The Church and the Legal Recognition of Homosexual Unions

This article is the final installment of a five-part series written by Fr Linus Clovis.  It should be read in the context of his previous posts on Same Sex Attraction.  You can read the previous parts to this series by following these links:  Homosexual Struggle; Categories of Homosexuality; Same Sex Attraction:  A Catholic Perspective, Homosexuality is Destructive to the Individual and Society. 

The Catholic Church is the only institution that can and has confronted and challenged the presuppositions of the ideological constructs on which modern secular society is built.  This becomes more evident as the media, universities, governmental and international bodies such as the UN and legislatures push an agenda calling for homosexual marriages.

It is true that private individuals and many religious communities are and have opposed this call but their stance is generally on grounds of faith which, of course, has no traction with non-believers.  This is not to deny that there are also secular bodies and non-believers who see the call for same sex marriage as the iceberg on which the social Titanic might well founder.

The Catholic Church, basing her argument firmly on the twin pillars of divine Revelation and the Natural Law that is written on every human heart (Rom.1:20), issued a document in 2003, entitled Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons.  In §2, the Church noted that, since the Creator has established marriage 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.”

Thus, the Church proclaims the certainty that no ideology can ever abrogate what God has imprinted in the human nature to the extent that humanity would doubt that marriage could be anything other than between a man and a woman.  She also espouses the altruism of the personal gift of self to the other that bears fruit in the emergence of another and utterly new being, who is so alike and yet different.

Mining the rich deposits of Revelation, the Church discerns in the creation account of Genesis the three fundamental elements that constitute a true marriage.

The first is sexual complementarity where each sex supplies to the other those things the other lacks.  Man who is created in the image of God, was created “male and female” (Gen 1:27), so that men and women are equal as persons and complementary as male and female. Sexuality is something that pertains to the physical-biological realm yet, it has been raised in human beings to a new level – the personal level – where nature and spirit are united.

The second is the formation of a new community.  The Creator instituted marriage as a form of social life in which by use of the sexual faculty a communion of persons is achieved. This truth is expressed in the declaration “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife and they become one flesh” (Gen2:24).

The third element of a true marriage is that of fecundity, in as much as God has willed to give the union of man and woman a special participation in his work of creation. Thus, he blessed the man and the woman with the words “Be fruitful and multiply” (Gen 1:28). Therefore, in the Creator’s plan, sexual complementarity and fruitfulness, whether potential or actual, belong to the very nature of marriage.

Furthermore, Christ elevated the marital union of man and woman to the dignity of a sacrament, so that Christian marriage might be efficacious sign of the covenant between Christ and the Church as is expounded in the Letter to the Ephesians (5:32).

The document concludes that, in light of the constitutive elements of marriage, 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.”   The two cannot even be compared since homosexual acts not only “do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity” but they actually “close the sexual act to the gift of life.” Additionally, given the sacredness of human life and the Creator’s blessing upon its font, the contrast between the holiness of marriage and homosexual acts, going as they do against the Natural Law, is stark and consequently, “under no circumstances can they be approved.” §4

There is a radical difference between homosexual behaviour as a private phenomenon and the same behaviour as a foreseen and lawfully approved relationship in society where it becomes one of the institutions in the legal structure.  The Church in addressing the issue of the legal recognition of homosexual unions notes that “civil laws are structuring principles of man’s life in society, for good or for ill.”   Law is an ordinance according to reason promulgated by one in authority for the common good.  Basically, this means that to be just and therefore lawful and valid, a law cannot benefit a minority at the expense of the majority.  Further, as the document notes laws “play a very important and sometimes decisive role in influencing patterns of thought and behaviour.”

There is therefore reason to be concerned when the institution of marriage, which is available to every man and woman, is tampered with to accommodate the lifestyle choices of a few, that is, less than 2% of the population.  The law is also didactic to the extent that, in general, people conform not only their external behaviour but also their attitudes, values and opinions to them, which in turn impacts on the wider society.  Again the document neatly sums this up in §6 as

“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.”

The continued existence of the human race, as with every other species on earth depends absolutely and uniquely on procreation and so, from both a biological and anthropological perspective, the homosexual lifestyle is untenable since “such unions are not able to contribute in a proper way to the procreation and survival of the human race.” §7  Further, the document continues “Society owes its continued survival to the family, founded on marriage” and the “legal recognition of homosexual unions would redefine marriage by disassociating it from the procreation and raising of children to the grave detriment to the common good.” §8.

The State’s interest in marriage arises from its concern for the rearing of children on which its own future depends.  Thus, despite the fact that some couples are infertile, or have no intention of having a family, the State has always heavily regulated marriage, for the very simple reason that stable families are beneficial to it. So historically, whether for the tribe or for the most sophisticated state, marriage had very little to do with love or sex, and everything to do with society’s stability.

The strong link between marriage and procreation, however, has been broken with the advent of the contraceptive pill and its accessories.  The downplaying of the procreative aspect of marriage has resulted in the happiness of the married couple, rather than the good of the children or of the social order, becoming marriage’s primary end, with disastrous consequences. When married persons care more about themselves than their responsibilities to their children and society, they become more willing to abandon these responsibilities, leading to broken homes, a plummeting birth-rate, and countless other social pathologies that have become rampant over the last 40 years. Homosexual marriage is not the cause for any of these pathologies, but it will exacerbate them, as the granting of marital benefits to a category of sexual relationships that are necessarily sterile can only widen the separation between marriage and procreation.

From a legal aspect, the Church points out that “because married couples ensure the succession of generations and are therefore eminently within the public interest, civil law grants them institutional recognition.” §9   Homosexual unions, however, do not contribute to the future and so, in the final analysis, State recognition would merely “sacrifice the common good and just laws on the family in order to protect personal goods.”

The greatest danger homosexual civil marriage presents is the enshrining into law the notion that sexual love, regardless of its fecundity, is the sole criterion for marriage. If the State must recognize a marriage of two men simply because they love one another, upon what basis can it deny marital recognition to a group of two men and three women, for example, or a brother and sister who claim to love each other? Homosexual activists protest that they only want equal treatment for all couples. But why is sexual love between two people more worthy of State sanction than love between three, or five? When the purpose of marriage is procreation, the answer is obvious. If sexual love becomes the primary purpose, the restriction of marriage to couples loses its logical basis, leading to marital chaos.

The Church’s teaching on the Legal Recognition of Homosexual Unions is expressed in the conclusion that states

“respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour 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 behaviour, 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.” §11

A person is more than his or her sexuality.  The Church, recognising that sexuality is an essential part of the person but not the sole defining element of the person, tells us authoritatively that “the human person, made in the image and likeness of God, can hardly be adequately described by a reductionist reference to his or her sexual orientation.”

Every one living on the face of the earth has personal problems and difficulties, but challenges to growth, strengths, talents and gifts as well. Today, the Church provides a badly needed context for the care of the human person when she refuses to consider the person as a “heterosexual” or a “homosexual” and insists that every person has a fundamental identity: the creature of God, and by grace, His child and heir to eternal life.

Documents issued by Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:

Homosexuality is Destructive to the Individual and Society

This article is part four of a five-part series written by Fr Linus Clovis.  It should be read in the context of his previous posts on Same Sex Attraction.  You can read the previous parts to this series by following these links:  Homosexual StruggleCategories of HomosexualitySame Sex Attraction:  A Catholic Perspective.

In a world that elevates the individual at the expense of the community, the title may appear exaggerated.  In a world where the particular lifestyle choice of minorities overrides that of the majority, it may even seem unreasonable. To the myopic always ready to compromise, it is extreme.

Active homosexuality is not an alternative lifestyle but an abnormal lifestyle that has been traditionally condemned by most religious and civil authorities.  It has been judged immoral by the majority of people, though in modern times, where freedom is sometimes equated with licence, that is, freedom to behave without restraint, the media argues that morality should not be legislated.  In fact, while not all moral values can or should be legislated, there is nothing to legislate but morality.   A speed law is a moral legislation: “thou shalt not drive so fast as to endanger life and limb.”

Since religion seeks to uphold God’s law and civil society the common good, they must both be necessarily seriously concerned in promoting a morally sound and healthy sexual conduct.

The Webster New Collegiate Dictionary defines sex as “the sum of the structural, functional and behavioural characteristics of living beings that subserve reproduction by two interacting parents and that distinguish male and female.”  In sheer pragmatic terms, sex is nature’s way of replenishing life.  As food maintains the existence of the individual, so sex ensures the continuance of the species.

As reason and experience have clearly shown, normal heterosexual activity is the only form of sexual activity that can guarantee a future for human life on earth and equally, heterosexual marriage is the only sexually active lifestyle that promotes the health and good order of human society.

The sacredness of human life implies that sex, its origin is sacred and should be protected and defended from corrupt and/or irresponsible use.  This principle has been recognised by every society and hence the taboos, laws and regulations that have surrounded sexual activity from time immemorial.

In general, homosexual acts are unnatural, sterile and destructive of the natural relationships between the sexes.  This is obvious from the fact that heterosexuals reproduce their kind by the use of sex, while active homosexuals multiply by the abuse of sex, by moral contagion and by seduction.

In particular, homosexual acts are contrary to the Law of God, to Catholic teaching, to life in the Spirit of Christ and to the good of the individual.

In regard to the Divine Law, it is to be noted that Sacred Scripture nowhere condemns the homosexual person but, in both the Old and New Testaments, it condemns homosexual acts. This is because, as was shown in my first article, no one can be held culpable for their orientation, but only for their freely chosen acts. It follows then that homosexual acts, being a choice, are contrary to the law of God, to the law of Christ and consequently to the Christian faith.

Homosexual acts are contrary to the teaching of the Catholic Church, which was established and commissioned by Christ to guard and interpret Revelation and the Natural Law.  Through its supreme teaching Authority, the Church has, over two millennia, consistently condemned homosexual acts as being a clear violation of Divine Law as is affirmed by the Scriptures and can be known through reason.  Homosexual acts, therefore, are against the Catholic faith.

Equally, they are contrary to the Spirit of Christ speaking not only through the Scriptures, but also through the hearts of holy men, women and children who, through the ages, have regarded the homosexual act with horror.  Among those of special mention are St Bernard, St. Catherine of Siena and the children of Fatima.

Homosexual acts are certainly against the good of the individual, since with rare exceptions such as the eating of pork, God forbids a thing because it is evil in itself.  When a person does something that God has forbidden, he sins not only in disbelieving and disobeying Him, but also by harming himself through an act that is inescapably harmful.  In technical terms, Biblical morality is intrinsicist, not nominalist, that is, a particular act is good or bad in itself and not because God says it is good or bad.

It may be helpful at this point to examine the essential elements of a right ordered love between sexual beings.

The friendship between persons of opposite sexes finds it high point in mutual enrichment through heterosexual marriage.  This mutual enrichment, blossoming at several levels, is best summed up by Adam’s gasp of wonder on seeing Eve: “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Gn.2:23  This wonder, lying dormant in every human heart, awaits the kiss of love to awaken it to a “self-liberating opening out to one of the opposite sex, who is so much like oneself and yet so different.”  It offers also the possibility of going beyond one’s own psychological perceptions to new perspectives that a person of one’s own sex cannot provide.  The sexual differences provide a complementarity that can be compared to a hand and glove, where two different things enhance each other to form a balanced whole, unlike the foot and sock.  There is a psychological complementarity that is experienced even during courtship when the stirrings of a deep physical and biological complementarity, calling for further and more intimate complementarity, are sensed and felt.

Melting is a primary characteristic of love as is declared in the Song of Songs “My soul melted when he spoke.” (5:6)  Before a things melts, it is hard and bounded together in itself but, when it melts, it is diffused and extends itself to another thing.  Heterosexual love demands the renunciation of one’s own self in order to embrace a self-giving union that enriches both the beloved and the self through the married state and the marriage act from which the gift of life beyond their own shared lives is received.  The mutual enrichment of heterosexual marriage consists also in nurturing that new life in the family circle, and giving now not only to the children but furnishing society itself with its basic building block and its future.

Two friends of same sex rightly express their friendship by a love that treats the other as an “other self.”  Integral to this is a respect for the mystery of the friend’s openness to the heterosexually complementary other self, that is, the friend’s wife or husband.  A true friend would not wish to exploit or corrupt the sexual powers, which are destined for the mutual enrichment of the friend and the friend’s present or future heterosexual marriage partner.

Homosexual liaisons, on the other hand, and the homosexual act itself deprive their devotees of these creative, integrative, self-liberating and mutually enriching experiences.  The liaison of a homosexual couple attempts to mimic marriage, but it cannot be a marriage since it lacks psychological complementarity found only in a healthy heterosexual relationship.  Further, it lacks sexual complementarity and so can neither signify healthy union nor give life.  The physical homosexual union offends both biology and reason and can never be anything but sterile, nor can it enrich society by providing future citizens, society’s basic building block.

The homosexual act comprises the worse of the other sexual abuses because, like premarital sex, it does not provide familial circumstances for enduring love or nurturing of children and, like contraceptive intercourse and heterosexual anal intercourse it is sterile.  Unlike these disorders, which can be corrected, the homosexual union cannot be corrected and, being unnatural, the only corrective is to abandon it.

The homosexual liaison and act, corrupting its practitioners at many levels, condemns them to a life of emptiness, depression and loneliness as George Eliot noted “No evil dooms us hopelessly except the evil we love, and desire to continue in, and make no effort to escape from.”

It corrupts spiritually because, rejecting the law of God and of nature, and seducing others into doing the same, it impedes the human growth necessary to support spiritual development.

It corrupts psychologically because, instead of working toward healing, it accepts and reinforces a condition of psychologically conflicted sexual energies and rejects the rich promise of heterosexual love.

It corrupts intellectually because it ignores and even denies the clear biological evidence that the act is perverted, and the psychological evidence that this sexual relationship with one of the same sex cannot provide the psychic complementarily which nature provides through a heterosexual mate.

It corrupts socially because not only does it fail to produce children, the building blocks and the future life of society but it also establishes a false lifestyle whose existence adds confusion to sexual roles and corrupts the morally weak, especially the young who are not yet firmly established in a normal sexual orientation.  It also adds insult to injury by casting suspicion on one of the best of all values, a close and devoted friendship between two persons of the same sex.

Homosexuality is morally corrupting for all the foregoing reasons and, therefore, is destructive of the individual and the society.  Consequently, it is religiously condemned, spiritually corrupt, ontologically absurd, psychologically conflicted, intellectually indefensible, procreatively impotent, sexually deviant, socially disruptive, maritally impossible and so, for the liberation of those trapped in it and for the sake of the common good, it should be returned to the closet.

Same Sex Attraction: Homosexual Struggle

This article is part three of a five part series on Same Sex Attraction: A Catholic Perspective, and should be read in that context.  You can read the other articles in this series by clicking on the following links:  Same Sex Attraction:  A Catholic Perspective; Categories of Homosexuality; Homosexuality is Destructive to the Individual and Society.

Deep within each and every one of us, a personal struggle exists; a struggle eloquently described by St Paul in his Letter to the Romans (7:14-23)

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin.  I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate….  I can will what is right, but I cannot do it.   For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.  …   For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members.

There are few of us who have not had and therefore cannot identify with this experience.  We know we were created to live like angels but, left to ourselves, we behave worse than beasts.  God’s grace, however, is always available for those who call upon Him as Augustine of Hippo discovered.  Struggling constantly against the diktats of an immoral life, he became not only a most worthy bishop of Hippo but also the greatest of the Four Doctors of the Western Church.

It has already been established that no one is culpable for a psychological condition towards which one did not contribute, yet it must be clearly stated that a psychological condition gives no one the right to engage in sinful actions.  The short tempered person needs to avoid anger and violence, no less than the alcoholic drink, the kleptomaniac theft, those “in love” fornication and adultery and the homosexually oriented homosexual actions.   “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.”  1Cor.6:9-10.  We are not responsible for our unprovoked impulses to sin, but we are responsible for our sins.  The former are only evil inclinations, but the latter are willing acceptance of evil acts.  The corollary follows that those who did not contribute to their condition are not sinners but victims of sin.

If we can grasp the situation of a man who does not intend to get drunk but does, or the boy and girl who intend only to kiss and end up doing what they never intended, we will understand that, in moments of passion, homosexual persons too act impulsively.  Objectively, there is sin but subjectively the guilt is lessened because of lack of full consent of the will.  Even apart from moments of passion, many, if not most, homosexuals are driven to compulsive neurotic homosexual acts which they would be only too happy to stop if they were free to do so.  A compulsion is an impulse to engage in an act which one cannot simply will to go away.  The impulse is neither desired nor accepted.  Although the act may temporarily bring relief of what seems unbearable tension, it makes the compulsive person fearful, anxious and depressed because he feels out of control.

Whilst recognising the possibility of the compulsive nature of homosexuality, the Church wisely warns against exaggeration: “What is at all costs to be avoided is the unfounded and demeaning assumption that the sexual behaviour of homosexual persons is always and totally compulsive and therefore inculpable.  What is essential is that the fundamental liberty which characterises the human person and gives him his dignity be recognised as belonging to the homosexual person as well.  As in every conversion from evil, the abandonment of homosexual activity will require a profound collaboration of the individual with God’s liberating grace.”

For homosexuals, the common human struggle is particularly acute because what is claimed is the right to sexually engage another person of the same gender.  However, the fact that the more sex he gets the less fulfilling it becomes suggests that the homosexual is searching for something that lies outside the realm of physical sex per se.  Indeed, the psychoanalysts, Drs. Karen Horney and Clara Thompson hold that homosexuality is fundamentally a symptom of “character problem,” that is, it is a consequence of unresolved problems of dependency, aggression, and early familial disturbances, all covertly expressed through same-sex relationships.  Other professionals see homosexuality as a search for and a struggle to achieve a more adequate masculine identity.

Contrary to popular opinion most homosexuals are not gender confused.  They do not want to be women, nor lesbians men.  They know they are men and they are content being men, but at the inner core of their being they feel weak, inadequate and incomplete as a man. Hence their fruitless search to find in another man the “missing” part of themselves.  Even though, physiologically speaking, the homosexual is quite capable of engaging in normal heterosexual intercourse, emotionally and mentally he feels he cannot compete with other men in the sexual sphere and in the world at large.  This is revealed in the homosexual drive for anonymous sex that has nothing to do with genuine sexual attraction between compatible people, but rather, manifesting unresolved power issues, the relationships tend to be structured in terms of dominance and submission.

The homosexual struggle is also with and against the society, which is now being coerced into accepting as natural an act that cannot benefit it with new members.  No nation has ever claimed the homosexual orientation for itself. The Spartans blamed the Dorians, the Athenians the Spartans.  Both claimed it originated in Crete. The Persians ascribed it to the Medes and the Romans referred to it as the Greek vice. The West blamed the East, the Crusaders the Muslims, the Anglo-Saxons the Normans, the Dutch the French, the French the English and, dare I say, blacks the whites?  Traditionally, homosexual acts have been viewed as one of the many deviant acts any man is theoretically capable of performing.  When viewed historically, homosexual practices in a given society have generally coincided with periods of political, social, familial and economic upheaval and instability, conditions normally associated with wars or natural disasters.

Like everyone else, homosexual persons are called to holiness.  Through a heroic struggle to please God homosexual persons can, despite their psychosexual orientation, become saints and even great saints.  If those struggling with a homosexual orientation were to embrace St Augustine’s great insight that God permits evil because He is powerful enough to bring great good from it, then the light of Him who takes “no pleasure in the death of the sinner, but rather in the sinner’s conversion, that he may and live” (Ezek.33:11) would illumine their lives and fill them with hope of a final and lasting victory as He brings good, and indeed salvation, out of what is a greatly distressing psychosexual evil.  Our Christian duty demands not only that we offer support, understanding, encouragement and help to our struggling brothers and sisters but that we also speak the truth in charity (Eph.4:15).

Same Sex Attraction: Categories of Homosexuality

This is the second part of Fr Clovis’ paper on Same Sex Attraction:  A Catholic Perspective.  To read the first part of his paper “Is Homosexuality a sin?”  please click here.

B.  Categories of homosexuality

The desires and experiences of individual human beings, like the ideologies and history of the human race, are not black and white and hence, it is always necessary that circumspection be paramount in the approach to resolving controversial issues.

Whereas President Barack Obama has claimed an evolving understanding of the homosexual phenomenon, the Church, combining the accumulated wisdom of two thousand years with the scientific discoveries of modern times, has a developing socio-psycho-pastoral approach emerging from a theological understanding of this most controversial issue.

Specifically, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the Church’s official voice on all theological matters, in addressing the issue of homosexuality notes that a distinction can be made between two categories of homosexuals.  Namely, between

  1. “homosexuals whose tendency comes from a false education, from a lack of normal sexual development, from habit, from bad example, or from other similar causes, and is transitory or at least not incurable;” and
  2. “homosexuals who are definitively such because of some kind of innate instinct or a pathological constitution judged to be incurable.”

Scientific research has identified some of the formative factors that are likely to lead to the development of a homosexual orientation.  The teenage years can be a stage of great insecurity for some people and more so with the capricious energies released by hormonal changes.  It is already recognised that sex education that presents the mechanics of sex devoid of morality, far from reducing promiscuity, in fact, encourages it, hence the emphasis is now more on avoiding the consequences rather than cease the activity.  A false education that presents sex as a purely recreational activity can open the way for a person to indulge in homosexuality. This is so because familiarity with and sympathy for the homosexual lifestyle can lead to a personal acceptance of it.  As the poet Alexander Pope sagaciously observed and lyrically expressed:

Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,

As to be hated needs but to be seen;

Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,

We first endure, then pity, then embrace.

Equally, a person may be seduced or recruited into homosexual activity by predatory homosexuals as many case studies have shown.  For the young the danger lies in curiosity and lust, which also opens them up to prostitution.  Pornography, which is not only addictive but also is progressively more demanding in the type of material required for satisfaction, is another important factor in the life of homosexuals.

In line with the latest authoritative scientific research, the CDF notes that a homosexual orientation can in some cases be altered.  Indeed, there are now numerous organisations, religious and non-religious, such as Courage and Exodus International, in existence to help homosexuals overcome their orientation.  The Church equally recognises that just as not all physical, emotional and psychological disabilities can be cured, so also there are cases of homosexuals with a pathological condition that, at present, cannot be altered.  This group ought to be of particular concern in any authentic Christian pastoral activity.

In developing a sound Christian approach to homosexuality, it is necessary then to distinguish between those who

1.      have a homosexual orientation;

2.      believe that homosexual acts are sometimes morally permissible;

3.      perform homosexual acts;

4.      are pederasts (i.e. who practise homosexuality with boys);

5.      promote homosexuality.

In the first part of this paper, the question of the sinfulness of homosexuality was examined and a distinction was made between the orientation and the act.  Whilst the homosexual orientation is not in itself sinful, the acts are.  Human compassion clearly demands that help, sympathy and support should be offered to those suffering from such an orientation and are struggling against it.

Regarding the other positions, attitudes and actions listed above, the Church clearly states that these are immoral and must in no way be condoned since they pose a serious threat to both the individual and society.  Homosexual acts are by their very nature sinful, whether performed by homosexuals because of orientation or by heterosexuals for money or because of circumstances such as imprisonment.  Regarding children, there are at least three categories of child abusers.  First, there is the paedophile who is an adult with a sexual attraction to prepubescent children, usually of the opposite sex.  Second, the pederast, literally a boy lover, is an adult male who is attracted by prepubescent boys, while the third, the ephebophile is attracted by post-pubescent boys.  Thus, the recent clerical sex scandal in the Catholic Church is not due to paedophilia but to pederasty.  That is, since the vast majority of the boys attacked were teenagers, the scandal is homosexual in nature and in origin.  This reveals two things: first, the colonisation of the Catholic priesthood by homosexuals and second, what can be expected to happen in the general population should homosexuality become socially acceptable.  These two issues will be explored in subsequent articles.

The bottom line is that all sexual acts outside of marriage are sinful including homosexual acts of which pederasty is particularly heinous.  While those who promote homosexuality or believe homosexual acts can in certain circumstances be morally permissible may not themselves be homosexual, their attitude, according to St Paul, makes them culpable sharers in the sin of homosexuality: “Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them.” Rom.1:32.  The correct attitude is to point out the sin, to instruct, to advise and to warn, even at the risk of being called judgemental, for St James tells us that “My brethren, if any one among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” Jam.5:19-20.

Click here to read part one of Same Sex Attraction:  A Catholic Perspective.