So I’m finally getting around to updating on a regular basis again, and I have lots to put up, but I’ll start with a long overdue reply. I’ll post the initial email, and then my replies to it (original email will be in italics).
Thanks for your question, since that was not my blog I thought it better to email you personally.I am not Catholic but have great respect for the church. I do believe though that even in the Catholic church homosexuality is considered a “sin”.
A point of correction on my part (not just to you, but to many Catholics and non-Catholics) – having a homosexual orientation (being romantically/sexually attracted to a person of the same gender) is not a sin in Catholicism. It is considered “disordered” in the sense that it is not the normal way of things, but in and of itself it is not a sin. The Church considers romantic/sexual homosexual actions to be sinful. So, for example, a person may be attracted to people of the same gender, but if that person never acts on the impulse to engage in sexual behavior, there is no sin.
But before i go on, let me explain to you how I view “sin”.This is from my blog misspellings and all:”As you get to know me I think you will be really surprised as to my view of sin and right and wrong. Jesus was not concerned with our “right and wrong”, He was concerned for our restoration to the Father. Or as in your case, unto Himself. My view of sin is not right/wrong thinking but opening up to goodness. Goodness transends the modern view of Right and wrong thinking of sin…The story of the Good Samaritan…(I am borrowing this thought heavily from Brian McLaren) the robber was on one end of the spectrum…and the priest, levite and Pharisee were on the other side of the spectrum…a la right and wrong…but these ignored the issue of doing good. Here Jesus was speaking of the “Good” Samaritan…someone in Jewish thought would find a contridiction…for they were half breeds thus impure and not acceptable to God… Here this Good Samaritan does neither right nor wrong, but was good.If we focus on sin as right and wrong we will gravitate to the “sin”, just as one will tend to gravitate toward anything one focuses on. But, to focus on the Relationship and enter into the Conversation… then growth of character occurres. This growth, is above stopping a behavior.. but prepares us for Eternity and Life when we pass through the door way of death.I see this as so far from and above and much more worthy of pursute than to stop my pet sin.”
I conditionally agree with what you’ve written. I see sin as a rupturing of the relationship we have with our God. This rupturing occurs when we take actions (or don’t take actions) that help bring about the reign of God on earth. A person’s sexual orientation is not an action – it is a part of their psychosexual makeup, and they are free to take actions based on that. When they act in a way that ruptures their relationship with God (when they engage in sinful actions), then and only then does it become sinful.
How does homosexuality fit in all this? Truthfully I am not really sure.This is what I have figured out though.
1. The Bible calls it a sin and that one who identifies with homosexuality will not inherit the Kingdom. I can’t deny this for that is what the Bible teaches and says. I am sure you can find the verses yourself.
Actually, I can deny it. 🙂
I’ve read up a bit on this, and while I’ll admit that I don’t know everything, and that all of my sources haven’t been Catholic, this is what I’ve come up with.
First, some psychology/sociology . . . the majority of people are not 100% heterosexual or homosexual. Most people fall somewhere in between – we’d be OK in either a heterosexual or homosexual relationship. We are socialized into our roles, and that’s fine – if we were all socialized into homosexuality, we’d die out pretty quickly! 🙂 But even more then that, the majority of people tend to move towards the heterosexual side of the scale, and our socialization just tips it more – we move in the direction that we were tending to move towards anyway.
I’ve read a few studies that were done on the effects of drinking on inhibitions. A surprising outcome was that when heterosexual people got drunk, they started to exhibit homosexual tendencies. And when homosexual people got drunk, they started to exhibit heterosexual tendencies. (“Tendencies” being used to mean that they acted out romantic urges towards people of the gender they normally wouldn’t.) (That’s an awkward sentence) 🙂
So it helps shore up the notion that our sexuality is at least in part socially constructed – if it weren’t for that socialization, we might start seeing more homosexuality (as we seem to be seeing now).
Finally, as near as I can tell, not all of the condemnations in Scripture regarding homosexuality are leveled at two consenting adults engaging in sexual intercourse. They were leveled at 1) men taking advantage of young boys and 2) people engaging in homosexual activity for the purpose of worshipping other gods (“situational homosexuality” – these were heterosexual people who only engaged in homosexual acts as a form of praise, petition and/or worship).
So Scripture is silent as to a full-scale condemnation of homosexuality the way many people would like to interpret Scripture. It merely condemns it in two specific instances (rape/pedophilia & worshipping false gods).
2. Jesus did not come to condemn the world but to save it…
I think many people have trouble with this – they want to be the agents of God’s condemnation in the world. They want to ignore the plank in their own eye and focus on the splinter in their neighbor’s eye. They want to use Scripture as a weapon, thrusting it at others to change their ways, instead of using Scripture to transform their own lives.
We have trouble with the fact that if Jesus came now, he would be dining with drug addicts, homosexuals, gang members, Democrats :-), abortion providers, atheists, people with multiple piercings, the homeless, the destitute, youth ministers :-), and all other sorts of unsavory people – the exact same kind of people we would be horrified to learn had moved next door, or were coming to our Church to worship next week.
I think most people (and I include myself in here) have trouble following the *example* that Jesus left us of always seeking those who are marginalized and demonized. I think Jesus, if he were here now, would skip out on his appointment with the Pope or the President to help the person with a flat tire, to listen to a teenager cry about their ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, or to pop in at the wedding of an old friend.
3.”‘All’ have sinned and fallen short the glory of God”….Romans 3:23. This means no one is sinless apart from God forgiveness.
Again, I’ll tweak your interpretation of this particular Scripture passage. I think it means that no one is perfect or should consider themselves better than another person. The simple fact that historically contingent idiosyncrasies have conspired together so that I am now in ministry does not make me intrinsically “better” in God’s eyes than the person who owns the bar down the street. I have no more prior or special claim to God’s love and forgiveness than the CEO who’s embezzled millions of dollars. We will never be “sinless” as long as we live . . . but we do live lives that have been redeemed (justified) by the Paschal Mystery of Jesus’ incarnation, life, death and resurrection.
5. One can only believe and trust in Jesus to be saved.
I’ll reply to this in a later post – this is getting longer than I thought it would! 🙂
With this I must add that I believe no one can know or understand truth for mans mind is so far removed and corrupt that even if we did see truth in its purity we corrupt it with our perception. in other words man without God and even with God can not know Truth, other that the person of Jesus. With Him we are confronted with Truth for He is Truth.
Here I must respectfully disagree, and I think this is a point where, historically, Catholic thought and Protestant thought have diverged. The Catholic viewpoint is that we *can* come to know Truth, both by the light of reason and through divine revelation. We are in a corrupt world, true, but we also have the light of the Spirit to illumine the darkness that covers our heart. We will not know the fullness of Truth until we die (now we see darkly . . .), but we can know aspects of the Truth. Our Church even affirms that those who are in non-Christian religions catch glimpses of the Truth that we have in it’s entirety through the revelation of Jesus.
I see that gay couples can have loving relationships…the same as hetero couples… but neither really can have truly loving relationship for mans understanding of love is corrupt. We must rely on God’s Grace and mercy.
Again, I disagree. 🙂
We can have “truly loving relationships.” In Catholicism we celebrate seven sacraments, moments where we believe God breaks into our world in a special way. We celebrate marriage as one of these sacraments. We believe that in the union of husband and wife (spiritual, psychological, sexual) we can catch a glimpse of the bliss that we will find in heaven. We believe that the loving struggles of a married couple lead then towards holiness. We affirm that God created us in our entirety, sexual organs as well, and that we are good in the eyes of God, and that God takes pleasure in our pleasure.
Apart from that, I believe that we are fully capable of entering into truly loving relationships – we are called to be Jesus in this world, and one of Jesus’ primary commandments was to love others, not in our words but through our actions, through our suffering, through our giving – we can truly love because we are Jesus in this world now, and we can do everything that Jesus asked us to, and even greater then he did, because of the power of God’s Spirit flowing through us.
I see that God wants what is best for all of us… while far from perfect and as I said corrupt in it’s own way, a hetero relationship is what God intended… it represents who God is relationally within Himself in the Trinity and with us.
So this is the humor part of the reply, but if we’re looking at a relationship between God as Father and Jesus as Son . . . 🙂 (Yes, yes I know – I’ll go to confession!) 🙂
I believe a man and man can love each other greatly… as a woman and woman… we have example of this in the Bible… yet none of these examples included sexual relationships.Pure love is more than sex. Sex is something that is a part of our expression of love but is not a necessity for love to exist.
It’s not a necessity, but it sure feels good! 🙂
And there is sex in the Bible – not like we see in the movies, but it’s there. All of those great Old Testament patriarchs had kids, and lots of them – only one way to do that! The Song of Songs (Song of Solomon), while being used as an allegory of God’s relationship with us, is also a celebration of physical intimacy between two lovers. Sex is not a bad thing – we’re spiritual Jews and they saw nothing wrong with it. I really believe Christianity was corrupted by Greek philosophy and its emphasis on the duality of reality to the point where we started to see the physical universe as bad in and of itself – we forget that God saw everything and named it Good.
I believe one must focus on ones relationship with God. To seek God’s best for oneself… to learn and express this love back to others. I see unhealthy hetero relationships where they should not be married and if they are married it is in name only and not with truth understanding of the commitment. my personal opinion is that homosexual relationships do not express what God intended…for God intends much more in His relationship to and for us. Love as the Bible says, covers a multitude of sins… Christians tend to forget this and target certain sins over others… yet.. to me sin is sin. Wether one commits adultery or murder, is gay or treats his wife without respect…. it is all sin.
One last thought – I tend to see a person’s sexuality as neutral – like you’re intimating, a homosexual relationship where both partners strive to embody selfless service-love and fidelity to each other is better than a heterosexual relationship that trashes marital fidelity or where the people have grown so distant that they’re little more than roommates.
Lots of food for thought – I’ll post more later! 🙂
Blessings & Peace,