The Catholic Church and Its Views on Homosexuality

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On November 14th, 2009, Canada’s first openly gay Catholic priest, Father Karl Clemens, married his long time partner in Toronto, Ontario. Clemens, who is close to seventy, retired from the Kingston, Ontario diocese after 33 years of service and moved to Toronto to advocate for the city’s gay village. Clemens stated that he was as prepared to handle the inevitable backlash from the Church and some of its followers as he was when he declared his sexual orientation in 2005, and strongly believes that homosexuals deserve to exercise their right to enter into same-sex marriage. (Weese) It is currently estimated that 1 to 3% of the population engage in homosexual acts, however, it was previously suggested that at least 10% of the population was of homosexual orientation. Unfortunately, these studies were flawed indefinitely. (Jones, 249) Topics in this essay will include: the historical views of homosexuality including what Biblical texts state regarding this issue, as well as specific documentation from the Vatican pertaining to this subject. Furthermore, I will discuss former Pope John Paul II and current Pope Benedict XVI’s position on homosexuality, as well as homosexuality within the clergy of the Catholic Church. I will then examine specific literature criticizing the Church’s teachings on homosexuality, and finally gay and lesbian Catholics who are subjected to discrimination within the Church for their sexual preference. Although there has been a growing acceptance among certain Christian denominations regarding homosexuality in modern society, the Catholic Church holds a firm position on this subject that is, “Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.” (Baird, 204) It is evident then that although the Catholic Church does not condemn homosexual orientation, it also does not condone homosexual activity. Homosexuality in Biblical Text

The Bible has always been an important resource in Christian moral thinking. For some, it has been the source of morality as well as principle; for others rather, it has been an aid to moral judgment. Among Catholics, the picture is more mixed. More recently, accompanying the revival of biblical studies in the Catholic Church, there has been a renewed emphasis on the Bible as the basis of morality. The relation between the Bible and homosexual activity are presented in the following texts which explicitly condemn these acts. Old Testament

In Genesis 19: 1-11, the deterioration due to sin continues in the story of the men of Sodom. It is here that readers, including those in positions of authority in the Church have seen a reference to homosexuality: the men of Sodom want to have sexual relations with the two visitors, who are themselves, men. The men of Sodom, are, it is claimed, expressing homosexual desire, and it is for this that they and the city of Sodom, as well as the neighbouring city of Gomorrah, are destroyed. There can be no doubt of the moral judgement made here against homosexual relations. (Moore, 69) Leviticus 18:22 says, “With a male you shall not lie the lyings of a woman; it is an abomination.” In Leviticus 20:13, the condemnation is repeated in another form, “A man who lies with a male the lyings of a woman, they have done an abomination, the two of them. They shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.” Biblical scholars agree that the meanings of these passages are obvious: they condemn homosexual activity. (Moore, 74) New Testament

In Romans 1:26-7, St. Paul paints a very unflattering picture of Gentile society, including the alleged fact that, ...their females exchanged the natural use for that which is against nature, and the males likewise abandoned the natural of the female and burned their desire for each other, males committing what is shameful with males and receiving among...
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