President & Coordinator of the World Apostolate of Fatima in Africa
The Catholic weekly “Independent” of Sunday 12th July, 2015 carried a front page news captioned “Catholic Bishops Affirm Stand on Marriage”. According to the paper, Nigerian leaders have been called upon to shun all pressures and protect the citizenry “from the growing but dangerous influence of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender propaganda”. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria made this call, reiterating the Church’s stand on “same-sex” marriage, which the Conference described as sad, unjust and lamentable. In a press release jointly signed by Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, former President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria and Most Rev. William Avenya, Bishop of Gboko Diocese (Nigeria) appealed to all stakeholders “to become faithful gatekeepers by protecting the public from infiltration of this propaganda … spread through various media and fora”. The objective of this article is to present the unchanging teaching of the Catholic Church on homosexual unions and to highlight why such unions are harmful and must be opposed.
The Catholic Church believes that God is the author of marriage and teaches that it is a covenant between a man and a woman which is by its nature ordered toward the procreation and education of children and the unity and wellbeing of the spouses. The Church’s teaching on marriage and on the complementarity of the sexes reiterates a truth that is evident to right reason and recog¬nized as such by all the major cultures of the world. Marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. It was established by the Crea¬tor with its own nature, essential properties and purpose. 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.
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. 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 fac¬ulty. “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 spe¬cial participation in his work of creation. Thus, He blessed the man and the woman with the words “Be fruitful and multiply” (Gen 1:28). There¬fore, in the Creator’s plan, sexual complementarity and fruitfulness be¬long to the very nature of marriage. Furthermore, the marital union of man and woman has been el¬evated 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). The promoters of same-sex “marriage” propose something entirely different. They propose the union between two men or two women. This denies the self-evident biological, physiological, and psychological differences between men and women which find their complementarity in marriage. It also denies the specific primary purpose of marriage: the perpetuation of the human race and the raising of children. It is evident therefore that same-sex “marriage” is not marriage at all but an unnatural union shamelessly entered into by homosexuals. There are many reasons why same-sex unions or so-called “marriages” should be condemned and why any attempt to permit them or legalise them should be resisted: The first and most important rea- son is that it offends God.
Whenever one violates the natural moral order established by God, one sins and offends God. Samesex “marriage” does just this. Accordingly, anyone who professes to love God must be opposed to it. Marriage is not the creature of any State. Rather, it was established by God in Para- dise for our first parents, Adam and Eve. As we read in the Book of Genesis: “God created man in His image; in the Divine image he created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them, saying: ‘Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it’” (Gen. 1:28-29). The same was taught by Our Saviour Je- sus Christ: “From the beginning of the cre- ation, God made them male and female. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother; and shall cleave to his wife.” (Mark 10:6-7). Genesis also teaches how God punished Sodom and Gomorrah for the sin of homosexuality: “The Lord rained down sulphurous fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah.
He overthrew those cities and the whole Plain, together with the inhabitants of the cities and the produce of the soil” (Gen. 19:24-25). Marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. It is a relationship rooted in human nature and thus governed by natural law. Same-sex “marriage” violates natural law. Any situation which institutionalizes the circumvention of the purpose of the sexual act violates natural law and the objective norm of morality. The Bible condemns homosexuality as an immoral and unnatural sin. Leviticus 18:22 identifies homosexual sex as an abomina- tion, a detestable sin. Romans 1:26-27 de- clares homosexual desires and actions to be shameful, unnatural, lustful, and indecent. 1 Corinthians 6:9 states that homosexuals are unrighteous and will not inherit the kingdom of God. Since both homosexual desires and actions are condemned in the Bible, it is clear that homosexuals “marrying” is not God’s will, and would be, in fact, sinful. Whenever the Bible mentions marriage, it is between a male and a female.
The first mention of marriage, Genesis 2:24, describes it as a man leaving his parents and being united to his wife. In passages that contain instructions regarding marriage, such as 1 Corinthians 7:2-16 and Ephesians 5:23-33, the Bible clearly identifies marriage as being between a man and a woman. Biblically speaking, marriage is the lifetime union of a man and a woman, primarily for the purpose of building a family and providing a stable environment for that family. Same-sex “marriage” denies a child either a father or a mother and ignores his best interests. It is in the child’s best interests that he be raised under the influence of his natural father and mother. This rule is confirmed by the evident difficulties faced by the many children who are orphans or are raised by a single parent, a relative, or a foster parent. Homosexuals who are in an unnatural union or so-called “marriage” cannot beget children.
What they do is that they either adopt children begotten by other people or procure test-tube babies which they claim as their own. A child in the care of homosexuals in a same-sex “marriage” will always be de- prived of either his natural mother or fa- ther. He will necessarily be raised by one party who has no blood relationship with him. He will always be deprived of either a mother or a father role model. To give sanction to homosexual or samesex “marriage” would be to give approval to the homosexual lifestyle, which the Bible clearly and consistently condemns as sinful. Christians should stand firmly against the idea of homosexual or same-sex “marriage”. Further, there are strong and logical arguments against homosexual or samesex “marriage” from contexts completely separated from the Bible. One does not have to be a Christian to recognize that marriage is between a man and a woman.
According to the Bible, marriage is ordained by God to be between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:21-24; Matthew 19:4- 6). Gay “marriage” (same-sex “marriage”) is a perversion of the institution of mar- riage and an offense to the God who cre- ated marriage. As Christians, we are not to condone or ignore sin. Rather, we are to share the love of God and the forgiveness of sins that is available to all, including homosexuals, through Jesus Christ. We are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) and contend for truth with “gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). As Christians, when we make a stand for truth and the result is personal attacks, insults, and persecution, we should remember the words of Jesus: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” (John 15:18-19).
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 homosexu- al acts “as a serious deprav¬ity… (cf. Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10). This judgment of Scrip¬ture 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. Homosexual unions are totally lacking in the biological and anthro¬pological elements of marriage and family and are not able to contribute in a proper way to the procreation and survival of the human race. The possibility of using recently dis- covered methods of artificial reproduction, beyond involving a grave lack of respect for human dignity, does nothing to alter this inadequacy. Homosexual unions are also totally lacking in the conjugal dimen¬sion, 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 trans¬mission 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 father- hood or motherhood. Society owes its continued survival to the family, founded on mar¬riage. 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 chil¬dren. 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, any State that does so 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 be¬tween persons or refusing social recognition or benefits is unaccept¬able 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. If it is true that all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recog¬nition of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way, in keeping with their responsibility as politicians. The health hazards associated with homosexual anal intercourse are grave.
According to medical reports (Medical Institute of Sexual Health 1999), “Homosexual men are at significantly increased risk for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, anal cancer, gonorrhea and gastrointestinal infections”… “Women who have sex with women are at significantly increased risk of bacterial vaginosis, breast cancer and ovarian cancer than are heterosexual women”. The list of diseases found with extraordinary frequency among male homosexual practitioners as a result of anal intercourse is alarming: they include Anal Cancer, Chlamydia trachomatis, Cryptosporidium, Giardia lamblia, Herpes simplex virus, Human immunodeficiency virus, Human papil- loma virus, Isospora belli, Microsporidia, Gonorrhea, Viral hepatitis types B & C, and Syphilis. Sexual transmission of some of these diseases is so rare in the exclusively heterosexual population as to be virtually unknown. It is estimated that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adolescents are 3 times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual counterparts (quoted in Anionye 2015).
Homosexual passions and acts are unnatural, shameful, and deny entrance to the Kingdom of God: “For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due”. Romans 1:26-27 “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God”. — 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 That being so, homosexual passions and behaviour cannot be the basis of a Christian marriage sanctioned by God’s Church. The Church exists to save people, not to bless the means of their damnation.
No marriage can be sanctioned by the Church if the very basis of the marriage involves acts that put the couple outside of eternal salvation. No matter what any society may legislate, the law of God is clear—that a marriage is not a godly marriage if it is a same-sex union. Marriage is a fundamental social institution that does not exist just for the emo- tional satisfaction of two individuals but for the greater good of the community which stands under the blessing or curse of God. Societies that put emotional fulfillment be- fore right actions and principles will soon give way to a multitude of addictions and deep corruptions and collapse. God will judge any society that institutes same sex marriages. We cannot bend the principles of God’s Word to suit vocal minority groups.