Unoffensive S. Word

Let’s take a break and talk some politics. Just read the following interesting statement:

There are some arguments no reasonable person makes anymore. A person arguing that consensual gay sex is intrinsically immoral and perverse has disqualified themselves from reasonable debate. In mainstream society this is a settled question, and there’s no longer any need to answer such arguments anymore (except perhaps with a raised finger). –Barry Deutsch [Click HERE for the entire essay.]

In many circles, he’s right–that is, that this is considered a closed question.

…People with delicate sensibilities generally do not choose to study the question of what precisely distinguishes marriage as marriage.

Is it love? No. Love widely obtains between unmarried people, too—friends, relatives, etc.

Stable commitment? No. Stable commitment, too, obtains in many other relationships as well.

Legally binding contracts exist to ensure stable relationships. People commit to stable relationships in business, recreation, and other areas of social life. My credit-card company made a lifetime commitment to me over twenty years ago: “No membership fee for life.”

Discrete and modest people don’t like to think about the essence of marriage too much because: What actually does distinguish marriage as the stable commitment of love which it uniquely is…namely, S-E-X.

Marriage = exclusive lifetime commitment to having sex together.

No need to blush, really. Christ made this very thing a sign of heaven. But we do blush, because: Holy as it could have been in Eden, sex for fallen man prowls as a great monster that never sleeps.

Now, my point. A great temptation lies at hand, namely to greet the “same-sex marriage” battle cry with arguments that will never fully ring true, arguments that can easily be answered and nullified.

“For 3,000 years of recorded human history, marriage has been an institution between a man and a woman!” True enough.

But do these years of history present a flattering picture of the institution? Not always. And do they bind a particular young person of this generation to accept the tradition without question? No.

“Gay marriage demeans the institution! It’s bad for children!”

More so than divorce? More than infidelity, pornography, abandonment, or abuse?

The sacrament of Holy Matrimony shines with divine glory. The dappled history of human marriage sparkles with a lot of this beauty. But, upon inspection, it also offends the eye, a complicated mess. Holding up a placard with a picture of the Cleavers on it does not make a convincing argument against same-sex marriage.

Now, a reasonable, calm person with designs on living an admirable life can produce a pretty long list of sexual deeds that should never be done. It all comes down to this: God made making babies beautiful. Opening that particular door for any other purpose…well, the ugly selfishness of it depletes the soul of vigor.

The virtue of chastity perceives this, lives from it–thrives in this truth. A good life is a chaste life. Un-chastity causes pathetic slavery, dims the mind, lowers the horizons.

…For two men or two women to live together in the same house until death–this does not appear on any reputable list of sins. If someone wants to name a non-blood relation as an heir, or as a financial beneficiary of any kind—not a sin. We could even imagine circumstances in which two men or two women might take into their home a child whose parents could not care for him/her.

In other words, many of the trappings of “gay marriage” sit right alongside the trappings of mainstream married family life–as perfectly un-objectionable arrangements of love and friendship. Against true love and friendship there can never be a just law.

Which is why we have no choice but patiently and discreetly to risk the raised middle finger.

Marriage is beautiful, difficult, and checkered. Sex is holy and altogether complicated. Sodomy is a grave sin.

If an old friend invited me to his or her “gay wedding,” I could only in good conscience decline on these grounds: You are publicly declaring that you will commit sodomy. Of that I cannot approve.

2 thoughts on “Unoffensive S. Word

  1. Father Mark,

    Given the Church’s ability to refrain from officiating at marriages through much of early Christian history, a millenium or more:

    [From the early Christian era (30 to 325 CE), marriage was thought of as primarily a private matter,[citation needed] with no uniform religious or other ceremony being required. However, bishop Ignatius of Antioch writing around 110 to bishop Polycarp of Smyrna exhorts, “[I]t becomes both men and women who marry, to form their union with the approval of the bishop, that their marriage may be according to God, and not after their own lust.”[21]

    In the 12th century[where?] women were obligated to take the name of their husbands and starting in the second half of the 16th century[where?] parental consent along with the church’s consent was required for marriage.[22]

    With few local exceptions, until 1545, Christian marriages in Europe were by mutual consent, declaration of intention to marry and upon the subsequent physical union of the parties.[23] {}]

    it might be reasonable to presume that a prudent delay in recognizing same-sex marriages would be in order.

    However, there’s no need to wait. Neither the Church nor society in general has any rational, economic or moral interest in granting legitimacy to same-sex marriages.

    The only interest both the Church and society have in marriage is in fostering procreation and improving the functionality of families in raising children to adulthood [a task which I once saw described as providing 18 to 21 years of unconditional love, while nurturing the individual, and urging him to appropriate responsibility].

    So, let’s not belabor the issue. Resist same-sex adoption, serrogate motherhood, and “vanity” children of all stripes, as these just perpetuate the practice of same-sex marriage, and other varieties of relationship which are not in society’s interest. Raise the issues above in societal fora, and let time take its toll.

    The Church need not review its policy in this regard, as it stands on firm theological ground. It needs only to instruct the body of the Church in how to conduct itself in such a milieu, which is that demonstrated in telling an old friend that you cannot attend their same-sex marriage. It might also consider developing a path for those who enter such unions to seek reconcilliation with the Church, including the what, who, and how of the same.



  2. Excellent final thought, Joe. May the good Lord give us all the grace of conversion and love for a holy life. Let all that is good in love and friendship be saved, leaving only the selfishness of sin behind.

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