The following was posted August 22 on CatholicLane.com.
[From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:]
“The Church loves men and women living with same-sex attraction; but she has always defined “marriage” as a life-long, male-female relationship, open to bringing new life into the world. That is her Faith.”
As you read that last line, I bet you recalled hearing someone say, “But Jesus never spoke a word against same-sex marriage!” I’ve heard it too, from fellow Christians. The assertion is that Christianity’s two thousand year history of opposition to same-sex relationships has been misguided. (Never mind everything St. Paul wrote on the subject [Rom.1:21-32, 1 Cor.6:9-11] under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.)
Marc Barnes countered this argument from the silence of Jesus in a recent blog, noting how Jesus never uttered a word against rape, suicide, or pedophilia either; but to “assume a man’s approval of everything he doesn’t mention is silliness to the highest degree.” All of those issues, homosexual relationships included, were settled matters in Jesus’ first century Palestine; He would have been wasting His breath. As I read the Gospel passage the other day (Mt.19:3-12, August 17) however, I realized how Jesus’ words do undercut any question of same-sex “marriage” occurring in the Church.
Stay with me for a couple of minutes:
Jesus’ stance on marriage was strong. When the Pharisees asked Him whether it was lawful for a man to give his wife a bill of divorce He responded, “The Creator ‘made them male and female … a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’ … So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate” (Mt.19:4-6).
The apostles were stunned when He went on to say that only death could dissolve a (valid) marriage, and how anyone who divorced and remarried lived in adultery. “If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry!” (Mt.19:10 ) Jesus didn’t back-pedal; they had understood Him just fine. That was marriage in the Kingdom – marriage as it was before humanity’s Fall. Jesus knew it would be difficult, “Not all can accept this word, but only those to whom that is granted” (19:11).
Pay attention to what Jesus said next: “Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven” (19:12). A man’s ability to be united to his wife, sexually, was what made him a candidate for marriage. If he was unable to achieve sexual union because of a) birth defect, b) castration, or c) a vow of celibacy; then marriage was not his vocation.
The foundation of Jesus’ whole argument is biological. Unless “a man” and “his wife … become one flesh,” there is no valid marriage. For Jesus, and for anyone committed to His teachings, it is impossible to speak of a “Christian same-sex marriage.” Jesus’ words rule it out absolutely. The parameters for marriage between Christians, the parameters for a sacramental marriage, have been set by Jesus and cannot be changed. “Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will never pass away” (Lk.23:33)….
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