Coupla Principles for Our Forward March

The Church welcomes everyone. Christ loves everyone in His Sacred Heart. He died on the Cross for everyone, so that everyone can get to heaven.

That said, the Lord has clearly indicated in the gospel that the Church will encounter conflicts. Situations will arise in which we have to shake the dust from our feet and move on.

Of course, love must always motivate us, even when we shake the dust off.

I think we can safely propose that genuine love moves us to affirm two principles that bring us into profound conflict with many of our contemporaries.

We can stand with patience and peace on these two principles. Their truth can be established by arguments from every possible rational point-of-view. We would be fools if we ever thought that these principles could “change.” They can’t change. So we stand on them and move into the future with confidence.

Our contemporaries do not openly deny these principles, so much as they obliquely hold them against us as being objectionable.

The two principles I have in mind are:

1. From the moment of conception in his her her mother’s womb, every human being has the right to life. We must oppose–any good person must oppose every act that so much as runs the risk of killing an innocent and defenseless unborn human being.

2. We love everybody, including people who feel sexual attraction to members of their same sex. Out of love, we say to gay people: God wants soemthing better for you. Whatever you do, do not commit sodomy.

Let’s stand on these principles with patience and peace through whatever difficulties we may have to face. Political fads come and go. True love rests on the rock of truth.

…On the subject of bare-knuckled political confrontation, we should note that the following statement has been carefully and systematically debunked by a study released last month.

Not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents.

This assertion appears in the 2005 American Psychological Association Brief on “Lesbian and Gay Parenting.” But the assertion cannot be supported scientifically. The studies to which the APA refers do not actually prove the thesis.

Fact is, the social and behavioral sciences cannot penetrate this problem. The problem is fundamentally moral.

The argument we often confront goes like this: “Marriage Equality” must be granted, because the Golden Rule demands it.

BUT: The Golden Rule does not bind me to do something impossible. I should treat others as I would have them treat me, sure enough. But I need not promise my enfeebled great uncle in a nursing home that I will play tennis with him, even though I like it when people play tennis with me. I need not cook a shark steak for one of my parishioners (because I do not know how to cook), even though I would be glad to eat one prepared for me.

Should I be fair with everyone? Of course. Does fairness demand that I say a man can marry a man? No. Because it is physically impossible. Marrying means making babies (or at least trying to.)

Two men cannot make a baby. Two women cannot make a baby. No baby has ever been born who did not have a mother and a father.

What kind of “study” can demonstrate that a child estranged by scientific technique from his or her true parents “does just as well as anyone else?” Wouldn’t such a study have to follow the child for his or her entire life and reach into his or her deepest thoughts?

The friends I have who were adopted as infants have “done fine.” But do they long in some way for a true home they never had? They do.

An enormous gulf separates two scenarios:

1. The natural parents of a child cannot or will not serve. Others generously offer to help.

2. “I will have a child of my own one way or the other!”

Adoptions will always involve pain. Any decent person would acknowledge that the party whose pain should be minimized is the child. Any assertion by a homosexual that he or she has a “right” to a child can only interfere with a proper judgment about minimizing an adopted child’s pain. No one who really cares about the well-being of the children who need an adoptive home could ever insist on having a “right” to be recognized as a possible parent.

…Some older posts on this subject:

Inoffensive use of the “S-word”

You-Can’t-Do-It-ville (contains multiple links to other posts)

…Also, just in case you are wondering, “What does Father say about the fact that a German court has outlawed infant circumcision (!)?”

You will be glad to know, that I already answered this last year, when some activists in San Francisco tried to outlaw infant circumcision. Click HERE.

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11 thoughts on “Coupla Principles for Our Forward March

  1. The American Psychiatric Association, The American Psychological Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Paediatrics today put their names to a document which stated,

    “the conclusions by the leading associations of experts in this area reflect a consensus that children raised by lesbian or gay parents do not differ in any important respects from those raised by heterosexual parents.”

    My question for you is, why would they say that if it were not true?

  2. Thanks, Clare, for commenting.

    If you are posing your question in earnest, then you could hardly expect me to answer it. I would have to refer you to the decision-makers of the organizations which submitted the amicus brief you cite.

    If your question is rhetorical, then I would have to reply that an argument from authority in this matter can hardly convince anyone. If you would click through the hot-link above, you can read the thoroughly devastating critique of the 2005 brief which asserted the same finding. Loren Marks, to my mind, demonstrates that the studies cited in the 2005 brief do not, in fact, prove the thesis. Regarding the Regnerus study which appeared in the same journal as Marks’ article, and to which the amicus brief you cite refers, I make no claims whatsoever. I have not read it.

    I refuse to speculate as to why the organizations you mention submitted in a court of law a false assertion about the well-being of adopted children. The statement you quote may very well be true as far as it regards there being a “consensus.” That consensus, whether or not it exists, does not, of itself, prove anything regarding the well-being of the children.

    My point was this: The thesis that children adopted by homosexuals fare just as well as other children is not substantiated by science. I went on to explain why science cannot prove the thesis. I make no judgment whatsoever about the merits of any given individual to serve as an adoptive parent. My fundamental point is: “Gay” marriage is simply impossible, and false assertions about scientific findings cannot make it possible.

  3. Loren Marks: Are we witnessing the emergence of a new family form that provides a context for children that is equivalent to the traditional marriage-based family? Even after an extensive reading of the same-sex parenting literature, the author cannot offer a high confidence, data-based “yes” or “no” response to this question.

    Rather a weak conclusion, don’t you think? Certainly not a basis for preventing people from bringing up children. And the article includes arguments for permitting equal marriage, since the children of married couples fare better than those of cohabiting couples.

  4. Thanks again, Clare.

    I don’t remember writing anything about “preventing people from bringing up children.” You’ve gone around in a nice little rhetorical circle here, from asserting from authority that a thesis is proved to putting onto someone’s lips a statement he never made.

    I am glad we agree that parents should be married. I think we can probably also agree that, generally speaking, a child should be raised by his or her mother and father. When for one reason or another that is impossible, the interests of the child must take precedence in determining who should take care of the child. It could never be in the child’s interest to be conceived in a laboratory. Thus, the whole idea of gay couples being “parents” is a mirage based on the mistreatment of a child at the very moment of his or her conception.

    Is there a conceivable scenario in which a man living with another man or a woman living with another woman could be the best available adoptive parent for a child whose parents cannot serve? Certainly such scenarios exist. It would be wrong to “prevent” an aunt or uncle who lived with a person of the same sex from being the adoptive parent of an orphan, if the aunt or uncle were the clear person to assume the care of the child, by virtue of kinship, affection, and readiness to serve. I imagine we could agree there.

    But the larger question is: Is it right for children to be conceived in any situation other than the marital embrace? It certainly is not; everyone has the right to be conceived in his or her mother’s womb. Gay “parents” don’t really exist. Are there homosexual people who have raised and are raising children with great love and care? Certainly. But that’s not my point. My point is that “gay marriage” is simply impossible.

  5. I feel a disconnect between your calm, reasonable tone and your wild, ridiculous assertions.

    Louise Brown could not be “conceived in her mother’s womb”. That was the whole point. She needed IVF in order to exist.

    As for equal marriage being impossible, that is clearly untrue. Consider Sweden. The UK, thank God, will soon follow. DOMA cannot long survive.

    And adopting and bringing up children? I agree an argument from authority is not conclusive- I find the Magisterium’s view completely worthless- but for those of us who are not scientific professionals, the argument from a relevant authority like the AMA, APA and APA (Psychologists and psychiatrists) is highly persuasive.

  6. Does not being a scientific professional give someone license to try to advance an argument by calling the other party’s statements “wild and ridiculous?” When in fact they have been advanced by careful reasoning? Insults do not bring us any closer to the truth.

    I do not hold myself out as such a “scientific professional.” But Loren Marks’ critique of the 2005 APA brief made for interesting and convincing reading for me.

    Not sure who Louise Brown is. May God bless her, whoever she is. May everyone conceived in a petri dish live long and prosper. But no one “needs” IVF. The question is: Can the acts involved in conceiving a human being in a laboratory be justified morally? And the answer is no. To do so is to reduce the new person to the level of a technological object. I would not want that done to me.

    A rose by any other name smells as sweet. If sodomy has another name in some countries, that doesn’t make it right. Human laws cannot change the birds and the bees.

  7. Louise Brown was the first IVF baby.

    You see, what am I to say to you? “Wild and ridiculous”- what else is there to say? Priests should be celibate, gay people should not make love, no-one should use contraception apart from the rhythm method or whatever, being gay is “unnatural” – if it were “unnatural”, it would not exist! Your “moral” position completely disgusts me as a Christian. I am sure you can give “reasons” why IVF is morally different from, say, chemotherapy, in a calm, reasonable tone, asserting wild and ridiculous things.

    So what if Loren Marks could prove beyond doubt that children brought up by loving gay couples fared less well than those brought up by married heterosexual couples? Would you prevent gay couples from having children? Or just continue to snipe from the sidelines, and try to shame Catholic gay people?

    I understand the Roman Catholic church in the US is taking a stand against equal marriage, and politically campaigning. Jesus did not enforce his personal morals on anyone. That is why he was crucified.

  8. Clare, I appreciate your not giving up on our conversation.

    I would like to put all considerations concerning the Church and Christianity to the side for a moment, if I might. I appreciate the fact that you chose to introduce them into the exchange. But our original disagreement, or so it seemed to me, stemmed from the assertion that studies have demonstrated that children raised by homosexual couples fare just as well as those raised by heterosexual parents. You objected to my assertion that this thesis has not been proved.

    The point I have tried to introduce is not a point of specifically Catholic or Christian doctrine, but simply a principle of human decency. We have to make decisions about children with their well-being as the decisive consideration. It is wrong to take risks with the emotional well-being of an innocent and defenseless child.

    You have repeatedly introduced the idea that a homosexual couple can “have a child,” but science demonstrates that, in fact, such a thing is impossible. Every child has a man for a father and a woman for a mother. The birds and the bees. No “technique” for the production of a human zygote has ever been invented which does not involve a male gamete and a female gamete. All of us began our journey as a single cell, which came to be when a male gamete and a female gamete met. All of us have a father and a mother.

    Circumstances can arise in which the father and mother can’t or won’t raise their child. Under such circumstances, good people do their best to help the child.

    But for an adult to CAUSE a situation in which a child cannot be raised by his or her mother and father–for you or me to be the REASON WHY such a situation exists in the first place: God help us then. We are villians then.

  9. Fr. Mark, God bless you for your patience…
    Clare, People do say things they know to be untrue. The “mental health authorities” you cite have done so. As to why they have done so, only they know, if even they know. The devil is not called the “father of lies” for nothing.

  10. Why should a lesbian have to have sex with a man in order to have a baby who will be loved and wanted by herself and her partner? Why not use artificial insemination by donor? What on Earth is wrong with that?

    You want unwanted babies to be born because of failure to use contraception. Or at least, you believe restricting contraception is moral, which has that outcome, and intelligent actors are presumed to intend predictable outcomes. I want wanted babies to be born. Yes indeed, think of the children. Wanted, loved babies- what could be better? Unwanted babies their parents cannot afford, born into poverty?

  11. “What on Earth is wrong with that?” In the scenario you outline: The donor is the child’s father. By our technological manipulations of the circumstances of the child’s conception, we CAUSE a situation in which a child is born and grows up without his or her father, perhaps with never even having the opportunity to know who his or her father is. For you or me to CAUSE a child to have to live without knowing who his or her father is, or to have to grow up with limited or no contact with the father: that’s a grave abuse of the child. If someone had intentionally done that to me, I can only imagine how hard it would be for me to learn to forgive. The selfishness involved in doing something like that is of titanic proportions.

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