In light of same sex marriage being enacted into law in New York recently, I fear it is time for my first really controversial blog post. I'm sure many of you will not agree with me; I truly hope that any comments posted on this subject can be discussed civilly (please do feel free to post comments - I am interested in your thoughts on what I've written). Try to hear me out, try to stay with my writing and read it to the end. But I AM one of THOSE Catholics who believes that marriage should not be redefined to include same sex partners. True marriage is between a male and a female.
To be honest, I never thought I'd have much to say on this issue. It wasn't all that long ago that I found myself sitting in Church wondering why people thought that God, in his love and mercy, would possibly condemn homosexual persons for acting on something that God himself placed there. Who are we to judge? But I've come to realize that it isn't about judging homosexual persons, rather, that we are called to speak the truth with love.
Regardless of what our society says, there is truth, objective truth, a reality that we cannot change or decide for ourselves. Most people fail to believe in this; moral relativism rules the day. We say to ourselves, MY conscience tells me this is ok. This is what works FOR ME. What we fail to see, is that God has a plan. Just because we want to be "free" to do what we want, does not make it right. We cannot create our own moral code. God created us to CHOOSE between good and evil, not to DETERMINE what they are.
Part of our truth is that our world is fallen. God gave us free will. He wanted us to choose him FREELY. However, most of the time, myself included when I sin, we choose to disregard God, to NOT choose Him and His way. We think that we know better than God, what would make us happy. How well does that work out for you? I know that when I was doing things "my" way, I was not happy at all. I was actually quite miserable.
So, back to how I came to see God's plan for us. A few years back, my husband and I went to a four part lecture at our church on Theology of the Body. Some pretty amazing and complicated stuff, but some of the basics made so much sense. I think we all take for granted what love is, but for what it's worth, love is desiring the good for the other, above desiring the good for ourselves. We are all created to love and live in communion with others. We were not created to be in isolation, rather, we are all created in the very image God as a triune God: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. So, specifically in marriage as a mirror of the Trinity, a man and a woman join together as one flesh, creating a whole new being from this union. (Read my post on the Trinity here).
If we are to image God, the Holy Trinity, we need to know how he loves. So, how does God love us? He gives His love FREELY to us. His love is TOTAL, complete and He gives all of Himself to us, withholding nothing. God is FAITHFUL; he never abandons us and never stops loving us. God's love is FRUITFUL and brings us life - Jesus died for us so that we could have new life. God actually gave us the desire for love, ie. happiness and union with him! God created us for love! Why are we are all so interested in the "marital" union, sexual intercourse? Sexual intercourse actually points us to God!!! No wonder it's so wonderful, right?! Marriage here on earth is a foreshadowing of our union with God. And no, we won't be in heaven as one big sexual orgy - that's just the closest comparison we have to envision just how wonderful our communion with God will be. He made us desire sex, stamped the language of love into our very bodies as male and female, then commanded us "Be fruitful and multiply." So, then what marriage is truly meant to be: a FREE, TOTAL, FAITHFUL and FRUITFUL exchange of love between one man and one woman.
What does this mean for same sex couples? Or why just between one man and one woman? To draw on the Free, Total, Faithful and Fruitfulness of the marriage covenant is simply not possible for the same sex couple. They do not give of themselves to each other totally, no gift of fertility can ever happen and hence there is no way for their union in the sexual act to produce that new little human being, not fruitful. Let's say you don't buy into this Free, Total, Faithful, Fruitful thing. Let's say you don't believe in God. If you want to go with the law of nature, two same sex animals cannot produce offspring. Two beings with separate genders need to come together to propagate the species. I will grant you, marriage is not all about propagation of the species, but it is what keeps babies coming into the world, well, ok minus IVF. Maybe I'll post on that topic another day.
I have to admit that homosexual persons have a pretty difficult cross to bear in this, God's plan for sexuality. Can we really expect people to go their whole lives chastely? I mean, they have needs, right?!? Our society equates love with sexual activity and no one wants to deny others love. However, true love is giving of yourself to another in service. There is no requirement for a bodily exchange. Yes, we all desire that exchange as it points us to God. But any exchange outside of a true marriage does not mirror the Holy Trinity and does nothing to point us towards God.
I'm sure that I've probably not done very much to change your mind if you are, in fact, in favor of same sex marriage. Hopefully I've given you something to mull over, at any rate. But here's what I fail to understand: how does my disagreement with this new "definition" of marriage, which in my eyes can never be redefined even if new law says it is something different, make me homophobic. There is never a reason to fear, condemn, belittle or look down upon homosexual persons. They simply have different struggles than I do. They are God's children and have my love and respect. I just do not understand how disagreement equals phobia. I am not afraid of homosexual persons, truly I have empathy for these individuals whom I feel are seeking out God in our Godless society. They may not realize that is what they are doing - searching for God; I certainly didn't when I was mired in all my sexual sin. I just know that only when I was truly keeping my heart open to God did I see how my life back then was so far from His plan for me. Keeping an open heart to truly try to understand why the Church teaches what she does on sexuality was a key turning point. I hope that you, as a reader, have at least tried to read through this to see why I now hold true marriage to only be between one man and one woman.