosexuality.
The teaching of St. Thomas on natural law
“Since, however, good has the nature of an end, and evil, the nature of a contrary, hence it is that all those things to which man has a natural inclination, are naturally apprehended by reason as being good, and consequently as objects of pursuit, and their contraries as evil, and objects of avoidance.
“Because in man there is first of all an inclination to good in accordance with the nature which he has in common with all substances; inasmuch as every substance seeks the preservation of its own being, according to its nature: and by reason of this inclination, whatever is a means of preserving human life, and of warding off its obstacles, belongs to the Natural Law.
St. Thomas categorically condemned the homosexual sin as contrary to nature
"Secondly, there is in man an inclination to things that pertain to him more specially, according to that nature which he has in common with other animals: and in virtue of this inclination, those things are said to belong to the Natural Law, which nature has taught to all animals, such as sexual intercourse, education of offspring and so forth.
“Thus man has a natural inclination to know the truth about God, and to live in society: and in this respect, whatever pertains to this inclination belongs to the Natural Law (Summa Theologica, I-II, question 94, article 2).
* “For it has been stated that to the Natural Law belongs everything to which a man is inclined according to his nature.
“Wherefore, since the rational soul is the proper form of man, there is in every man a natural inclination to act according to reason: and this is to act according to virtue.
“Temperance is about the natural concupiscences of food, drink, and sexual matters, which are indeed ordained to the natural common good, just as other matters of law are ordained to the moral common good.
“By human nature we may mean either that which is proper to man - and in this sense all sins, as being against reason, are also against nature, as Damascene states (De Fide Orthod. II. 30): or we may mean that nature which is common to man and other animals; and in this sense, certain special sins are said to be against nature; thus contrary to sexual intercourse, which is natural to all animals, is unisexual lust, which has received the special name of the unnatural crime (ibid., I-II, q. 94, a. 3).
* “Consequently we must say that the Natural Law, as to general principles, is the same for all, both as to rectitude and as to knowledge. As, in man, reason rules and commands the other powers, so all the natural inclinations belonging to the other powers must needs be directed according to reason (ibid., I-II, q. 94, a. 4).
* “The Natural Law dates from the creation of the rational creature. It does not vary according to time, but remains unchangeable. The Natural Law was perverted in the hearts of some men, as to certain matters, so that they esteemed those things good which are naturally evil (ibid., I-II, q. 94, a. 5).
* “Thy law is written on the hearts of men, which iniquity itself effaces not. But the law which is written in men's hearts is the Natural Law. Therefore the Natural Law cannot be blotted out.
“There belong to the Natural Law, first, certain most general precepts, that are known to all; and secondly, certain secondary and more detailed precepts, which are, as it were, conclusions following closely from first principles. As to those general principles, the Natural Law, in the abstract, can nowise be blotted out from men's hearts (ibid., I-II, q. 94, a. 6).
St. Thomas on homosexuality
* “The unnatural vice is a species of lust. It is reckoned together with other species of lust (2 Cor 12:21) where we read: 'And have not done penance for the uncleanness, and fornication, and lasciviousness,' where a gloss says: 'Lasciviousness, i.e., unnatural lust.'
“The venereal act is rendered unbecoming through being contrary to right reason, and because, in addition, it is contrary to the natural order of the venereal act as becoming to the human race: and this is called the unnatural vice. This may happen by copulation with an undue sex, male with male, or female with female, as the Apostle states (Rom 1:27): and this is called the vice of sodomy (Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 154, a. 11).
* “Augustine says (De adult. conjug.) that 'of all these,' namely the sins belonging to lust, 'that which is against nature is the worst.'
St Augustine wrote: "Of the sins belonging to lust, that which is against nature is the worst"
“I answer that, in every genus, worst of all is the corruption of the principle on which the rest depend. Now the principles of reason are those things that are according to nature, because reason presupposes things as determined by nature, before disposing of other things according as it is fitting. This may be observed both in speculative and in practical matters. Wherefore just as in speculative matters the most grievous and shameful error is that which is about things the knowledge of which is naturally bestowed on man, so in matters of action it is most grave and shameful to act against things as determined by nature.
"Therefore, since by the unnatural vices man transgresses that which has been determined by nature with regard to the use of venereal actions, it follows that in this matter this sin is the gravest of all. After it comes incest, which is contrary to the natural respect which we owe persons related to us.
“Just as the ordering of right reason proceeds from man, so the order of nature is from God Himself: wherefore in sins contrary to nature, whereby the very order of nature is violated, an injury is done to God, the Author of nature.
"Hence, Augustine says (Conf. III, 8): 'Those foul offenses that are against nature should be everywhere and at all times detested and punished, such as were those of the people of Sodom, which should all nations commit, they should all stand guilty of the same crime, by the law of God, which hath not so made men that they should so abuse one another. For even that very intercourse which should be between God and us is violated, when that same nature, of which He is the author, is polluted by the perversity of lust.'
“Vices against nature are also against God, and are so much more grievous than the depravity of sacrilege, as the order impressed on human nature is prior to and more firm than any subsequently established order.
“The nature of the species is more intimately united to each individual, than any other individual is. Wherefore sins against the specific nature are more grievous. “Wherefore among sins against nature, the most grievous is the sin of bestiality, because use of the due species is not observed. After this comes the sin of Sodomy, because use of the right sex is not observed (ibid., II-II, q. 154, a. 12).
Thus spoke S. Thomas Aquinas.
A distortion of St. Thomas
The statements attributed to Aquinas in support of homosexuality show a complete distortion of his writings on nature and sexuality as the Summa Theologica (I-II, q. 31, a. 7), and the Summa contra Gentiles (book 3, chap. 136) state exactly the opposite.
Nowhere in the former does Aquinas approve homosexuality as natural for particular individuals in the context of "I'm OK, you're OK," as the entire point of this treatise is to underscore the evil of man taking pleasure in acts due to the "corruption of nature from evil temperament" by means of cannibalism or "the unnatural intercourse of man and beast, or other such things, which are not in accord with human nature" as examples. The latter gives the "plumbing argument" against homosexuality as Aquinas states, "Carnal union is the end of certain bodily organs." Aquinas here is specifically addressing carnal acts which are natural for human beings only within the confines of marriage, saying such acts are perfectly acceptable.
An exaggeration of the rights of homosexuals
The following is an example of the obfuscation of Catholic teaching on homosexuality that I have continually observed in both the secular and dissident Catholic media.
When Cardinal Ratzinger's pastoral is referenced, it is always taken out of context in that the only paragraph quoted is that saying discrimination (meaning invidious discrimination) against homosexuals cannot be tolerated. This gives the distinct impression that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had absolutely nothing to say about the inclination to homosexual behavior being objectively disordered, that the living out of this inclination to homosexual behavior is not an acceptable option, and that the behavior itself is ordered to an intrinsic moral evil. These truths are conspicuously absent. Nowhere is there any admonition to the faithful that sin can be justly discriminated against!
The Church talks about "objective disorders" for very good reason for that is exactly what we're dealing with here. Most certainly the Church welcomes the sinner, but the Church hates the sin. You do not say to an alcoholic, we love you, and we also love your alcoholism that is killing you. Moreover, you would not encourage this individual that is OK to be inclined to such a disorder leading only to misery. You would do everything in your power to get him to see that the direction in which he is heading leads to nowhere.
An unacceptable behavior
And yet, this is exactly what we are being told in regard to homosexuality by totally ignoring the fact that the inclination to this lifestyle is objectively disordered. There is no "nice" way to couch this phrase anymore then there is a substitute for partial birth infanticide, which some call "a form of late term abortion," or "dilation and extraction."
Catholics are entitled to authentic catechesis. There are enough lies to go around in the secular world without adding to the problem. And that is what is happening in many dioceses in the world. Catholics are adding to the problem instead of witnessing to the Faith.
The bottom line regarding what has been happening in regard to the homosexual question, not just locally, but internationally, is that there is no conceivable right to behavior that is intrinsically ordered to a moral evil.
The important point that is continually being missed but that must be underscored in bold print and shouted from the rooftops is that not only is the behavior intrinsically ordered to a moral evil, i.e., the behavior is a grave sin, and the inclination to the behavior is an objective disorder because it can never lead to a morally licit act. As such, the inclination to the behavior remains an occasion of sin that must be overcome, avoided at all costs; otherwise it becomes fertile ground for sins.
This is confirmed in Matthew 5:27-30:
"You have heard it said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. And if your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your member than that your whole body be thrown into Hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into Hell."
Our Lord is not talking literally about bodily dismemberment here, but rather about spiritual avoidance of occasions of sin. His language is strong to show the severity of avoiding the occasions of sin to keep from damnation. That is undeniable in this passage of Matthew.
Anyone making a blanket statement to the effect that thoughts are never sins is not speaking the truth. Thoughts most certainly are an occasion of sin because they can be categorized as good or bad. Thoughts that are temptations in and of themselves are certainly not sins if the temptation is resisted. However, any book on Catholic Moral Theology, if it is true to the teachings of the Church, will state that thoughts leading to willful desires of sinful acts are sins regardless of whether the act is physically committed or not.
This is what one finds, for example, about the sins of lust in Prummers’ Moral Theology – specifically the treatises on thoughts and the vices contrary to temperance and chastity. The key here is the will. We have free will to be with God or against Him. This is what Our Lord is referring to in the aforementioned text in Matthew.
Accordingly, when the present day pastoral care for homosexual does not state publicly the correct doctrine, but says that there are healthy aspects of homosexuality, as was done by a former priest from the Penn State Catholic Community, it is stating a heresy! It encourages an inclination (to a lifestyle) that is an occasion of serious sin. As Catholics, we were taught to avoid such occasions at all costs. We need to be taught that again, especially by our Bishops. We answer ultimately to God, Who is Perfect Truth that must be proclaimed uncompromisingly. That and only that demonstrates genuine compassion for sinners. To forgive them, certainly we must do, but also to remind them that any Act of Contrition, if it is meaningful, states that I firmly resolve with the help of Thy Grace to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life, Amen!
The last is an absolute requirement, to make the effort to amend our lives in answer to the forgotten admonishment of Jesus to the Magdalens of the world after they are forgiven, that they should "go and sin no more."
A tolerance that opens the door to sexual perversions
What we have to understand is that the door is opened to the acceptance of sexual perversion as a civil right by agreeing that there is nothing wrong with being inclined to these acts. When you divorce the act itself from the inclination, you conveniently say that being inclined to aberrant behavior is all right, and we must leave all of those with these
inclinations alone since that would be an offense to their dignity.
Do we apply the same illogic to those inclined to alcoholism, kleptomania, sadism, masochism, pedophilia, et al.? Sanity says otherwise, but of course we no longer live in a sane world, given Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, and the American Psychiatric Association telling us that homosexuality, sadism, masochism, and pedophilia are no longer disorders. This is what was actually stated in a tortured version of the APA's Diagnostic and Statistic's Manual.
Tolerance has led to the unimaginable abomination of so-called homosexual marriages
This is the modus operandi of the militant homosexual movement: If it is given an inch, it will take a mile toward not only the promotion of homosexuality as a civil right, but also the making it a hate crime for anyone to say otherwise, in particular, that the inclination is objectively disordered.
When you ignore this fact, you're adding more fuel to a fire that is getting increasingly out of control.
What the “inclination” to homosexuality is?
In the context of Cardinal Ratzinger's 1986 directives to the world's Bishops, a person's inclination to homosexual behavior is objectively disordered (objectively morally reprehensible) because such behavior can never lead to a morally licit act.
It is not morally licit because the procreative and unitive aspects of sexuality are violated by the unnatural acts of homosexuality. This is why the Church teaches that any orientation to this behavior is objectively disordered, i.e., it is an orientation to a misuse of human sexuality, an orientation to acts that are sins against nature and God. The unitive aspect is violated because the plumbing doesn't work, i.e., man wasn't created physically for homosexual acts; the violation of the procreative aspect is a consequence of this fact.
Heterosexual attraction is natural to man and woman (Catholic Catechism, # 2333), while homosexual tendencies are unnatural. Heterosexual attraction is God-given, and for the vast majority of the human race, leads to marriage, children, and family; same-sex attractions are an objective disorder, but not sinful in themselves (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Statement, 1986, sect. 3).
One often hears this objection to the term "objective disorder" being applied to homosexual tendencies: "If a man lusts after a woman or vice-versa, this too is an objective disorder." This is not so, however, because if the man or woman controls this natural attraction and wills to express it in the natural state of marriage, it is a good thing, desired by the Creator. But if one has a sexual-genital attraction to another person of the same sex, it can never lead to a morally good act between the two individuals, but rather it will always lead to an immoral act. That is why it is called an objective disorder.
To say that the "Church does not ask homosexuals to deny their homosexuality" – as the aforementioned former Penn State priest said in the local paper – implies that somehow homosexuality is a gift from God – another obfuscation of Church teaching reinforced by the “latest” research on homosexuality and a person’s orientation toward it. The Church clearly teaches those inclined to homosexual lifestyles out of unconditional love for them that they are embarking down a road leading elsewhere than to salvation.
The word "orientation" has serious theological implications. If you believe that some people are essentially homosexual, you turn Christian anthropology on its head. Christianity holds that we are all heterosexual in our God-given nature, though some heterosexuals have a problem with same-sex attractions. If you believe that homosexuality is part of a person's nature, given by God, then homosexual acts become a fulfillment of a person's God-given nature. And that has never been the Catholic teaching.
The editors of the Catechism of the Catholic Church recognized this distinction. The original draft of the catechism (1994) was modified in 1998 to refer to homosexuality as an "inclination which is objectively disordered."
The homosexual condition is neither normal nor natural. It remains an occasion of sin for which heroic chastity is necessary for avoidance. The same heroic chastity, I might add, that unmarried and married people need to avoid sin. There is no difference whatsoever.
As an aside, the phrase "sexual orientation" is problematic as there is absolutely no evidence that there is an innate homosexuality that defines the person with a finality that would exclude reparative therapy per the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). It is a phrase that evolved for political reasons – from sexual perversion to sexual deviancy to sexual preference – in the same manner that homosexuality was falsely characterized as being "gay". There is nothing gay about it per statements from the objective psychologists, psychiatrists, and behavioral scientists of NARTH as a result of many case studies.
A tolerance that generates intolerance
Noted Catholic moral theologian, Msgr. William Smith once commented on how "rights talk" and "tolerance" have reached intolerable proportions. He observed that G.K. Chesterton was right to say that tolerance is the only virtue common to those who don't believe in anything. What Msgr. Smith was referring to indirectly relates to the situation in the public arena where many believers are being coerced into supporting laws thattheir faith holds in anathema.
Somehow, this clarion call for unconditional tolerance conveniently excludes those who, for reasons of faith, cannot welcome the sin with the sinner. Moreover, they are certainly not required to do so following any sane reading of Sacred Scripture and Church tradition that does not erase significant portions of the Bible or Church teaching to accommodate the current vices in vogue.
Above, Lot's wife became a pillar of salt for her tolerance. The same tolerance is being repeated today
The Church is aware that the view that homosexuality is equivalent to or acceptable as the sexual expression of conjugal love in marriage has a direct impact on society's understanding of nature and the rights of the family, and it puts them in jeopardy. The Church cannot budge from that position because the promotion of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle is not really a neutral advocacy. The only sexual relationship that enjoys the sanction of civil law in our society is stable marriage and family life. We have no special laws for fornicators. We have no special protected zones of advocacy for adulterers.
What kind of message do we send to children growing up? If we send an ambiguous or ambivalent message, a message that human sexuality - whether it's normal or deviant - is like being right or left handed, we are sending a very dangerous message leading to physical as well as spiritual destruction.
Law functions as a teacher that instructs what we approve and disapprove in society. Thus, to imply that "sexual orientation" is equated with immutable natural characteristics or constitutionally protected behavior says that being inclined to a behavior that is an intrinsic moral evil is OK, and there is nothing wrong with inclinations that are objectively disordered (morally reprehensible).
What we must never lose sight of is that we're talking about a disordered form of behavior to which no one has any conceivable right. If there is no right, there can be no discrimination with regard to opposing this behavior.
Every parent with an IQ in double figures knows that growing up with extra burdens, additional confusions, is not good for children. Sending wrong signals in our society will only complicate their lives. If we can't affirm the normative position of stable, heterosexual marriage and a family life of "mother, father, and children," then our society will become a footnote in history - like so many others that destroyed themselves from within.
The late Justice Brennan, in order to give benefits to illegitimate children, said that marriage was a legally impermissible category. If you want to give food lunches to illegitimate as well as legitimate kids, there must be some way to do so without justifying it by a radical statement like Brennan's.
Similarly, if you want to discourage the harassment of students, there is a way to do so without legitimizing objectively disordered inclinations to deviant acts by equating universally recognized normative, immutable natural characteristics and constitutionally protected acts with universally recognized aberrant behavior. This is behavior that is unanimously and categorically condemned through millennia by religious tradition and Sacred Scripture. The condemnations have different contexts but always come to the same conclusion. The early Fathers of the Church are in total agreement with Pauline Epistles and Genesis on this matter.
Family should always be considered in the promulgation of our laws that are rooted in Natural Law, which is a participation in the Eternal Law of God. The Ten Commandments can be considered an early warning system. They are not the ten suggestions. If you obey them, you will flourish; if not, you will participate in your own destruction. Where are the societies that have played fast and loose with the Commandments, stable marriage and family life? I'll tell you where they are, they "used to be."
What's happening in local churches is a microcosm of the world at large, where Catholics are fighting a culture war for souls, in particular, the souls of their children. They need the support of their Church in giving a clear witness to the Faith at a time when confusion reigns supreme, thanks to the father-of-lies. Satan's most effective ploy is to sow dissension within the Body of Christ, in particular, making it acceptable to dissent from the Magisterium of Christ's Church.
Posted May 14, 2004
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