Equivalent Love, Acceptance and Justice
Today the topic of homosexuality is often a controversial one around the world, but one that arises frequently none the less. It is becoming more and more socially acceptable for people all over the world to be open about their sexual orientations towards people of the same sex. It is now very clear and apparent that homosexuals worldwide come from all walks of life and take on nearly every single occupation and career. Many homosexuals have even come to make life long commitments to a single partner and raise families. However, homosexuals are repeatedly refused equal rights as heterosexuals, and are often discriminated against because of their sexual preferences. As an America, same sex marriage is a topic I hear almost daily when I am home. People all over my country are refused legal marriage licenses despite the fact that they live very similar lives to heterosexual couples and often raise children. Furthermore, as a Catholic I often hear condemnation of homosexuality, and even hear many people from my religion urging the government to continue to ban same sex marriage. Having many gay friends and acquaintances, and a homosexual uncle, the actions and thoughts of people in my country often upset me, and my religions teachings towards homosexuality sometimes confuse me. Therefore, I have researched the position of the Roman Catholic Church regarding not only homosexuality, but also same sex marriages. Throughout this essay, I will give an unbiased explanation of the Churches teachings that date back to the time of the Old Testament.
The Roman Catholic Church maintains that homosexual orientations are not necessarily sinful, but are “disordered” (Catechism). However, the church preserves that all homosexual activity is immoral and most often sinful (Catechism). The Vatican uses a very particular theological framework based in scripture to defend its strong stance against homosexuality. While traditionally the Church has adopted a strict policy of total rejection regarding homosexuality, in 1976 the Vatican came to accept that not all homosexuals’ sexual orientations are by choice, but rather many (most) homosexuals are born with their sexual preferences (Pope). Therefore, the church does not condemn sexual orientation without sexual action as sinful.
According to Catholic Doctrine, the stance that the Catholic Church has taken on homosexuality at first glance seems to be contradictory. After all, the Roman Catholic belief is that God created everything that is. Therefore, for those homosexuals who are born with their sexual orientation, did God not create them that way? When confronted with this issue, the Vatican not only acknowledges the fact that indeed God did create many people with homosexual orientations, but the Church also offers recommendations on how such people should live their lives. The church suggest that all people born with homosexual desires try to “correct” their homosexual “disorders,” by living a chaste life (Catechism). The church teaches that sexuality is a gift from God, and that creating both males and females is an essential part of God’s plan for humans to participate in his divine plan of love and life (Catechism). However, the Roman Catholic Church also believes that just like all gifts and freedoms of God, the sexuality of every person – despite his or her sexual preferences, can be challenged toward good or evil (Congegration).
While chastity may seem to be an extreme alternative, the Roman Catholic Church has very deep beliefs on sexuality based in scripture, and has exceptionally strict rules when it comes to sexual intercourse. However, in order to discuss the Catholic Church’s condemnation of homosexual acts, the Church’s position and beliefs regarding marriage must first be discussed. According to church doctrine, proper marriage only occurs between a man and a woman. The Vatican believes that a marriage takes place when one man and...
Cited: Catechism of the Catholic Church. Washington, D.C.: United States Catholic Conference, 1994: nos. 2357-2359. www.Fordham.edu/libraries
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, 1986, no. 12
Pope John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation on the Family (Familiaris Consortio). Washington, D.C.: United States Catholic Conference, 1981
Yip, Andrew K. "Dare to Differ: Gay and Lesbian Catholic 's Assessment of Official Catholic Position of Sexuality." Sociology of Religion 58 (1997): 165-80. JSTOR. Fordham University Walsh Library, New York. 14 Oct. 2008. Keyword: Roman Catholic Homosexuality.
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